KVII-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. KVII's studios are located at One Broadcast Center between South Pierce and South Buchanan Streets – in downtown Amarillo (500 feet [150 m] southeast of the shared studios of NBC affiliate KAMR-TV [channel 4], Fox affiliate KCIT [channel 14] and MyNetworkTV affiliate KCPN-LP [channel 33]), and its transmitter is located on Reclamation Plant Road (east of U.S. 87/U.S. 287, just north of the Amarillo city limits) in unincorporated Potter County. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 8 in standard definition and digital channel 708 in high definition in Amarillo, and on channel 7 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
KVII also operates a full-time satellite station in Clovis, New Mexico, KVIH-TV (virtual and VHF digital channel 12), which covers areas of northeastern and east-central New Mexico that are not covered by the primary KVII signal. KVIH's transmitter is located along State Road 88 (east of Portales). KVII does not maintain any facilities in Clovis. On-air references to KVIH are limited to Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated hourly station identifications during newscasts and other programming.
On September 20, 1956, Southwest States Inc. – a consortium managed by George Oliver, Robert Houck, Hoyt Houck, John McCarthy, Sam Fenberg and real estate firm Estate Development, and which owned radio station KAMQ (1010 AM, now KTNZ) – filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to obtain a license and construction permit to operate a commercial television station on VHF channel 7. On February 5, 1957, Kenyon Brown – owner of local radio station KLYN (940 AM, now KIXZ) as well as KWFT in Wichita Falls (now Plano-licensed KEXB) – filed a separate license application for channel 7. Brown withdrew his application for VHF channel 7 on December 11 of that year, ceding the application to Southwest States under an agreement in which that group would pay Brown $10,000 for out-of-pocket expenses if application was granted by August 7, 1957 or $7,500 if application was granted by September 20. The FCC awarded the license and permit for channel 7 to Southern States on August 1, 1957; the group subsequently requested and received approval to assign KVII-TV (referencing the roman numeral for the number "7") as the television station's call letters.
Channel 7 first signed on the air on December 21, 1957, as the third television station to sign on in the Amarillo market, behind NBC affiliate KGNC-TV (channel 4, now KAMR-TV), which signed on the air on March 18, 1953, and CBS affiliate KFDA-TV (channel 10), which signed on two weeks later on April 4, 1953. KVII-TV has operated as an ABC affiliate since its debut, having assumed the local programming rights from KFDA-TV, which aired select network shows on a secondary basis since it signed on. The sign-of KVII made Amarillo one of the smallest markets in the U.S. to maintain full service from all three commercial broadcast television networks (although the market had no public television service until Amarillo College signed on KACV-TV [channel 2] in August 1988).
Only six months after it signed on, on June 28, 1958, Southwest States Inc. announced it would sell KVII-TV to Television Properties Inc. (owned by Jack C. Vaughn, Grady H. Vaughn Jr. and Cecil L. Trigg, respectively the co-owners and general manager of existing Television Properties outlet KOSA-TV in Odessa) for around $425,000, including obligations to own 77.7% of the station and an option to buy the remaining 22.5%. The sale received FCC approval almost one month later on July 16. In July 1961, the station relocated its studio facilities into the Walton Building (now the Maxor Building) on South Polk Street and Southwest Fourth Avenue in downtown Amarillo.
On August 1, 1963, Southwest States Inc. announced it would sell KVII to The Walton Group (founded by Kermit-based mineral rights entrepreneur John B. Walton Jr., and which also owned KVKM-AM-TV [now KCKM and KWES-TV, respectively] in Odessa, Texas and held a minority stake in KFNE-FM in Big Spring) for $1.25 million. The sale received FCC approval nearly 3½ months later on November 12. In October 1967, The Walton Group announced it would sell KVII-TV to Amarillo-based Marsh Media Ltd. (founded by Estelle Marsh, mother of Stanley Marsh 3, Tom F. Marsh, Michael C. Marsh and Estelle Marsh Wattlington, each of whom owned spare 5% interests not held by Estelle and managed local charity organization The Marsh Foundation) for $1.5 million. As part of the sale agreement, John Walton Jr. – who retained ownership of KVII-AM-FM – signed a ten-year non-compete contract to remain with KVII-TV as a station consultant for a salary of $50,000 per year. The sale received FCC approval on January 31, 1968.
Since 1968, when Marsh Media adopted the design shortly after purchasing the station, KVII-TV has used proprietary version of the Circle 7 logo initially designed by G. Dean Smith for ABC's six original owned-and-operated stations and later expanded to many ABC-affiliated stations that broadcast on channel 7. It is the longest-continuously used logo among the Amarillo market's television stations (commercial or non-commercial). The station also utilized variants of the "Circle 7" for KVIJ-TV starting in 1979 and for KVIH-TV starting in 1986 for use in required hourly station identifications for KVII and its satellites, with those variants utilizing thin block lettering for those station's respective channel 8 and channel 12 allocations. (The KVIH variant was discontinued in 2001.) The logo is also adorned atop the station's studio facilities at One Broadcast Center, a pyramid-shaped building on Southeast 11th Avenue and South Pierce Street in downtown Amarillo, into which KVII relocated its operations in 1968.
