KXAN-TV, virtual channel 36 (UHF digital channel 21), is an NBC/Ion Television-affiliated television station licensed to Austin, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group as part of a duopoly with Llano-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO (channel 14); Nexstar also operates CW affiliate KNVA (channel 54) under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with owner Vaughan Media. The three stations share studios on West Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between the Old West Austin section of Austin and the University of Texas at Austin campus; KXAN's transmitter is located at the West Austin Antenna Farm north of West Lake Hills.
On cable, KXAN can be seen on Charter Spectrum, Suddenlink and Grande Communications channel 4.
The station first signed on the air on February 12, 1965, as KHFI-TV, broadcasting on UHF channel 42. It was owned by the Kingsbury family, along with KHFI radio (970 AM, now KTSN at 1490; and 98.3 FM, now KVET-FM at 98.1). KHFI was the second television station in Austin, signing on a little more than twelve years after KTBC-TV (channel 7). Although Austin was big enough to support three television stations as early as the 1950s, KTBC was the only VHF license in the area. Until 1964, UHF stations could only be seen with an expensive converter, and even then picture quality left much to be desired. Additionally, UHF signals usually do not travel very far over long distances or over rugged terrain. This made several potential owners skittish about the prospects for UHF in a market that stretched from Mason in the west to La Grange in the east, and also included much of the Hill Country.
KHFI-TV logically should have signed on as Austin's NBC station, since up to that time all three networks had been shoehorned on KTBC, then a primary CBS affiliate. However, due to contractual obligations, it spent more than a year-and-a-half as an independent before joining NBC in 1966. Unlike most affiliates with the network in then two-station markets, KHFI did not take on a secondary ABC affiliation. The Kingsburys would later bring in Henry Tippie as a partner and in 1973 were granted permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move KHFI-TV to channel 36.
With the channel change came a new set of call letters, KTVV. The station also boosted its transmitter power to five million watts, which more than doubled its coverage area. What was then known as LIN Broadcasting purchased the station in 1979. The call letters were changed to the current KXAN-TV on October 15, 1987, in reference to then-sister station and fellow NBC affiliate (now owned-and-operated station) KXAS-TV in Fort Worth. Even with the increased power, channel 36's signal was marginal in some parts of the Hill Country such as Fredericksburg. On September 6, 1991, LIN signed on KLNO in Llano to improve KXAN's reach in the Hill Country. It changed that station's call letters to KXAM-TV after about a month on the air and later to the current KBVO on August 3, 2009. This call sign, named after the University of Texas' mascot "Bevo", was formerly used on the new channel 42—which is now CBS affiliate KEYE-TV—from December 1983 to July 1995, and is shared with channel 14's repeater KBVO-CD.
KXAN is one of two stations in Austin (the other being KVUE, channel 24) to retain its original network affiliation in the wake of a network swap between KTBC and Fox station KBVO (now KEYE-TV, channel 42) in 1995, the result of Fox's affiliation deal with New World Communications due to that network acquiring rights to NFL games. On October 21, 2009, KBVO became a separate station after picking up the MyNetworkTV affiliation from KNVA. That station carried the network as a secondary affiliation (airing on KNVA on Monday through Saturday nights from 9 to 11 p.m.), known on-air as "MyNetworkTV on The CW Austin", from its launch on September 5, 2006. In mid-September 2009, that station moved MyNetworkTV programs an hour later from 10 p.m. to midnight to make room for a nightly 9 p.m. newscast to compete with KTBC's established primetime newscast. To date, KNVA was one of two stations in the United States to carry The CW and MyNetworkTV (the other being KWKB in Iowa City, Iowa, which until 2011 was the only station that carried the full schedules of both netlets/programming services).
KXAN's current tower was activated in 1996, replacing an older structure that had been built in 1964. Of the fifteen towers on the hill, the channel 36 tower is the tallest and the highest structure in Austin. In addition to its transmission antenna, the mast also incorporates a camera with views of downtown to the east and the hills to the west.
