KVOS-TV is a commercial television station licensed to Bellingham, Washington, United States. Owned by Weigel Broadcasting, it serves as an affiliate of Heroes & Icons, Movies!, MeTV, Decades and Start TV on its five digital subchannels. The station's over-the-air transmissions are on UHF digital channel 35, though it remaps to its former analog channel 12 through PSIP. While the station is nominally part of the Seattle–Tacoma market, it primarily serves an audience in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria.
KVOS' transmitter is situated atop Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, at an altitude of 2,621 feet (799 m) above the adjacent terrain. The station's signal is very well received throughout the British Columbia Lower Mainland, southern Vancouver Island, and much of northwest Washington. KVOS' original studios were located at 1151 Ellis Street in Bellingham. However, with the sale of KVOS to OTA Broadcasting in 2010, the Bellingham facility was closed and the station currently shares studios with Seattle-licensed sister station KFFV (channel 44) on Third Avenue South in Seattle. KVOS previously maintained offices in Burnaby, British Columbia; before that, its Vancouver offices were located on West 7th Avenue.
As KVOS serves both sides of the border, at one time the station decided to use both Canadian and American TV ratings at the start of each program, after they were established—it was the only station on either side of the border to do so. Since early 2007, only U.S. ratings have been shown.
KVOS signed on June 3, 1953; owned by Bellingham businessman Rogan Jones along with KVOS radio (AM 790, now KGMI). Jones had owned the radio station since 1928, and was best known for being the focus of a case that established broadcasters' right to the same news reports as newspapers. Its first broadcast was a kinescope of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. Since Canada had no television stations west of Ontario at that point (CBUT did not sign on until December that year), the British government flew film of the BBC's coverage to Vancouver, where the Mounties escorted it to the border. The Washington State Patrol then drove the film to Bellingham. The station's original slogan was "Your Peace Arch Station, serving Northwest Washington and British Columbia."
KVOS initially experienced financial trouble, despite Jones thinking that he could successfully support a television station in a city the size of Bellingham. He built a powerful transmitter on Orcas Island in hopes of reaching Seattle, but even with increased power it didn't cover enough of the Seattle area to solve the problem. For a time, the revenues from his radio station were all that kept channel 12 afloat. In 1955, Jones, realizing that most of his audience was across the border, incorporated KVOS in Canada, establishing a subsidiary company in Vancouver. The subsidiary, KVOS-TV Limited, brought in revenue for the station by allowing many Vancouver-area businesses to buy advertising time on the station, which is still the case today. KVOS-TV continued to broadcast from Bellingham, with much of its audience based in southwestern British Columbia.
After just nine years of owning KVOS-TV, in 1962 Jones sold the station to Miami-based Wometco Enterprises.
KVOS began as an affiliate of DuMont upon sign-on in 1953 and remained so until DuMont folded in 1956. From January 1, 1955 until the late 1970s, KVOS was a CBS affiliate. In the late 1970s, KVOS sharply reduced its carriage of CBS programming to resolve two commercial disputes. First, Seattle's CBS affiliate, KIRO-TV, had launched complaints against the station and CBS regarding duplicate transmission of CBS programming in the Seattle media market. Second, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations seeking to increase Canadian content and reduce the number of American network affiliates retransmitted on cable television systems in Canada put pressure on the station.
While KVOS nominally retained its CBS affiliation up to 1987, carrying a few CBS programs such as 60 Minutes, it transitioned into an independent station which primarily carried a diverse mix of syndicated and locally produced programming, including locally produced news and public affairs programs. The station also carried a number of programs syndicated from the Toronto-based independent station Citytv, whose owner CHUM Limited did not yet have an outlet in nearby Vancouver.
Wometco was bought by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1984. KKR sold off the Wometco group in 1985, with KVOS sold to Ackerley Communications. In the early 1990s, due to Federal Communications Commission syndicated exclusivity rules affecting the Seattle media market, KVOS was dropped from most Seattle cable television systems.
In 2001, CHUM Limited purchased the Vancouver station CKVU-TV from Canwest (turning it into a local version of Citytv in 2002, but beginning to air CHUM-provided programming on September 1, 2001) and launched a new station in Victoria known as CIVI-TV. The launch of the new outlets, along with a major series of affiliation and ownership changes in the Vancouver–Victoria market in September 2001, caused KVOS to be displaced by CIVI from its long-time home on channel 12 on many Vancouver-area cable systems.
The station came under the ownership of Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) in 2003, following that company's purchase of Ackerley. On November 16, 2006, Clear Channel announced that it would be selling its entire television division, including KVOS-TV, after being bought by private equity firms. On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners' Newport Television. Providence Equity initially announced that it would not keep KVOS or KFTY in Santa Rosa, California; instead, those stations were to be resold to LK Station Group. However, LK could not obtain financing, so KVOS remained with Newport. (KFTY was eventually sold to High Plains Broadcasting, with Newport operating the station; it is now owned today by HC2 Holdings, as KEMO-TV.)