KVII-TV found it difficult to adequately compete against KGNC-TV and KFDA-TV largely because of the difficulties experienced by television stations operating in rugged terrain. The station was all but unviewable in Clovis, Portales and surrounding areas of northeastern New Mexico as well as portions of the far eastern Texas Panhandle. Many viewers in those areas received ABC programming either via KOAT-TV in Albuquerque or KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. To solve this problem, KVII launched a network of UHF translators to serve areas not covered by its main signal. In October 1975, Marsh Media acquired KFDO-TV (channel 8) in Sayre, Oklahoma from Bass Broadcasting Co. (then-owner of KFDA-TV) for $300,000; Marsh intended to convert KFDO – which Bass unloaded as part of its divestiture of its broadcast holdings to focus on its oil and gas exploration endeavors, and had been serving as a KFDA satellite since 1966 – into a satellite station of KVII to reach viewers in the eastern Texas Panhandle as well as those in west-central Oklahoma who could not adequately receive ABC programming from KOCO. In January 1976, Marsh changed the Sayre station's call letters to KVIJ-TV to match its new parent station. KVII was one of the first commercial stations to air the PBS program Sesame Street. It started in 1970 and continued to air it until KACV signed on.
Following the death of Bill McAlister in October 1985, Marsh acquired a former satellite of KFDA, KMCC (channel 12) in Clovis, New Mexico from his company, McAlister Television Enterprises Inc., for $1.5 million. KMCC – which had been operating as a satellite of fellow ABC affiliate KAMC-TV in Lubbock since 1979 – converted into a KVII satellite in September 1986, under the call letters KVIH-TV, to relay its programming into portions of eastern New Mexico who could not adequately receive ABC programming from KOAT. On December 2, 1992, Marsh Media shut down KVIJ, citing the fact that very few television viewers in its west-central Oklahoma service area actually tuned into KVIJ directly, due to the ability of receiving ABC network programming via cable through either KOCO-TV out of Oklahoma City or KSWO-TV out of the Wichita Falls–Lawton DMAs. (KVIJ's former studio and transmitter site at the intersection of state highways 6 and 152, northwest of Sayre, currently sits vacant.)
On August 26, 2002, Marsh Media announced it would sell KVII-TV and KVIH-TV to Atlanta-based New Vision Group for $16.85 million. On April 7, 2005, New Vision Group announced it would sell KVII/KVIH to Schaumburg, Illinois-based Barrington Broadcasting (owned by New York City-based private equity firm Pilot Group LP and then headed by former National Association of Broadcasters joint board chairman and Benedek Broadcasting CEO Jim Yager) for $22.5 million.
On February 28, 2013, Barrington announced that it would sell KVII-TV, KVIH-TV and the company's sixteen other television stations (six of which were transferred to or remained under the ownership of third-party licensees to address ownership conflicts and had their operations handled by Sinclair through shared services agreements) to the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group for $370 million. The acquisition of the Barrington stations received FCC approval on November 18, 2013, and was formally consummated six days later on November 25. Sinclair transferred ownership of KVII/KVIH and the other former Barrington stations to Chesapeake Television, a subsidiary (which set up its headquarters at Barrington's former Schaumburg offices) focusing on smaller markets that maintains separate management than that which runs Sinclair's large and mid-market outlets. As result of the Barrington purchase, KVII gained new sister stations in nearby markets: Fox affiliate KOKH-TV and CW affiliate KOCB in Oklahoma City, and Fox affiliate KSAS-TV and its MyNetworkTV-affiliated LMA partner KMTW in Wichita.
|TV stations in Texas|
| KTRK, Houston|
KSAT, San Antonio
|TV stations in Texas|
| KIAH, Houston|
|TV Stations in the Texas Panhandle / Oklahoma Panhandle / High Plains area, including Amarillo|
|Amarillo and surrounding area||Northeastern New Mexico|
|KACV 2 (PBS)||KENW 3 (PBS)|
|KAMR 4 (NBC)||KVIH 12 (ABC)|
|KBEX-LP 6 (Youtoo)||KCVP 34 (GLC)|
|KVII 7 (ABC)|
|KFDA 10 (CBS)|
|KWET 12 (PBS)|
|KDAX-LD 13 (Daystar)|
|KCIT 14 (Fox)|
|KAUO-LD 15 (TCN)|
|K17HI-D 17 (3ABN)|
|KPTF 18 (GLC)|
|KLKW-LD 22 (ESTRELLA)|
|KEYU 31 (TLM)|
|KCPN-LP 33 (MNTV)|
|K45IQ 45 (MTV2)|
|KXAD-LD 51 (Rev'n)|