KALB-TV, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 35), is an NBC/CBS/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Alexandria, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television. KALB-TV's studios are located on Washington Street in downtown Alexandria, and its transmitter is located in Forest Hill. Its over-the-air signal can also be seen in most of the Lake Charles and Lafayette markets.
|Branding||KALB NewsChannel 5|
CBS 2 (on DT2)
|Slogan||Your Local Station|
CBS 2 and You!
|Channels||Digital: 35 (UHF)|
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 29, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Know Alexandria,|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
5 (VHF, 1954–2009)
PBS (per program, 1970–1971)
|Transmitter power||820 kW|
|Height||481 m (1,578 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
On cable, KALB-DT1 is available on Suddenlink channel 5 and in high definition on digital channel 730. KALB-DT2 can be seen on Suddenlink channel 2 (hence the CBS 2 branding) and in high definition on digital channel 715.
KALB began broadcasting on September 29, 1954 with NBC's airing of the 1954 World Series. It aired an analog signal on VHF channel 5. The station has been an NBC affiliate from day one, although it also carried programs from the classic big four networks, until DuMont folded in 1955 and cable penetration in the early 1960s provided various network affiliates from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. In 1957, the station was bought by Shreveport businessman T. B. Lanford and his company Red River Valley Broadcasting, making KALB a sister station to fellow NBC affiliate KPLC in Lake Charles until that station was sold in 1964. KALB also aired programming from ABC, such as Happy Days, on a secondary basis from 1954 until the early 1980s, shortly before rival station (and future ABC affiliate) KLAX-TV (channel 31) signed on. Furthermore, KALB also aired Sesame Street for a brief period of time from December 1970 until December 1971; the show was removed to much viewer backlash, but over-the-air viewers could receive the program via WBRZ and later KLTM prior to KLPA's sign on.
The station was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the FCC's plan for allocating stations. In the early days of broadcast television, there were twelve VHF channels available and 69 UHF channels (later reduced to 55 in 1983). The VHF bands were more desirable because they carried longer distances. Since there were only twelve VHF channels available, there were limitations as to how closely the stations could be spaced.
After the FCC's Sixth Report and Order ended the license freeze and opened the UHF band in 1952, it devised a plan for allocating VHF licenses. Under this plan, almost all of the country would be able to receive two commercial VHF channels plus one noncommercial channel. Most of the rest of the country ("1/2") would be able to receive a third VHF channel. Other areas would be designated as "UHF islands" since they were too close to larger cities for VHF service. The "2" networks became CBS and NBC, "+1" represented non-commercial educational stations, and "1/2" became ABC (which was the weakest network usually winding up with the UHF allocation where no VHF was available).
However, Alexandria was sandwiched between Shreveport (channels 3, 6, and 12) and Monroe–El Dorado (channels 8, 10, and 13) to the north, Lafayette (channels 3 and 10) and Baton Rouge (channels 2 and 9) to the south, and Northwestern Mississippi (channel 6), New Orleans (channels 4, 6, 8, and 12), and Jackson (channels 3 and 12) to the east. This created a large "doughnut" in Central Louisiana where there could be only one VHF license. (When cable arrived in the market in the 1970s, companies supplemented the area with stations from those cities.) KALB was fortunate enough to gain that license, and consequently was the only television station to be based in Alexandria until KLAX and KLPA (channel 25) signed on in 1983. Both channels 7 and 11 were occupied in the Little Rock market, which was also too close to be reassigned to Central Louisiana.
KALB began broadcasting in stereo on November 28, 1986. Park Communications purchased KALB in 1993 and merged with Media General in 1997. KALB began calling itself "Newschannel 5" when it came under Media General ownership and adopted a logo modeled after that company's flagship station, WFLA. The station launched its digital signal in 2002.
Regnal Wallace, the late public relations director of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation who created the television series This Week in Louisiana Agriculture, was from 1962 to 1969 a sportscaster at KALB.
For more than two decades, Ethma Odum, who hosted her own The Ethma Odum Show weekdays on KALB, was the most recognized regional television personality in Central Louisiana. She sometimes interviewed area politicians as well as actors and other celebrities passing through Alexandria. She often invited local singing groups to perform on the show. Her annual "Letters to Santa" program and her reading of Charles Tazewell's The Littlest Angel, were particularly popular. Various episodes had Odum milking a cow, visiting a shooting range, or interviewing a clown. Mainly, however, Odum geared the program to the homemaker. On closing each broadcast, she urged her viewers to obtain vital cancer screenings. Widely recognized from her lifetime of broadcasting, Odum retired from the station in 2002. She also did occasional "Special Reports" for the evening newscast.
From 1960 to 1966, Leverne Perry (1932–2016) hosted KALB's Leverne Perry and the Little Wranglers. He organized the Horses and Handicaps Program and was active in area rodeo events. He owned an Alexandria shoe store, was an elected member and former president of the Rapides Parish Police Jury, and in 1987 became the executive director of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association.
In January 2007, KALB launched a CBS affiliate on its second subchannel. This gave Central Louisiana full service programming from the Big Four networks for the first time. Prior to that, CBS programming was provided on local cable by KLFY-TV in Lafayette, KNOE-TV in Monroe, or WAFB in Baton Rouge. The CBS station is branded as CBS 2 given it is carried on Suddenlink channel 2 and also uses the fictitious callsign NALB. Suddenlink carried both NALB and KLFY in Alexandria before dropping the latter on May 1, 2015.
