KUTP, Fox Sports Arizona
Fox 10 (general)Fox 10 News (newscasts)
Just you watch the bestWe Are Fox 10
Digital: 10 (VHF)Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
Fox Television Stations(NW Communications of Phoenix, Inc.)
First air date
October 24, 1953; 63 years ago (1953-10-24)
FOX (Owned-and-operated station), Heroes & Icons, Light TV
CBS, Independent station, American Broadcasting Company
KSAZ-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station located in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV station KUTP (channel 45). The two stations share studio facilities located on West Adams Street in the west end of Downtown Phoenix's Copper Square district, and its transmitter is located atop South Mountain on the city's south side. Its signal is relayed across northern Arizona through a network of 20 translator stations.
As a CBS affiliate
The Federal Communications Commission awarded the license of Phoenix's third VHF commercial station to a partnership of Gene Autry, owner of KOOL radio (AM 960, now KKNT), and the Prairie Farmer newspaper, owners of KOY radio (AM 550). The two groups had competed heavily for the construction permit, but merged to avoid lengthy litigation. The Autry-Prairie Farmer group signed on channel 10 as a shared operation on October 24, 1953. Under the arrangement, the two separate stations alternated airtime, but use the same channel allocation and transmitter. The combined KOY-TV and KOOL-TV operation operated as a primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate.
In May 1954, KOOL-TV took over channel 10 full-time, after Autry paid $200,000 for KOY-TV's share of the operation; it was the first time that a post-freeze shared-time arrangement was ended. It lost the ABC affiliation when KTVK (channel 3) signed on in February 1955, leaving channel 10 as an exclusive CBS affiliate; as a result, it was now able to feature Autry's show Gene Autry's Melody Ranch on its schedule. Tom Chauncey, who also owned the biggest Arabian horse ranch in Phoenix, was a minority partner with Autry. Over the years, KOOL-TV ran nearly the entire CBS schedule, along with some first-run syndicated shows and local shows including daily newscasts and the first bilingual kids' weekly TV show called "Ninos Contentos" hosted by Kathy Shayna Shocket for a decade, The hour show was replaced by Pee Wee Herman show when the station was sold by Tom Chauncey to Gulf Broadcasting.
On May 28, 1982 at about 5 p.m., Joseph Billie Gwin, wanting to "prevent World War III", forced his way into the KOOL-TV studios and fired a shot from his gun. The butt of the gun struck Louis Villa in the back of the head; Gwin then held Villa in a chokehold, at gunpoint, for nearly five hours. Gwin took four people hostage and demanded nationwide airtime. Two of the hostages, Jack Webb and Bob Cimino, were released three hours later. At 9:30 p.m., anchor Bill Close read a 20-minute statement as Gwin sat next to him holding a gun under the table; Close took Gwin's gun after the statement and set it on the table.
Autry and his company, Golden West Broadcasters, exited broadcasting in 1982, selling KOOL-TV to Gulf Broadcasting. The new owners changed channel 10's callsign on October 4 to KTSP-TV (the KOOL call sign remained with the Phoenix FM radio station). It had been stated that the calls stood for "Tempe/Scottsdale/Phoenix", but it was a line that not even people at the station bought: according to news director Tom Dolan, "We told people for a long time that it stood for Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix, but I don’t know if anyone really believed it." The callsign had most likely been changed to match that of then-sister station WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida. The logo that KTSP used at the time, which would remain in use until 1995, was similar to WTSP's "Sunset 10" logo (KTSP's logo was slightly modernized in the early 1990s, losing the linear elements at the bottom).
KTSP was sold to Taft Broadcasting in 1984, as part of a corporate deal; on October 12, 1987, Taft was restructured into Great American Broadcasting after the company went through a hostile takeover by investors. The station's operations did not change significantly under Gulf, Taft or Great American Broadcasting ownership. In 1989, KTSP newscaster Shelly Jamison left the station after appearing as both a cover model and posing nude in a Playboy pictorial. When Great American Broadcasting filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1993, the company restructured once again and became known as Citicasters late that year. The station changed its callsign to KSAZ-TV on February 12, 1994 to match its new slogan, "The Spirit of Arizona".
As a Fox station
Due to the company's bankruptcy, Citicasters put four of its stations (including KSAZ-TV) up for sale. KSAZ and Kansas City sister station WDAF-TV were sold to New World Communications on May 5, 1994 for $360 million, with the sale becoming final on September 9 of that year. New World also acquired High Point, North Carolina's WGHP and Birmingham, Alabama's WBRC (both of those stations would be placed in a blind trust, due to ownership complications, and were later sold directly to Fox). Just 18 days later, New World announced that twelve of its 15 stations (those it already owned and those it was in the process of acquiring, including the two that would later be sold to Fox) would switch their varying Big Three network affiliations (most of the New World stations, like KSAZ, were aligned with CBS) to Fox. A major catalyst for the Fox-New World deal was the network's newly signed contract with the National Football League's National Football Conference. The Arizona Cardinals franchise were part of the NFC, and thus, had their games telecast on channel 10 since 1988, when that the Cardinals relocated to Phoenix from St. Louis (at that time, NFC games were shown on CBS). Until recently, however, home game telecasts were hard to come by, as the Cardinals often failed to sell out games at Sun Devil Stadium. Since moving to University of Phoenix Stadium, there have been no in-market blackouts (and due to the NFL suspending its blackout policies, initially for at least 2015 and later again for the 2016 season, KSAZ is, at least for the time being, guaranteed to air all Fox-televised Cardinals games, home or away, regardless of ticket sales).