On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN. The merger was completed on December 19, 2014, and KXAN joined the Media General station portfolio. Just over a year after that deal was completed, on January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group (who is based in Irving and already owns many other stations in Texas), in a deal valued at $17.14 per-share, valuing the company at $4.6 billion plus the assumption of $2.3 billion debt. The combined company would be known as Nexstar Media Group, and own 171 stations (including KXAN-TV), serving an estimated 39% of households. The merger also marked a re-entry into Austin for Nexstar, which had managed CBS affiliate KEYE-TV under a groupwide agreement with the Four Points Media Group before that company's stations were sold to Sinclair at the beginning of 2012. The deal was finalized on January 17, 2017.
KXAN-TV presently broadcasts 31 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours each weekday and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
For most of its first 30 years on the air, KHFI/KTVV/KXAN was a distant runner-up to KTBC. Despite efforts to produce a newscast of major market quality (early newscasts deliberately copied the look of NBC owned-and-operated station WNBC in New York City), it was usually unable to make a dent in KTBC's ratings dominance. Another setback was as a UHF station, KTVV/KXAN had a hard time maintaining a local share as an NBC affiliate due to the presence of nearby NBC stations in the San Antonio and Temple/Waco markets. KXAN's first number one rated newscast was also Austin's first hour-long morning newscast, News 36 Firstcast, which went on the air in November 1990. All other local stations soon followed suit, but Firstcast built an audience that delivered KXAN the station's first sweeps victory in February 1993. After KTBC switched to its current Fox affiliation in 1995, KXAN's ratings slowly increased in other time periods. By the latter part of the 1990s, channel 36 had overtaken channel 7 for the lead. Since then, it has waged a spirited battle for first place in the market with KVUE.
On December 23, 2008, starting with the weekday noon newscast, KXAN became the third television station in the Austin market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On September 28, 2009, the station began producing a nightly 9 p.m. newscast on KNVA (currently titled KXAN News at 9) to compete with KTBC's longer-established and hour-long prime time newscast.
On September 3, 2013, KXAN began producing a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast for sister station KNVA. Known as KXAN News on The CW Austin, the expanded broadcast runs from 7 to 9 a.m. and competes against KTBC's long-dominant morning newscast Good Day Austin and the national morning programs on the market's other major network affiliates.
- News Final 42 (1965-1966)
- Dateline News (1966-?)
- Eyewitness News (1973–1980)
- NewsCenter 36 (1980–1983)
- News 36 (1983–1996)
- KXAN News 36 (1996–2004)
- KXAN News (2004–2007 & 2011–present)
- KXAN Austin News (2007–2011)
- 36, Let's All Be There (1984-1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home to 36 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- When It Matters, Turn to Channel 36 (1987–1990)
- Come Home to the Best, Only on 36 (1988-1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Building a Better Texas (1990–1996; general slogan, also used by KXAS in Dallas-Ft. Worth)
- Your 24-Hour News Service (1990–1996; news slogan)
- First. Best. Live. (1996–2000)
- Your Central Texas News Leader (2000–2004)
- Your News and Weather Source (2004–2007)
- KXAN is Austin News (2007–2009)
- Keeping You Connected (2009–2011)
- In-Depth, Investigative (2011–present)
- Robert Hadlock - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- Sally Hernandez - weekday mornings
- Tom Miller - weekday mornings
- Jacqulyn Powell - weekend mornings; also reporter
- Sydney Benter - weekday evenings
- Jennifer Sanders - weekend evenings
First Warning Weather
- Jim Spencer - chief meteorologist;
- Kristen Currie - meteorologist; weekend evenings
- David Yeomans - meteorologist;
- Sean Kelly - meteorologist;
- Roger Wallace - weeknights at 6:00 & 10:00 p.m.; also host of Game Night
- Chris Tavarez -
- Jonathan Thomas -
|TV stations in Texas|
WOAI, San Antonio
|TV stations in Texas|
|TV stations in Austin/Hill Country region|
|KTBC 7 (Fox) |
KBVO 14 (MNTV)
KADT-LD 16 (Daystar)
KVAT-LD 17 (AZA)
KLRU 18 (PBS)
KGBS-CD 19 (Stadium)
KADF-LP 20 (ANTENNA)
KVUE 24 (ABC)
K29HW-D 29 (Ind)
KTFO-CD 31 (UMas)
K34FM-D 34 (TBN)
KXAN 36 (NBC)
KXLK-CD 40 (Justice)
KEYE 42 (CBS)
KNVA 54 (CW)
KAKW 62 (UNI)