In 2008, KVOS filed an application to the FCC to build its digital facility in Granite Falls in Snohomish County. (48°08′09″N 121°58′56″W) The proposed location would have provided city-grade coverage of most of the Seattle area while remaining within 15 miles (24 km) of Bellingham, as required by FCC rules. However, it would have significantly diminished its reach into Canada. Presently, KVOS provides grade B coverage of Seattle's northern suburbs (such as Everett, Edmonds, Bothell and Lynnwood), but just misses Seattle itself. This application was dismissed on July 16, 2009.
In January 2010, KVOS swapped channel positions (now on channel 30) with TSN on Shaw Cable in Metro Vancouver. In Vancouver, KVOS is not included on Shaw's "basic-cable" line-up, but is included as channel 30 on Shaw's "classic-cable" and "digital-cable" line-ups. In Victoria, KVOS is included only on Shaw's "digital-cable" line-up, on channel 69.
In October 2010, KVOS was added to Comcast's digital lineup on channel 72 in the Seattle–Tacoma area. This is the first time in 20 years that the station has been able to be seen in Seattle proper. This also marks the first time KVOS has been viewed in parts of Southwest Washington and Gray's Harbor coastal communities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam.
The station became an affiliate of the classic television network MeTV on April 25, 2011. Later, TheCoolTV was added as a subchannel of KVOS on August 18, 2011. Unlike the main 12.1 feed, the 12.2 feed was not carried on any Canadian cable system. In January 2014, TheCoolTV was dropped in favor of Movies!.
Newport agreed to sell KVOS to OTA Broadcasting, LLC, a company controlled by Michael Dell's MSD Capital, in December 2011. The deal created a duopoly in the Seattle market with KFFV. OTA Broadcasting assumed control of KVOS on March 6, 2012. As a result of this sale, most of KVOS' staff was laid off, and most of the operations staff were moved to Seattle.
In September 2013, subchannel 12.3 began airing Canadian Punjabi language specialty channel Sur Sagar TV. KVOS ceased carrying the latter in mid-2015, eventually replacing it with Heroes & Icons on September 5, 2016.
On March 12, 2015, the main feed of KVOS had adopted to KFFV's 44.6 feed, the branding itself had been switched from MeTV KVOS to MeTV Seattle while the ident was MeTV KVOS-KFFV. Advertising was also shared between KVOS and KFFV. Due to WeatherNation TV previously airing on KFFV, Comcast identified the station as KFFVVW on its on-screen guide.
Weigel Broadcasting agreed to acquire KVOS-TV and KFFV, along with KAXT-CD and KTLN-TV in San Francisco, in a $23.2 million deal on October 18, 2017, giving Weigel control of both of its MeTV affiliates in the Puget Sound region. The sale was closed on January 15, 2018, with KVOS and sister station KFFV now under Weigel ownership.
On January 17, 2018, H&I became KVOS's primary network and moved to subchannel 12.1, MeTV was relocated to subchannel 12.3 and new offering Decades was added to subchannel 12.4. KVOS's lineup expanded once more on September 3, 2018 when Start TV was added to subchannel 12.5.
|TV stations in Washington|
|Seattle area||Spokane area||Yakima/Tri-Cities area||Portland/Vancouver area|
|KVOS, Bellingham||KQUP/KDYS-LD/KQUP-LD, Pullman/Spokane||KUNW-CD/KVVK-CA/KORK-CA, Yakima/Kennewick/Walla Walla||KOXI-CD, Camas|
|KONG, Everett||KHBA-LD, Spokane||K21JQ-D, Walla Walla||KEVE-LD, Vancouver|
|KTBW, Tacoma||K33EJ-D, Walla Walla|
|TV stations in the Puget Sound Region, including Seattle, Tacoma and Everett|
| KOMO 4 (ABC) |
KING 5 (NBC)
KIRO 7 (CBS)
K08OU-D 8 (3ABN)
KCTS 9 (PBS)
KSTW 11 (CW)
KVOS 12 (H&I)
KCPQ 13 (Fox)
KCKA 15 (PBS)
KONG 16 (Ind)
KTBW 20 (TBN)
KZJO 22 (MNTV)
KBCB 24 (SBN)
KRUM-LD 24 (Ind)
KBTC 28 (PBS)
KWPX 33 (Ion)
KFFV 44 (Ind)
KUSE-LD 46 (AAT TV)
KUNS 51 (UNI)
KWDK 56 (Daystar)