Channel 7 first signed on the air under the callsign KECA-TV on September 16, 1949. At the same time, it was the last television station licensed to Los Angeles operating on the VHF band to sign on, and the last of ABC's five original owned-and-operated stations to make its debut (after San Francisco's KGO-TV, which signed on four months earlier). It was also the last of the Los Angeles "classic seven" TV stations to sign on (all of them were originally on the VHF dial, prior to the 2009 digital conversions). In addition, it was the last new Los Angeles TV station to sign on from 1949 until 1962 when the first two UHF Los Angeles stations launched (they were KIIX (now KWHY) and KMEX, channels 22 and 34, respectively).
The station's callsign was named after Los Angeles broadcasting pioneer Earle C. Anthony, whose initials were also present on channel 7's then-sister radio station, KECA (790 AM, now KABC), which had served as the Los Angeles affiliate of the NBC Blue Network. Anthony's other Los Angeles radio station, KFI, was aligned with the NBC Red Network. The Red Network survived the split of the two NBC radio networks ordered by the Federal Communications Commission in 1943. Edward J. Noble, who bought the Blue Network (beginning its transformation into ABC), purchased KECA radio a year later when the FCC forced Anthony to divest one of his Los Angeles radio stations. On February 1, 1954, KECA-TV changed its callsign to the present-day KABC-TV.
From the time of its initial sign-on in 1949, channel 7 was located at the ABC Television Center (now called the Prospect Studios), on Prospect Avenue in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, east of Hollywood. In December 2000, KABC-TV moved from the Los Feliz studios to a new state-of-the-art facility designed by César Pelli in nearby Glendale. The station is currently located four miles east (along the corridor of the Los Angeles River and State Route 134) of ABC's West Coast headquarters on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank.
KABC-TV has used the Circle 7 logo since 1962 (the same year ABC created and implemented its current logo), and augmented its bottom left quadrant with the ABC network logo in 1997. The station's news anchors and reporters wear Circle 7 lapel pins when they appear on camera, a practice that had once been standard at each of the original five ABC-owned stations.
In 1984, KABC-TV became the first West Coast television station to air 'Stereo audio' for the 1984 Summer Olympics.
On February 4, 2006, KABC-TV became the first television station in the state of California to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition using HD cameras in the studio. Along with the in-house upgrades, the station debuted an updated news set and theme music (Gari Media Group's Eyewitness News).
In July 2010, The Walt Disney Company became engaged in a carriage dispute with Time Warner Cable (the first such incident since a 2000 dispute that pulled ABC's owned-and-operated stations from the cable provider using the stations as leverage for carriage of Toon Disney and Soapnet, and basic cable carriage of the Disney Channel, which had been carried as a premium channel at the time). This dispute involved KABC-TV and three other ABC owned-and-operated stations, Disney Channel and the ESPN family of networks. If a deal was not in place, all of the Disney-owned channels would have been removed from Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems across the United States. The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner Cable reached a long-term agreement to keep the stations and their sister cable channels on Time Warner Cable and its co-managed systems on September 2, 2010.
In October 2015 the station debuted a new news set which utilizes two wide format displays and four flat panel screens. Along with the physical upgrades, the station also debuted a new graphics package.
