KESQ-TV, virtual channel 42 (UHF digital channel 28), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Palm Springs, California, United States and serving the Coachella Valley in California's Inland Empire. Owned by the News-Press & Gazette Company, it is a sister station to Cathedral City-licensed Class A CBS affiliate KPSP-CD (channel 38), Class A Fox affiliate KDFX-CD (channel 33.2, licensed to both Indio and Palm Springs), Palm Springs-licensed low-powered CW affiliate KCWQ-LD (channel 2), and Indio-licensed low-powered Telemundo affiliate KUNA-LP (channel 15); this existing co-ownership of all these five stations allows for KESQ to also be used to offer full-market over-the-air standard definition simulcasts of KPSP-CD (simulcast over KESQ-DT2), KDFX-CD (simulcast over KESQ-DT4), KUNA-LP (simulcast over KESQ-DT7), and KCWQ-LD (simulcast over KESQ-DT8), to better serve viewers throughout the market that don't subscribe to either cable or satellite television services. The five stations share studios on Dunham Way in Thousand Palms; KESQ's transmitter is located on Edom Hill northeast of Cathedral City and I-10.
|Palm Springs, California|
|Branding||NewsChannel 3 HD|
CBS Local 2 (on DT2)
Fox 11 (on DT4)
Telemundo 15 (on DT7)
Palm Springs CW 5 (on DT8)
|Slogan||The Desert's News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)|
Virtual: 42 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||42.1: ABC KESQ|
42.2: CBS KESQ
33.2 (42.4): Fox
15.1 (42.7): Telemundo
2.3 (42.8): CW+
|Owner||News-Press & Gazette Company|
(Gulf-California Broadcast Company)
|First air date||October 5, 1968|
|Call letters' meaning||ESQuire Magazine|
|Sister station(s)||KDFX-CD, KCWQ-LD, KUNA-LP/LD, KPSP-CD, KUNA-FM, KESQ-AM, KECY-TV, KEYT-TV|
|Former callsigns||KPLM-TV (1968–1980)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
42 (UHF, 1968–2009)
52 (UHF, until 2009)
42 (UHF, 2009–2019)
|Transmitter power||100 kW|
|Height||189 m (620 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
Along with other major Coachella Valley television stations, KESQ identifies itself on-air using its cable designation (News Channel 3) rather than its over-the-air channel position. The unusual practice stems in part from the area's exceptionally high cable penetration rate of 80.5% which is one of the highest in the United States.
Until its license was canceled on September 29, 2017, K27DS (channel 27) was an analog translator of KESQ licensed to Yucca Valley and covering west of Morongo Valley in the San Bernardino National Forest along the San Bernardino and Riverside county line. All these areas are within the Los Angeles market.
The station signed went on the air on October 5, 1968 as KPLM-TV (named for the Palm as in "Palm Springs") on UHF channel 42 and was the market's first station. It was originally owned by Pacific Media Corporation. However, it would hold the distinction of being the only station in the Coachella Valley for just three weeks, as NBC affiliate KMIR-TV started up at that time on channel 36. It first operated from studios located on East Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Pacific Media sold the station to Esquire Communications in 1979, and the following year, it was renamed to KESQ-TV. At this point, KESQ-AM 1400 was combined with the television station into a studio complex on Melanie Place in Palm Desert. Esquire then sold it to Gulf Broadcasting in 1984. In the mid-1980s, its call sign was featured in a logo above a tri-color "red-blue-yellow" rainbow until being replaced by a golden "3" in 1994/95 that is still in use. Taft then sold KESQ to former Gulf Broadcasting executive E. Grant Fitts in 1986.
In the 1980s, the station operated three other translators in order to cover a wide area of the market including K82BQ in Hemet, K33BL in Banning, and K71AB in Blythe. The television station currently owns the license for KESQ-AM which is a simulcast of KUNA-FM. The station shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 as part of the digital television transition in the United States. In 1996, current owner News-Press & Gazette Company of St. Joseph, Missouri bought the station. On January 31, 2012, KESQ bought rival KPSP, the local CBS affiliate. KPSP's transmitter on 38.1 went silent at midnight on March 1, 2012. CBS programming is now broadcast on 42.2 on the KESQ-DT digital tier and the lineup has not changed. On June 20, 2013, it was announced that KESQ, with all their sister channels, will be moving into a new state-of-the-art studio. KESQ is moving into their new studio on June 26, 2013 along with KPSP. The new studio is located in Thousand Palms, California in the old KPSP studio.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|42.1||720p||16:9||KESQ-DT||Main KESQ-TV programming / ABC|
|42.2||480i||4:3||LCLCBS2||Simulcast of KPSP-CD / CBS|
|33.2||KDFX-DT||Simulcast of KDFX-CD / Fox|
|15.1||KUNA-DT||Simulcast of KUNA-LP / Telemundo|
|2.3||16:9||KCWQ-DT||Simulcast of KCWQ-LD / Palm Springs CW 5|
Since KDFX, KUNA and KCWQ are low-powered stations, they did not originally offer digital signals of their own. Therefore, KESQ added them as subchannels to serve as that purpose. Unlike most other broadcasters, this station does not number a digital signal equivalent to the analog signal as minor channel 1 and label other subchannels with higher minor channel numbers. KDFX and KCWQ have since signed-on low-powered digital signals of their own.
The station established a local news department in the mid-1980s and became a ratings powerhouse regularly earning more viewership than all of its competitors combined. After acquiring KPSP, that station had its operations merged into KESQ's facility. Currently, KESQ offers the most broadcasts while CBS Local 2 airs separate news programs on weekday mornings as well as weeknights at 5:30 and 6:30. In addition to these newscasts, KESQ produces a two-hour extension of its weekday morning newscast seen from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on KDFX-CD. The Fox affiliate also airs a nightly prime time broadcast at 10:00 p.m. that features the CBS outlet's branding and anchors. These offerings competed with now defunct low-powered MyNetworkTV KPSG-LP, which had local news produced by rival NBC affiliate KMIR-TV. The Telemundo newscasts can be seen weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. on KUNA. Like all CW Plus outlets in the Pacific Time Zone, KCWQ-LP airs the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz on weekday mornings from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.