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KGW, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Portland, Oregon, United States. The station is owned by Tegna Inc. KGW's studios are located on Jefferson Street in southwestern Portland, and its transmitter is located in the city's Sylvan-Highlands section. KGW also served as the Portland bureau for co-owned regional news channel Northwest Cable News before it shut down on January 6, 2017.
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)|
(to move to 26 (UHF))
|Branding||KGW 8 (general)|
KGW News (newscasts)
|Slogan||We're on it|
|Affiliations||8.1: NBC (1959–present)|
8.2: True Crime Network (O&O)
8.3: Quest (O&O)
8.4: Twist (O&O)
49.2: Court TV Mystery
|Owner||Tegna Inc. |
(Sander Operating Co. III LLC d/b/a KGW Television)
First air date
|December 15, 1956|
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|Keep Growing Wiser |
1,000 kW (application)
|HAAT||524 m (1,719 ft)|
539 m (1,768 ft) (application)
|Translator(s)||KGWZ-LD 23 (UHF) Portland (city)|
(for others, see below)
Public license information
The station was an extension of radio station KGW (620 AM, now KPOJ). The Oregonian newspaper created KGW by purchasing an existing transmitter from the Shipowners Radio Service. The U.S. Department of Commerce licensed the radio station, and it began broadcasting on March 25, 1922 (after a test transmission two days earlier). Among the station's early personalities was "The Man of 1000 Voices," Mel Blanc, who debuted on the radio program The Hoot Owls. The station's studios and transmitter were located in The Oregonian Building (of 1892) until 1943, when a fire destroyed them and the station moved to other quarters. The Oregonian applied for and received a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) construction permit for a television station in 1947, but later returned it in order to focus on its core newspaper business. It later bought KOIN (970 AM, now KUFO) and used it to start KOIN-TV (channel 6).
The Oregonian sold KGW-AM-FM to North Pacific Television, a consortium of Seattle businesswoman Dorothy Bullitt and five Portland businessmen, on November 1, 1953. Bullitt's King Broadcasting Company, who also owned KING-AM-FM-TV in Seattle, was the largest shareholder in the venture, with a 40 percent stake. Bullitt eventually bought out her partners (and in doing so, became the sole owner of the station), and KGW-TV signed on the air on December 15, 1956 on channel 8 as an ABC affiliate. On April 26, 1959, it swapped affiliations with KPTV (channel 12), becoming an NBC affiliate (KGW's sister station, KING-TV in Seattle, also switched from ABC to NBC with KOMO-TV at the same time).
The KGW-TV tower was a prominent victim of the Northwest's historic, and violent Columbus Day Storm on October 12, 1962. The station returned to the air on October 16 using a temporary tower, as well as an antenna on loan from KTNT-TV (now KSTW) of Tacoma, Washington. A new antenna and tower were placed into service on January 28, 1963.
In January 1964, KGW began building a new broadcast center at 1501 SW Jefferson Street, which has served as its headquarters and main studios location ever since. The station moved into the new facility, from an old building located two blocks to the east, in 1965, the radio facilities in the spring and the television facilities in July 1965. Located at the west edge of downtown Portland, the two-story building had approximately 54,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) of space.
In 1992, King Broadcasting (which also included KING-TV in Seattle, KREM-TV in Spokane, Washington, KTVB in Boise, Idaho and KHNL in Honolulu, Hawaii) merged with The Providence Journal Company. Only five years later, in 1997, KGW became part of the Belo Corporation when it bought The Providence Journal Company.
KGW aired a Portland Trail Blazers game in high-definition on October 24, 2007. On October 12, 2011, KGW announced that unless a new contract agreement could be reached that it would drop the station from DirecTV's channel lineup. This contract dispute that involved DirecTV and Belo would also remove sister station KING-TV from DirecTV in the Seattle market. On November 1, 2011, DirecTV reached an agreement with Belo to resume carrying KGW and KING on DirecTV.
On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo. However, since Gannett owns the Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem—within KGW's viewing area—KGW was instead sold to Sander Media, LLC (owned by former Belo executive Jack Sander), with Gannett operating KGW through joint sales and shared services agreements in order to comply with the FCC's cross-ownership restrictions. The sale was completed on December 23.
