KAIT, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is an ABC and NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Jonesboro, Arkansas, United States. Owned by Raycom Media, KAIT maintains studios on County Road 766 in Jonesboro, and transmitter facilities in Egypt, Arkansas.
KAIT first signed on July 15, 1963 as an independent station, a venture of Fort Smith businessman George Hernreich. It has been affiliated with ABC since 1965. The Hernreich family sold the station to Channel Communications in 1984. That company, in turn, sold KAIT to Cosmos Broadcasting, the broadcasting arm of South Carolina-based insurer Liberty Corporation, in 1986. Liberty exited the insurance business in 2000, bringing the Cosmos stations directly under the Liberty banner. Current owner Raycom Media obtained the station in 2005 through its purchase of Liberty. For many years, KAIT also operated a low-powered translator station K11JW operating on Channel 11 in nearby Blytheville, Arkansas.
KATV (channel 7) and KARK (channel 4) in Little Rock and the signals of other Little Rock area VHF stations adequately covered parts of the KAIT viewing area before the digital transition. Several cable systems in the KAIT viewing area, including Jonesboro and Blytheville, have carried KATV for decades. In compliance with syndex and must-carry regulations, some systems may blackout KATV and KARK when both channels are carrying the same program, usually during the daytime and primetime hours, except for breaking news, weather bulletins, and regularly-scheduled newscasts. Other cable systems in parts of the KAIT viewing area that are within in the Little Rock television market that also carry KATV, such as in Searcy and Heber Springs, carry both stations without restrictions.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||720p||16:9||KAIT-AB||Main KAIT programming / ABC|
|8.2||720p → 1080i||KAIT-NB||NBC Region 8|
KAIT shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, 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 VHF channel 9 to channel 8 for post-transition operations.
Both KAIT and KAIT-DT2 clear their respective network's entire schedule. Outside of ABC programming, syndicated programming on KAIT includes Wheel of Fortune, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Judge Judy.
KAIT presently broadcasts 24½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (4½ hours on weekdays and 1 hour on weekends).
In addition to reporting on local news stories, members of KAIT's reporting staff are also employed as photojournalists for the station. On October 15, 2007 beginning with the 5 p.m. newscast, KAIT's local newscasts were rebranded, replacing the former K8 News branding with Region 8 News, a branding the station had used during much of the 1980s. The station's longtime slogan "Good Neighbors You Can Turn To" (also "Your Good Neighbor Station") was also replaced with a new slogan ("Always Tracking. Always Watching. Always On.")
On September 16, 2011, KAIT announced that upgrade its newscasts to high definition, and broadcast from a new set; the following night, fellow ABC affiliate KATV in Little Rock started broadcasting its local newscasts in HD. On October 17, 2011 beginning with its 11 a.m. newscast, KAIT became the fourth station in Arkansas (the first in Jonesboro) to broadcast its local newscast in high definition.
Although not owned by the same company, KAIT frequently forms a partnership with the Jonesboro Radio Group for community projects and promotions. The three Jonesboro Radio Group stations involved in the partnership are KEGI 100.5 FM, KDXY 104.9 FM and KJBX 106.3 FM. An audio simulcast of KAIT's 6 p.m. newscast airs Monday-Friday evenings on KJBX.
Notable former on-air staff
- Rodger Bumpass - announcer, film processor, cameraman, audio technician, and technical director (best known for providing the voice of Squidward Tentacles on Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants)
- Hogan Gidley - News/Weather Anchor
KAIT’s home market only comprises Craighead, Clay, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph, and Sharp counties in Arkansas. With KAIT’s 28,200 watts worth of effective radiated power, KAIT's signal can extend into nearby portions of all neighboring markets (e.g. the Memphis, Little Rock, Springfield, MO, and the Cape Girardeau, MO-Paducah, KY markets). Even after the digital transition of 2009, KAIT’s over-the-air signal can still be picked up as far south as Forrest City, as far north as Hendrickson, Missouri, as far west as Mountain View and as far east as Tiptonville, Tennessee and Caruthersville, Missouri. Some of the northern suburbs of Memphis can also pick up at least grade B signal quality.