On October 29, 2007, Media General announced it was exploring the sale of KALB. On March 14, 2008, the company reached an agreement to sell the station and sister outlet WMBB in Panama City, Florida to Hoak Media. The deal was closed on July 16. KALB continued to use elements of its Media General-era presentation while owned by Hoak Media, keeping the news theme until 2011 and versions of the arc logo until 2014 (KALB made slight modifications to its logo and news theme in July 2012 upon launching its newscasts in high definition) On February 17, 2009, it turned off its analog signal on channel 5 and now only operates in digital on channel 35. However, through PSIP, digital tuners show the virtual channel as the former analog channel.
Originally, KALB aired a digital signal from a transmitter at its facilities in Downtown Alexandria. KALB is one of the country's most dominant stations in part because it was the only commercial station in town until KLAX-TV signed-on in 1983.
On November 20, 2013, Hoak announced the sale of most of its stations, including KALB-TV, to Gray Television. The sale was completed on June 13. At the end of 2014, the station adopted its current logo and news theme; aside from continuing to refer to itself as Newschannel 5, KALB's on-air look no longer included elements from the era of Media General ownership.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|5.1||1080i||16:9||KALBNBC||Main KALB-TV programming / NBC|
|5.2||720p||KALBCBS||KALB-DT2 / CBS|
|5.3||480i||KALB CW||Central Louisiana CW|
On December 15, 2015, Gray Television came to terms on an extension of their existing CW stations and subchannels throughout their chain; the press release announcing the extension also revealed Gray also agreed to place The CW on a new third digital subchannel of KALB-TV in the fall of 2016. This saw KBCA (channel 41) lose their affiliation at that time to KALB-DT3 after their existing agreement expired.
Syndicated programming on KALB-DT1 includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Rachael Ray Show, among others. Syndicated programming on KALB-DT2 includes Dr. Phil, Pawn Stars, Daily Mail TV, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and The Doctors among others.
KALB operates a relatively large news department compared with other big three affiliates in markets of its size. This results in a higher-quality product than conventional wisdom would suggest for such a small market. It is one of the country's most dominant stations largely because it had the area more or less to itself until KLAX launched in 1983.
The Jambalaya morning newscast was expanded to a two-hour broadcast in January 2012. Unlike some NBC affiliates in the Central Time Zone, there is no early evening local newscast on Sundays. On weeknights, KALB-DT2 airs CBS 2 News at 6:30pm with the CBS Evening News airing at 6:00 p.m. This is unlike most affiliates in the Central Time Zone, which normally air the broadcast at 5:30 p.m. The morning news/weather updates and weekend newscasts are simulcast on both CBS 2 and News Channel 5. The weekend broadcasts are co-branded with the title Weekend Edition.
During weather forecast segments, KALB features a live NOAA National Weather Service weather radar feed from a site on the west side of Alexandria International Airport. On-air, this is known as "Sky Warn 5 Live Doppler". Additionally, KALB has a partnership with Radio Maria, AM 580 KJMJ in Alexandria, to simulcast its newscasts during severe weather or other emergencies. KALB's meteorologists also provide daily weather updates for Radio Maria and its network of stations.
The station also produces numerous live and recorded locally originated programs such as live coverage of the Komen Alexandria Race for the Cure and live political debates during election season. Each hurricane season, the station's team of meteorologists produces a 30-minute hurricane special called Surviving the Storm. On Thanksgiving, a Giving Thanks special airs, and 30-minute Spirit of the Season specials air at various times during the holiday season. Other specialty programming includes specials that include What's Right About Cenla which features a look at positive people and organizations in the community, the Young Achiever Spotlight showcases outstanding kids and teens in the Central Louisiana region, and Weekend Drive takes a look at family-friendly travel destinations within a day's drive of the Central Louisiana area. These programs are hosted by News Channel 5 personalities. News Channel 5's "Junior Edition" is a feature in the weekend newscast which is hosted by area school children and includes news about area schools and community events. These specialty programs are all produced locally by KALB-TV. The station also airs a weekly feature program spotlighting the unique places and faces of the region called Down Home Louisiana hosted by Mark Klein.
The 5th Quarter show is hosted by sports director/anchor Mo Carter and sports anchor/reporter Chris Bailey. It includes high school football highlights and scores from schools throughout Central Louisiana. The 5th Quarter airs from 10:05–10:35 p.m. on Friday nights during high school football season.
Former on-air staffEdit
- "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Broadcaster Comments on Sesame St. Hassle, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, February 6, 1972, Section A Page 10
- Alexandria Town Talk, November 8, 1986, Page C-22
- Greg Hilburn (April 15, 2016). "La.'s original 'Voice of Agriculture' dies". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "Ethma Odum Collection". Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Ethma Ewing Odum, March 22, 2009". Alexandria Town Talk. Archived from the original on June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Leverne Perry". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
- "Gray Buying Hoak, Prime Stations For $342.5M". TVNewsCheck. November 20, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Gray closes Hoak deal; completes refinancing., rbr.com, Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Kuperberg, Jonathan (15 December 2015). "Gray TV, The CW Ink Affiliate Agreement Extension, Add 4 New Stations". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- "Gray Renews, Expands CW Affiliations". TVNewsCheck. December 15, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.