On June 29, 2015, Gannett's publishing and digital media operations were spun off, with the latter renamed Tegna. Shortly afterward, Sander Media filed with the FCC to transfer KGW's license to Tegna's King Broadcasting Company; the acquisition was completed on December 3, 2015.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||KGW||Main KGW-TV programming / NBC|
|8.2||480i||Crime||True Crime Network|
|49.2||Escape||ATSC 1.0 simulcast of KPDX-DT2 / Court TV Mystery|
|49.4||Grit||ATSC 1.0 simulcast of KPDX-DT4 / Grit|
KGW provided a 24-hour weather forecast service on digital subchannel 8.2 through the digital television transition, until the September 14, 2009 launch of Estrella TV. On August 2, 2010, KGW restored the 24-hour news and weather channel on 8.2 and moved Estrella TV programming to digital subchannel 8.3. As of December 2012, KGW replaced Live Well Network on KGW 8.2.
Justice Network replaced Live Well Network on January 20, 2015.
On January 16, 2018, KGW activated subchannel 8.4 in anticipation of carrying Quest, which broadcast a preview on a repeated loop until its debut on January 29.
On July 18, 2008 at 6:14 p.m., KGW conducted a test for viewers to determine whether their television sets were ready for the digital transition by turning off its analog signal for 10 seconds, which the station conducted other times through the spring of 2009. In early 2009, KGW, along with other stations that had already added digital television technology, began broadcasting on its digital channel and those without cable or satellite service could purchase "DTA" (Digital to Analog) converter boxes. The U.S. government distributed credit-card "coupons" to get as much as a $50 discount on the boxes, with a limit of two coupons per household. The boxes would accept the digital signal and convert it back to analog so that older televisions could pick up the signal. It is estimated that 20% of television watching households in the Portland area use the over-the-air signal for TV services, making the coupon program very popular in Portland.
KGW shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 3:04 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 46 to VHF channel 8. At 3:43 a.m., KGW completed its digital conversion when it shut down its temporary digital transmitter (on UHF channel 46) and switched digital operations to channel 8.
Syndicated programming on this station includes The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Inside Edition. Along with NBC network programming, the station also airs some local programs such as a daily one-hour talk show called Portland Today and a daily local half-hour news magazine The Good Stuff (formerly Live at 7 and Tonight With Cassidy). The station preempts the Saturday edition of Today in favor of its extended weekend morning newscasts.
Former local programmingEdit
Original local programming in the 1970s included the pioneering nightly television news magazine show Evening, first broadcast in 1977, and the weekly public affairs program Open Line, where viewers could phone in and ask a question of that week's guest; Portland's Mayor traditionally appeared on the program the first Sunday of the month. Local programs in the 1980s included the award-winning quiz show On the Spot (airing daily from 1984 to 1988) and the Oregon Lottery game show The Money Game (airing Saturday nights after the 6 p.m. newscast from 1988 to 1990). From 1996 to 2017, KGW aired select Portland Trail Blazers game telecasts; these are now exclusive to NBC Sports Northwest (KGW also broadcast all Blazers games aired as part of NBC's broadcast contract with the NBA from 1990 to 2002).
KGW presently broadcasts 40½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours each weekday and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
KGW-TV's original evening news team remained intact for more than seven years—a rarity in the broadcast industry. Anchors Richard Ross and Ivan Smith, commentator Tom McCall, sportscaster Doug LaMear and meteorologist Jack Capell were the faces of KGW's News Beat from sign-on in December 1956 until early 1964, when McCall left the air to run for Oregon Secretary of State. McCall won election that fall, and was elected Governor of Oregon two years later. Ross anchored KGW's nightly newscast Northwest Tonight until 1975, and LaMear and Capell remained on Channel 8 for at least another two decades after Ross' departure for rival KATU (channel 2).
On January 21, 2008, KGW became the first television station in the Portland market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. Along with a newly renovated studio, the station shortened its brand from "KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8" to "KGW NewsChannel 8", updated its logo/graphics, and debuted Version 3 of 615 Music's "The Tower" music package. In November 2008, KGW retrofitted its news helicopter with an HD camera.
