Iowa City-Dubuque, Iowa
|City of license||Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Branding||KCRG-TV 9 (general)
KCRG-TV 9 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your 24-Hour News (and Weather) Source|
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)|
9.3 Antenna TV
|Owner||The Gazette Company
(sale to Gray Television pending)
(Cedar Rapids Television Company)
|First air date||October 15, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||K-Cedar
|Former channel number(s)||9 (UHF analog, 1953–2009)
52 (UHF digital, 2003–2009)
|Transmitter power||18 kW|
The station broadcasts on VHF digital channel 9, and is the primary ABC for the northeast quarter of Iowa. The station's studios are located on 2nd Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids and its transmitter is located in Walker, Iowa.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming |
|9.1||720p||16:9||KCRG-D1||Main KCRG programming / ABC|
KCRG has a digital subchannel called "KCRG 9.2" at channel 9.2, which originally aired a wheel schedule of local news, weather and features. The remainder of the screen had a news ticker, current weather conditions, rotating weather images and program listings. Over time, syndicated and locally produced programs were added, culminating in the addition of MyNetworkTV to the subchannel's in October 2011, one month after KWKB dropped the service and became a sole CW affiliate. However, MyNetworkTV's programming runs as a late night offering on 9.2, airing from 12:05–2:05 a.m., five hours later than its usual primetime running time. Subchannel 9.2 is also used to air ABC network programming pre-empted on the main signal for breaking news coverage; a prime example was during the Great Iowa Flood of June 2008, when 9.2 carried ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals while 9.1 devoted full coverage of the disaster.
The schedule of 9.2 prominently features live and taped local sports coverage, including regular season and state championship coverage of volleyball, wrestling, soccer, baseball, football, and basketball (the latter two sports are broadcast on Friday evenings). Also featured are coverage of the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL hockey), Cedar Rapids Kernels (Midwest League baseball), and University of Northern Iowa athletics. Ancillary sports programming includes the discussion show On Iowa Live and the Zach Johnson Foundation pro-am golf tournament.
In late August 2011, KCRG added a third subchannel, 9.3, branded "WXNow" and featuring local forecasts and looping conditions originated locally from station weather computers. On October 1, 2013, the WXNow loop was moved to an online-only streaming channel on the station's website and replaced on 9.3 by the lifestyle-oriented Live Well Network. With Live Well slated to discontinue programming in January 2015, subchannel 9.3 joined Antenna TV that month, taking over the network's Eastern Iowa affiliation from KWKB (subchannel 20.2).
On June 12, 2009, the station returned to channel 9 when the analog to digital conversion completed. The station had attempted to convert on February 17, 2009 with the majority of other Cedar Rapids stations, but the FCC requested they maintain one analog commercial network signal for the market for the remaining four months. Upon KCRG-TV's digital transition completion in June 2009, the "KCRG-TV" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 9 to the new digital channel 9 with the "KCRG-DT" callsign being permanently discontinued.
During the late 1940s, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, previous owners of KCRG-AM 1600, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a TV station license. At the time, the FCC had a backlog of over 200 applications, and had decided not to proceed with action on further applications until the backlogged requests could be filled.
After the backlog was taken care of, many applications were filed for licenses. The Gazette Company didn't want to compete for a license, and decided to withdraw the initial application. It joined with a number of other investors as Cedar Rapids Television Company (CRTV), which was granted a license for channel 9. The station signed on October 15, 1953.
Initially, the station was known as KCRI because the other investors didn't want to have the new television station so closely identified with the Gazette. The radio station also took the KCRI calls because one of the television station's managers suggested that every mention of "KCRG" on air was a promotion for the newspaper—one for which the Gazette would have to pay each time. After about a year of operation, the Gazette bought out the remaining investors in CRTV and the station was renamed KCRG-TV in 1954.
Since that time the station has remained under the ownership of Gazette Communications, which was renamed the SourceMedia Group in mid-2010. After the 1996 sale of WHO-TV in Des Moines, KCRG-TV was the only locally owned and operated television station left in Iowa. KCRG started broadcasting in high definition television in January 2003. The station also had the first news helicopter in Iowa, "NewsCopter 9". In September 2015, Atlanta, Georgia based Gray Television and Gazette Communications announced they had an agreement where Gray Television would buy KCRG-TV for $100 million dollars, with the transfer taking place on October 1st.
KCRG airs the entire ABC network schedule in pattern, though America This Morning airs at 4 a.m. due to the 4:30 a.m. start of their newscasts. Syndicated programs on KCRG includes Live! with Kelly and Michael, The Big Bang Theory, The Dr. Oz Show, Steve Harvey, and Rachael Ray.
The station also produces PowerHouse TV, a program about energy efficiency and safety, for local utility Alliant Energy, which airs on KCRG and stations throughout Alliant's service area in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and small portions of Illinois and Missouri.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2010)|
Currently, KCRG-TV broadcasts a total of 31 hours of local newscasts each week (with 5 hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays, and three hours on Sundays). In addition to its main newsroom at its Cedar Rapids studios, the station also operates satellite newsrooms in Iowa City and Dubuque.
KCRG-TV has the distinction of being one of only four remaining broadcast television stations in the United States currently utilizing the "24 Hour News Source" format, which it began using in 1990—the only other stations still using the format, As of November 2014[update], are NBC affiliate WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan and CW affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis.
Dave Franzman has been with the station since the 1970s, while Bruce Aune started anchoring at KCRG in 1986. Meteorologist Denny Frary was the station's longest-running on-air personality, working on KCRG from 1974 until he retired on November 17, 2006. Upon Frary's retirement, several pieces aired with friends and associates sharing a few words on Frary, and a roast ceremony was held the night prior to his retirement. Sports Director John Campbell had also been with the station since the 1970s. Campbell officially retired as Sports Director in 2012, however can still be heard and seen from time to time as he continues to report for the station.
On January 3, 2011, KCRG-TV expanded its weekday morning newscast by one half-hour, moving it to 4:30 a.m., creating a 2½ hour block of news each weekday morning.
On January 21, 2012, KCRG-TV became the second station in the Cedar Rapids market to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. The switch to HD came with brand-new logo, graphics, news set and a new 113-inch interactive touch screen that will be used for weather and other interactive storytelling. It is the largest interactive touch screen of its kind in the U.S.A. and third largest in the world.
Notable former on-air staff
- Dick Fletcher - (1960s?–1970s?; died in 2008)
- Liz Mathis - anchor (1998–2007; then Horizons, Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, now state senator for Iowa's District 18.)
- Curt Menefee - sports reporter (1984–1988; now co-host of Fox NFL Sunday)
- Nadia Crow- (2010-2013) anchor/reporter now at KTVX in Salt Lake City
- RabbitEars TV Query for KCRG
- "ABC to Discontinue Live Well Network," from Broadcasting & Cable, 6/9/2014
- "KCRG Cedar Rapids To Launch Antenna TV," from TVNewsCheck, 12/3/2014
- "KCRG-TV9 sold to Gray Television", KCRG.com (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Gazette Communications), September 1, 2015, retrieved September 1, 2015
- KCRG Sets Alarm Clock for 4:30 A.M., TVNewsCheck.com, December 22, 2010.
- History Article from the KCRG web site. Date Accessed: July 29, 2005. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Cedar Rapids Television Company.
- Stein, Jeff, Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting (ISBN 0-9718323-1-5). Cedar Rapids, Iowa: WDG Communications, 2004.
- The KCRG-TV Website
- Mobile KCRG-TV Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KCRG-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KCRG-TV