KABC-TV became the designated broadcast home of Los Angeles Rams games in 2016 for the team's appearances on ESPN Monday Night Football. KABC-TV will only carry the Rams' Monday Night Football games from that year onward while other games will be split between four other television stations: KCBS-TV through the NFL on CBS and its preseason Rams telecasts, including the network's Thursday night games; KNBC through NBC Sunday Night Football and NBC-produced Thursday night games; KTLA through games telecast exclusively by NFL Network; and KTTV through Fox NFL Sunday. The station will also produce and broadcast Rams' team shows on Saturday nights during the regular season, with comedian Jay Mohr serving as host. The same broadcast schedule will apply for the Los Angeles Chargers when they begin play in 2017, upon their relocation from San Diego. The station will also carry NFL post season wild-card games.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
In addition to Live Well Network programming, digital subchannel 7.2 also carries rebroadcasts of KABC's local newscasts, public affairs programs and syndicated shows; it also handles the responsibility of carrying programs normally seen on main channel 7.1, due to preemptions caused by long-form breaking news coverage (of note, are occurrences in 2007 when ABC7+ aired ESPN on ABC sports programming due to continuous live news coverage of local wildfires on KABC: the Subway 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on October 21 and the first round of the Skins Game golf tournament on November 24). On September 12, 2009, ABC7+ aired live coverage of a memorial service at Dodger Stadium for two members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department who died while fighting the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest (KABC's Saturday morning ABC Kids children's programming aired as scheduled without preemption).
Digital channel 7.3 previously carried programming from The Local AccuWeather Channel, it was replaced with a standard-definition feed of the Live Well Network in 2010. On April 15, 2015, the comedy network Laff replaced the standard-definition feed of LWN on 7.3.
KABC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, at noon on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 7 for post-transition operations. After the transition occurred, some viewers had difficulty receiving KABC's signal, despite operating at a high effective radiated power of 25,000 watts. On March 31, 2009, KABC-TV filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade its signal strength to 28,700 watts. It was granted a construction permit on March 3, 2011.
KABC-TV presently broadcasts 51 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7½ hours on weekdays, 6½ hours on Saturdays and 7 hours on Sundays). A typical of ABC stations and major network affiliates in general, KABC-TV produces an hour-long newscast at 4 p.m. on weekend afternoons. KABC-TV has had news bureaus in Sacramento in the past. The initial one was shut down in the early 1980s. The station's second Sacramento bureau was opened in 2003 when Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor following the 2003 California recall. This created a full-time presence in California's state capital of Sacramento the station utilized shared resources with sister stations KGO-TV in San Francisco and KFSN-TV in Fresno to staff the bureau. The bureau was closed in 2014. The station also has bureaus located in Riverside and Orange. In the 1980s the station also had a bureau located in Ventura.
"Lew Irwin Reports," the station's first locally produced newscast, debuted in 1957. Initially, the 15-minute program was broadcast nightly (Monday through Saturday) at 11:00 p.m. and featured Irwin delivering a news summary prepared by KABC Radio newswriters, followed by a seven-minute feature written by Irwin that included footage shot for the program by the MGM-owned newsreel company Telenews. Irwin interviewed a host of public figures for the program, including former President Harry Truman, then-Senator John Kennedy, philosopher Bertrand Russell, actor Marlon Brando, H-bomb scientist Edward Teller, and poets Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. Irwin's features often included news-breaking investigations into such controversial topics as migrant workers, police brutality, proprietary hospitals, disc jockey payola, the Hollywood blacklist, and the John Birch Society. In a letter to ABC News chief James Hagerty in 1961, Sandburg wrote: "He is one of the great reporters in America today....I could make a case that he is one of the most useful citizens." In 1962 a new KABC-TV program director for the station mounted a second newscast on the station (following John Daly's network newscast in the early evening) presented by Ed Fleming, who had previously worked for rival KNXT. A few months later, he decided to feature Fleming and Irwin on both the early-evening and late-night newscasts, with Fleming delivering the hard news and Irwin a long-form feature. After numerous clashes between the program director and Irwin, Irwin resigned in 1962 citing creative differences. He was eventually succeeded by KCOP-TV newscaster Baxter Ward, who was backed by the station's first staff film crew.
KABC-TV first adopted the Eyewitness News format for its newscasts in February 1969, not long after it became popular on New York City sister station WABC-TV. Like the other ABC-owned stations, Channel 7 used the "Tar Sequence" cue from the soundtrack of the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke as its theme music, and continued to use it even after the others adopted an updated version of the theme, the Frank Gari-composed "News Series 2000". Later on, the original Cool Hand Luke theme was used by the station only during the main newscast open. The station's newscasts used a synthesized version of the old theme (composed by Frank Becker) during the mid-1980s, before KABC-TV picked up the News Series 2000 package in 1990. In 1995, KABC began using Gari Media Group's Eyewitness News music package, which remains as the station's news theme to this day.
