KUNS-TV, virtual channel 51 (UHF digital channel 24), is a Univision-affiliated television station serving Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, United States that is licensed to Bellevue. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Seattle-licensed ABC affiliate KOMO-TV (channel 4); it is also sister to radio stations KOMO (1000 AM and 97.7 FM), KVI (570 AM), and KPLZ-FM (101.5). The stations share studios within KOMO Plaza (formerly Fisher Plaza) in the Lower Queen Anne section of Seattle, directly across the street from the Space Needle; KUNS-TV's transmitter is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.
On February 10, 1988, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a construction permit for television station KBEH. However, channel 51 would not begin its broadcasting operation until August 8, 1999, transmitting programs from the ValueVision network, which became ShopNBC in 2001 after NBC (now part of Comcast) acquired a 37% ownership stake in that network. In December 2000, the station would change its call letters to KWOG. Previously locally owned and operated and at one point being minority owned, the station was sold to Fisher Communications on September 29, 2006.
On October 31, 2006, the station would change its call letters one more time, this time to the current KUNS-TV. On January 1, 2007, it rang in the year by going from broadcasting home shopping programs to broadcasting Hispanic programming as a Univision affiliate almost instantly, providing viewers with programs such as Sabado Gigante, Despierta América and El Gordo y La Flaca, in addition to an assortment of telenovelas, along with many other programs. The station also started its own local newscast, Noticias Noroeste with Jaime Méndez and Roxy de la Torre. The newscast originates from a studio at KOMO Plaza (formerly Fisher Plaza) in Seattle.
On August 21, 2012, Fisher Communications signed an affiliation agreement with MundoFox, a Spanish-language competitor to Univision that is owned as a joint venture between Fox International Channels and Colombian broadcaster RCN TV, for KUNS and Portland sister station KUNP to be carried on both stations as digital subchannels starting in late September. On April 11, 2013, Fisher announced that it would sell its properties, including KUNS-TV, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The deal was completed on August 8, 2013.
On May 8, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group entered into an agreement to acquire Tribune Media—owner of Fox affiliate KCPQ (channel 13) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KZJO (channel 22)—for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt held by Tribune, pending regulatory approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. As KOMO-TV, KUNS-TV's sister station, and KCPQ rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Seattle−Tacoma market in total day viewership and broadcasters are not currently allowed to legally own more than two full-power television stations in a single market, the companies may be required to sell either the KOMO/KUNS duopoly or the KCPQ/KZJO duopoly to another station group in order to comply with FCC ownership rules preceding approval of the acquisition; however, a sale of either station to an independent buyer is dependent on later decisions by the FCC regarding local ownership of broadcast television stations and future acts by Congress. On April 24, 2018, Sinclair disclosed that it would buy KZJO and sell KUNS-TV to Howard Stirk Holdings, while continuing to provide services to the station; KCPQ would concurrently be sold to Fox Television Stations, which would make KCPQ a Fox owned-and-operated station.
Three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. The termination of the Sinclair sale agreement places uncertainty for the future of Fox's purchases of KCPQ and the other six Tribune stations included in that deal, which were predicated on the closure of the Sinclair–Tribune merger.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|51.1||1080i||16:9||KUNS-DT||Main KUNS-TV programming / Univision|
KUNS-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 51, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 50, using PSIP to display KUNS-TV's virtual channel as 51 on digital television receivers.
Availability on cable and satellite
"Must-carry" regulations imposed by the FCC require most cable television providers across western Washington to carry KUNS on their lineups. In the past under Equity ownership, the station was not available on all cable systems, as many of these providers were under carriage agreements for the national cable feed for the network, which allowed them control of several minutes throughout the day of local commercial time that would not be available if they instead carried KUNS. Equity traditionally depended completely on must-carry to bring their stations to cable providers, and the same was the case with KUNS before the sale of the station to Fisher. Retransmission consent agreements for providers in the Seattle market made after Sinclair's purchase of the station effectively made carriage of KUNS compulsory to carry KOMO-TV (along with its subchannels), though some smaller systems in communities with a low Spanish-speaking population have been given a waiver from KUNS carriage.
KUNS is available on satellite television through DirecTV on channel 45, and is also available on Dish Network channels 51 and 8624—the network's national East and West Coast feeds are also still available to satellite customers.
Also, neither the station nor the network is available on cable or satellite systems in Canada. This is because the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) did not approve the network or any of its affiliates to be carried on cable/satellite systems for Canadian audiences. This was eventually rectified as Telelatino's all-Spanish network, launched on October 23, 2007 with Univision content, was relaunched with a brand licensing agreement with Univision as Univision Canada on May 5, 2014.
Call sign history
This is the station's call sign history according to the FCC.
|Call Sign||First Used||Last Used|
|KBEH||February 10, 1988||December 13, 2000|
|KWOG||December 13, 2000||October 31, 2006|
KUNS also has three translator stations, serving the Yakima–Walla Walla–Pasco–Richland–Kennewick market of central Washington. All of these stations are owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group as of 2017.
|Station||City of License||Analog Channel||Digital Channel||Began Operation||Service Area||Effective Radiated Power|
|KUNW-CA||Yakima||2 (VHF)||30 (UHF)||March 4, 1996||Yakima||0.8 kW Analog|
|KVVK-CA||Kennewick||-||15 (UHF)||March 15, 1996||Pasco -
Walla Walla -
|81.9 kW Analog|
|KORX-CA||Walla Walla||16 (UHF)||-||2001||Pasco -
Walla Walla -
|84.8 kW Analog|
At one point, KUNS had a fourth translator, KWWA-CA channel 49, which served Ellensburg. However, its license was canceled on June 4, 2008.