In 2008–2009, the station developed a high-definition news studio in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, in a space previously occupied by Powell's Books. Regular broadcasts from the location that KGW named the "Studio on the Square" began on March 17, 2009. KGW's noon and 4 p.m. newscasts originate from the downtown location.
Notable current on-air staffEdit
Notable former on-air staffEdit
- Mel Blanc (deceased 1989, performer on The Hoot Owls)
- Colin Cowherd (now host of Fox Sports Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd)
- Ann Curry (former anchor and newsreader on NBC's Today)
- Eric Johnson - sports director (1989-1993; now weeknight anchor for KOMO-TV in Seattle)
- Paul Linnman - host of Evening and PM Magazine (1978–1983; then moved back to KATU, where he had worked before KGW)
- Ron Magers - producer/news anchor (late 1960s, later at stations like KSTP-TV, WMAQ-TV, and WLS-TV, now retired)
- Tom McCall (Governor of Oregon from 1967 to 1975; deceased)
- Brian McFayden - former anchor, 2016–2017
- John Stossel (later anchor of ABC's 20/20, now at Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel)
KGW operates low-powered translator KGWZ-LD (channel 23), which allows homes with issues receiving KGW's VHF signal or only a UHF antenna to receive KGW in some form. Prior to 2020, it showed a loop of ODOT traffic cameras and KGW's skycam network.
In addition to KGWZ-LD, KGW's signal is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:
NOTE: All of KGW's translator services appear on virtual channel 8 (8.1, 8.2, etc.) through use of PSIP.
- "Channel Substitution/Community of License Change". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. June 22, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
- Nelson, Bob (June 2, 2009). "Call Letter Origins". 238. The Broadcast Archive. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
- "KGW To Celebrate Tenth Anniversary". (March 20, 1932). The Sunday Oregonian, p. 1.
- "The Oregonian Test of Radio Makes Hit". (March 24, 1922). The Morning Oregonian, p. 5.
- "Radio Is Installed By The Oregonian". (March 19, 1922). The Sunday Oregonian, p. 1.
- "KGW [history of]". PdxHistory.com. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Blaze Hits Oregonian Top Floors". (September 24, 1943). The Oregonian, p. 1.
- "KGW Begins Building New 'Broadcast House'". (January 12, 1964). The Oregonian, Section 3, p. 9.
- Murphy, Francis (May 10, 1965). "Behind The Mike" (regular media column). The Oregonian, Section 2, p. 7.
- "KGW Unveils New Studios". (July 11, 1965). The Sunday Oregonian, "TV Key" section, p. 14.
- "A Message from our President and General Manager DJ Wilson". kgw.com. Archived from the original on November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "A Message from our President and General Manager Ray Heacox". King5.com. Archived from the original on November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "Gannett, owner of the Statesman Journal, purchases KGW parent Belo for $1.5 billion". The Oregonian. Associated Press. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Brown, Lisa (June 13, 2013). "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5 billion". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved December 23, 2013
- "Separation of Gannett into two public companies completed | TEGNA". Tagna. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- "Application For Consent To Transfer Control Of Entity Holding Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- "Tegna Closes On Sander TV Stations Purchase". TVNewsCheck. December 3, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KGW
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "CDBS Print". FCC. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- Cowley, Jared (April 25, 2017). "KGW bids fond farewell to TV relationship with Blazers". KGW.com. Tegna Inc. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
- "KGW newscasts now in high definition | Local News | kgw.com | News for Oregon and SW Washington". kgw.com. January 22, 2008. Archived from the original on January 24, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- "Resolution Revolution: Local news to go HD on KGW". kgw.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2007.
- "Studio on the Square: Tuesday's live show thread". KGW. March 17, 2009. Archived from the original on March 20, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Dooris, Pat (January 29, 2008). "KGW to build studio at Pioneer Courthouse Sq". kgw.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2008.
- "Eric Johnson". KOMOnews.com. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
- "Linnman to join Channel 2". The Oregonian. December 20, 1983. p. C6.
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