Notable on-air staff who have worked for the station's news department include Jerry Dunphy, Christine Lund, Bill Bonds, Lisa McRee, Harold Greene, Tawny Little, Laura Diaz, Paul Moyer, Chuck Henry, George Fischbeck, Regis Philbin, Judd Rose and Bill Weir. Former channel 7 sports reporters and anchors include Stu Nahan, former NFL players Lynn Swann, Gene Washington, Jim Hill and Bob Chandler, and former Major League Baseball player (and current Los Angeles Dodgers radio analyst and play-by-play announcer) Rick Monday.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the station's newscasts often included spirited miniature debates and commentaries reflecting various political viewpoints. Several notable politicians and political pundits appeared on these segments including Proposition 13 backer Howard Jarvis, former U.S. Representative and Senator John Tunney, Bruce Herschensohn, Bill Press and Baxter Ward. In addition, like many other stations at the time, KABC-TV aired brief editorials from the station's general manager, most notably John Severino, who served throughout the 1980s; this practice was discontinued in 1990.
During the 1980s, KABC-TV was one of a few stations in the country to run a three-hour block of local newscasts on weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. The station was the first in the region, if not the state, to introduce an hour-long newscast at 4 p.m., first anchored by Jerry Dunphy and Tawny Little in September 1980. Before this, the station ran two hours of news from 5–7 p.m. The station reduced this block by one half-hour in 1990, when it moved World News Tonight from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For a time in the late 1980s, its 6:30 p.m. newscast was titled Eyewitness Update and served as a final recap of the day's news, similar in nature to an 11 p.m. newscast. KABC-TV is one of three ABC stations on the West Coast to air World News at 6:30 p.m. (the two other ABC stations to do this being KGTV/San Diego and KAEF/Eureka); most other ABC stations in the western United States run the program at either 5:30 or 6 p.m. When the network soap opera Port Charles ended its run in 2003, channel 7 expanded its midday newscast to a full hour.
On January 13, 2014, KABC-TV began producing an hour-long 8 p.m. newscast on KDOC-TV (as of November 17, 2014, the newscast has moved to 7 p.m.); the newscast airs seven nights a week. Concurrently, KDOC also added a midnight rebroadcast of KABC's 11 p.m. newscast. KABC is the fifth ABC owned-and-operated station to enter into a news share agreement (after WTVD, KGO-TV, WPVI-TV and KFSN-TV). On May 31, 2016, KABC added a 3 p.m. newscast on weekdays, competing with KTLA's newscast at that timeslot.References
In February 2017, the station's news helicopter, AIR7HD, received an upgrade and debuted two new features: XTREME Vision and SkyMap7. XTREME Vision uses the industry's most advanced zoom lens and is able to track vehicle speeds in real time. SkyMap7 uses augmented reality to allow viewers to see street names overlaying the camera, which allows for the identification of streets at night. Both features are powered by the SHOTOVER F1 Live.
The introduction of the Eyewitness News format, followed by the addition of syndicated staples such as The Oprah Winfrey Show (in 1986), Live! with Kelly (in 1991), Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (both in 1992) has generally allowed KABC to maintain a substantial ratings advantage over its competition. Leveraging the strength of its sizeable lead-in at 3 p.m. by the now-defunct Oprah, KABC has long held first or second in the ratings for its 4 to 6:30 p.m. news block. However, ratings leads for the morning and late news have typically been spirited (and expensive) battles with local stations KTLA and KTTV in the morning, and KNBC (and recently KCBS-TV) at 11 p.m.
With its across-the-board ratings success in hand, the station has been known to run quick five-second promos throughout the day that feature the slogan, "ABC7 – #1 in news, #1 in Southern California." This is a throwback to its openers during the 1980s, when the station proudly proclaimed itself "Number One in Southern California." On November 1, 2015 the station debuted a new set along with new graphics.
