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KTRK-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, is an ABC owned-and-operated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the ABC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (through its Disney-ABC Television Group division). KTRK's studios are located on Bissonnet Street in the Upper Kirby district, and its transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County.

HistoryEdit

The station grew out of the Federal Communications Commission-imposed VHF "freeze", when three entities vying for the channel 13 assignment, including the Houston Chronicle, decided to merge as Houston Consolidated Television. The group also bought the studio facilities of KNUZ-TV (channel 39), a DuMont affiliate which had gone dark.

The station first signed on the air on November 20, 1954, as KTRK-TV; as the Chronicle was the largest shareholder in the partnership. The station took the ABC affiliation from KPRC-TV (channel 2) and has stayed aligned with the network since its debut. The station's original studio facilities were located at 4513 Cullen Boulevard (at the defunct Texas Television Center district on the University of Houston campus); this studio later housed KHTV (now CW affiliate KIAH, the present channel 39) and PBS member station KUHT (channel 8). Like many stations located on "unlucky" channel 13, it used a black cat as its mascot.

In 1955, the Chronicle bought out its partners. Although this theoretically left the paper free to change its callsign to KTRH-TV to match its radio station, it opted not to. However, for years it called itself "The Houston Chronicle Station." Soon afterward, the station moved to its current Bissonnet Street facility. The studio was the first domed structure in town, predating the better-known Astrodome by ten years. Both projects were designed by the same architect, Hermon Lloyd.

Early programs involved a heavy emphasis on local flavor and reflected themes of the day. Some of the more popular local shows included:

  • Kitirik: a children's program, hosted by an actress in a cat costume.
  • Cadet Don: A space-themed children's adventure program that focused on the exploits of an interstellar adventurer and the locations he visited. His alien puppet friend Seymour was from the planet Katark.
  • Dialing for Dollars: A game show of sorts where a viewer would be phoned by the host and would win a cash prize by answering questions.
  • Good Morning Houston: The successor to Dialing for Dollars, which debuted in the late 1970s and expanded to include discussions on local events and topics important to viewer's lifestyles.

In 1967, the Chronicle sold KTRK to Capital Cities Broadcasting (later to become Capital Cities Communications), earning a handsome return on its 1937 purchase of KTRH. Under Capital Cities ownership, KTRK introduced its "Circle 13" logo – which is loosely patterned after the Circle 7 logo long used by ABC stations and affiliates broadcasting on channel 7 – in 1971. The original version, used until 1995, was set in a Helvetica typeface, with the bottom of the "3" trailing off outside the circle (similar also to the way the stem of the number 7 terminates at the bottom of the Circle 7 logo)--a nod to livestock branding of the Old West.

Capital Cities bought ABC in 1986, making KTRK an ABC owned-and-operated station and the first network-owned television station in the state of Texas. That year, the trailing portion of the station's logo was "trimmed" and was turned slightly horizontal in a similar fashion to the present-day version (the logo began to be superimposed over a stylized version of the Texas state flag on July 3, 1992).

Capital Cities/ABC was sold to The Walt Disney Company in early 1996. Not long after, the new Disney-led ownership directed KTRK-TV to clear the entire ABC schedule, though there have been instances where local special events have aired in place of network programming (the annual running of the Chevron Houston Marathon is one notable example of this as live race coverage, anchored by the station's news team, pre-empted the Sunday edition of Good Morning America).

On April 30, 2000, a dispute between Disney and Time Warner Cable resulted in KTRK being pulled from TWC's Houston service area for over 24 hours. Other ABC stations in markets served by Time Warner Cable, such as New York City, Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham, were also affected by the outage before the FCC forced the provider to restore the affected ABC stations to those areas on May 2 (Time Warner traded the Houston franchise to Comcast in exchange for the latter's Dallas-Fort Worth system in 2007).

GalleryEdit

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TV stations in Texas
KTRK, Houston

KSAT, San Antonio
KVUE, Austin
WFAA, Dallas–Fort Worth
KXXV/KRHD-CD, Waco/Bryan
KBMT, Beaumont
KVII, Amarillo
KAVU, Victoria
KAMC, Lubbock
KGNS-DT2, Laredo
KTXS, Sweetwater
KIII, Corpus Christi
KRGV, Weslaco
KMID, Odessa
KVIA, El Paso

TV stations in Greater Houston
KPRC 2 (NBC)
KUHT 8 (PBS)
KUVM-LD 10 (Ind)
KHOU 11 (CBS)
KTRK 13 (ABC)
KETH 14 (TBN)
KVVV-LD 15 (Word)
KTXH 20 (MNTV)
KVQT-LD 21 (Ind)
KLTJ 22 (Daystar)
KRIV 26 (Fox)
KUGB-CD 28 (GEB)
KCVH-LD 30 (REL)
KEHO-LD 32 (FESTIVA)
KUVM-CD 34 (LATV)
KZHO-LD 38 (VCL)
KIAH 39 (CW)
KHLM-LD 43 (MULTIMEDIOS)
KXLN 45 (UNI)
KBPX-LD 46 (NV)
KTMD 47 (TLM)
KPXB 49 (Ion)
KDHU-LD 50 (Daystar)
KYAZ 51 (AZA)
KTBU 55 (QUEST)
KUBE 57 (Ind)
KZJL 61 (ESTRELLA)
KFTH 67 (UMas)
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