As a result of the affiliation agreement, four commercial television stations in the Phoenix market each swapped network affiliations at different times. KSAZ dropped the CBS affiliation three days after the sale to New World became final on September 12. This switch temporarily left KSAZ as an independent station as Fox's affiliation agreement with its existing affiliate KNXV-TV (channel 15) did not expire until December 14 – as such, KSAZ was the only station involved in the New World deal and Fox's other affiliation agreements with Big Three stations that were byproducts of it that did not switch to Fox directly from another network. In the interim period, any Cardinals games that were not blacked out during the 1994 season were broadcast on Channel 15. The CBS affiliation at that time went to former independent KPHO-TV (channel 5). The ABC affiliation was to move from KTVK to KNXV on January 9, 1995 (as part of a separate multi-station affiliation deal between ABC and KNXV's owner, the E. W. Scripps Company), however KNXV began to add ABC shows in stages that August, as KTVK started to gradually excise that network's programs from its schedule (ABC's primetime and sports programs were the only network shows remaining on KTVK shortly before the affiliation formally moved to KNXV). Fox's primetime and sports programming moved to channel 10 on December 15, 1994. As with most other New World stations, KSAZ declined to run Fox Kids programming, which instead moved to KTVK and then in 1996, to KASW (channel 61).
KTVK originally chose to become a charter affiliate of The WB upon its January 11, 1995 debut, but that network's programming also went to KASW when it launched on September 22, 1995. With several top-rated syndicated shows moving to other stations in 1995, KSAZ dramatically increased the amount of local newscasts, producing about 45 hours each week. The remaining syndicated programs on the station were rather low-rated, and as a result KSAZ did not have good ratings in its early days as a Fox affiliate. Much of the audience for the station's newscasts went to KTVK, which also took on a news-intensive format after losing its ABC affiliation. In the fall of 1995, KSAZ added three hours of syndicated talk shows jointly produced by New World and Fox.
News Corporation purchased New World Communications, acquiring only its ten Fox-affiliated stations, in July 1996; the merger was finalized on January 22, 1997, making KSAZ an owned-and-operated station of Fox. This status almost became short-lived: in February 1997, Fox nearly traded KSAZ and sister station KTBC in Austin, Texas to the Belo Corporation in exchange for Seattle's KIRO-TV. That trade fell through; however, Belo would purchase KTVK (and KVUE in Austin) two years later. Fox began to upgrade the station's programming, adding some high-rated off-network sitcoms (such as M*A*S*H, Seinfeld and King of the Hill) as well as higher-rated syndicated court and reality shows.
Fox Television Stations purchased KUTP (channel 45) in 2001 as part of its acquisition of United Television (which had owned a 50% stake in UPN, until Viacom bought United's share of the network in 2000) forming the Phoenix market's second television duopoly. Although Fox owns both KSAZ and KUTP (now a MyNetworkTV station), neither aired the Saturday morning children's program block eventually known as 4Kids TV, which continued to air on KASW until Fox discontinued its programming agreement with 4Kids Entertainment and replaced the block with the Weekend Marketplace infomercial lineup in December 2008 (which ended up on KAZT-TV, channel 7). With the launch of Xploration Station which will replace Weekend Marketplace in the fall of 2014, KSAZ for the first time in its history will be clearing its network's entire schedule, although it will occasionally continue to preempt network programming for specials and breaking news coverage (which would result in the preempted programming airing on KUTP).
On July 27, 2007, as all three aircraft were covering a police pursuit in downtown Phoenix, "SkyFox10" pilot/reporter Don Hooper witnessed a mid-air collision between two news helicopters respectively belonging to KTVK and KNXV-TV over Steele Indian School Park in downtown Phoenix. In a video of the accident shot from "SkyFox" on YouTube, Hooper became very shaken and upset as he reported on the collision of the KTVK and KNXV helicopters. The video also contains audio of Hooper calling the tower at nearby Sky Harbor International Airport to report the collision on his aircraft's FAA radio. Hooper then talked on a discreet frequency to another news helicopter belonging to KPNX (channel 12) informing that he was fine, but two other helicopters had just crashed (Hooper surmised that KTVK pilot Scott Bowerbank, one of the four people – two pilots and two photographers – that were killed, was in one of the choppers).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
KSAZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10, at 8:30 a.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 31 to VHF channel 10 for post-transition operations.
On April 1, 2009, Fox Television Stations and the E. W. Scripps Company announced the formation of the Local News Service model between stations owned by the two station groups in the Phoenix, Detroit and Tampa markets. The service allows the pooling of newsgathering efforts for local news events and each station provides employees to the pool service in exchange for the sharing of video. Meredith Corporation-owned CBS affiliate KPHO-TV (channel 5) eventually joined the Phoenix LNS agreement shortly after the announcement.
KSAZ-TV presently broadcasts 55 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 9 hours on weekdays, 5½ hours on Saturday and 4½ hours on Sunday).