KABC-TV as well as the other Disney owned television stations has a large presence on several social media platforms. In May 2014 it was announced that the station was the first one in the United States to surpass one million likes on Facebook.Marc Brown – anchor
David Ono - anchor
Leslie Sykes – anchor
Michelle Tuzee – anchor
Dallas Raines (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist
Carlos Granda -reporter
KABC-TV produces several local shows including Vista L.A. (which profiles Latino life in Southern California), and Eye on L.A. (which has been on the air in some form since the early 1980s). On weekends, the station airs Eyewitness Newsmakers, hosted by reporter Adrienne Alpert. The station produces a sports shows under various names throughout the year, all formerly under the name ABC 7 Sports Zone, which formerly originated from the ESPN Zone in Anaheim: Rams Primetime Saturday airs following the network's telecasts of Saturday Night college football games; during the NBA season, the station airs Slam Dunk Saturday/Sunday following Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games. Most ABC 7 Sports Zone shows previously originated from local sports venues including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and Staples Center in Los Angeles, but shows are now produced from the station's Glendale studios. It is hosted by Rob Fukuzaki, and is joined during the basketball season by former Los Angeles Laker great Michael Cooper. This program is a spin-off of Monday Night Live, which aired on KABC-TV from 1989 until Monday Night Football left the network after the 2005 NFL season. That show was hosted by Todd Donoho until 1997, and later Bill Weir and Rob Fukuzaki and featured an extensive trivia contest.
The station also produced a weekly entertainment program OnTheRedCarpet, hosted by Rachel Smith (who also appears on ABC's Good Morning America as a features reporter and Saturday host of the program's "Pop News" segment). This program also aired on other ABC-owned stations, and was later syndicated to other ABC affiliates; the program was cancelled by the summer of 2014.
Prior to ABC's annual telecasts of the Academy Awards, KABC-TV produces a live pre-awards show and post-awards show, On The Red Carpet at the Oscars, featuring red carpet interviews and fashion commentary. This show also airs on the network's other O&O stations and is syndicated to several ABC affiliates and other broadcasters outside the country.
In the past, KABC-TV featured various locally produced shows such as AM Los Angeles; a morning talk show which at various times featured personalities Regis Philbin, Sarah Purcell, Ralph Story, Tawny Little, Cristina Ferrare, Cyndy Garvey, and Steve Edwards as hosts. Edwards also hosted a short-lived afternoon show in the mid-1980s called 330, which aired after the ABC soap opera The Edge of Night (Live! with Kelly and Michael, formerly co-hosted by Philbin until 2011 and produced at New York sister station WABC-TV, now occupies the former time slot of AM Los Angeles).
On April 30, 1954, KABC-TV aired a preview program, Dig Me Later, Vampira, hosted by Maila Nurmi at 11 p.m. The Vampira Show premiered on the following night, May 1, 1954. For the first four weeks, the show aired at midnight, and it moved to 11 p.m. on May 29. Ten months later on March 5, 1955, the series began airing at 10:30 p.m. As Vampira, Nurmi introduced films while wandering through a hallway of mist and cobwebs. Her horror-related comedy antics included talking to her pet spider Rollo and encouraging viewers to write for epitaphs instead of autographs. When the series was cancelled in 1955, she retained rights to the character of Vampira.
In 1964, Pinky Lee attempted a return to kids television by hosting a local children's comedy program on KABC-TV. The series was also seen in national syndication from 1964 to 1965. But the program fell prey to creative interference from the show's producers and from station management. Lee tried to fight off the creative interference, but his efforts were for naught. The 1960s version of "The Pinky Lee Kids TV Show" went off the air after one season.
The station also served as the official host broadcaster of the Kingdom Day Parade in Crenshaw, Los Angeles.
KABC is rebroadcast on the following translator stations: