KETK-TV, virtual channel 56 (UHF digital channel 22), is an NBC-affiliated television station serving Tyler and Longview, Texas, United States that is licensed to Jacksonville. The station is owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group; Nexstar also operates Fox affiliate KFXK-TV (channel 51) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KLPN-LD (channel 48) under a local marketing agreement with owner White Knight Broadcasting. All three stations share studio facilities located on Richmond Road (near Texas Loop 323) in Tyler; KETK maintains transmitter facilities located near FM 855 in unincorporated northwestern Cherokee County.
Prior to the station's sign-on, the UHF channel 56 allocation in the Tyler-Longview market was originally slated to be occupied by KTRG, which stood for the initials of the original owner and license applicant. However, the owner had to file for bankruptcy, effectively scuttling plans to launch the station. Amid a few hurdles, the license was purchased by new buyers, who applied to change the call letters to KETK. The station first signed on the air on March 9, 1987, taking the NBC affiliation from KLTV (channel 7), which had carried the network on a joint primary basis since it signed on in October 1954 and was relegated to secondary status in 1984. It was originally owned by Texas American Broadcasting. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on North Jackson Street in Jacksonville; its original transmitter facilities were located on a tower near Mt. Selman (between Jacksonville and Tyler).
Texas American Broadcasting sold the station to Region 56 Network, a subsidiary of Lone Star Broadcasting in 1989. In September 1991, KETK signed on KLSB-TV (channel 19) as a satellite station to serve southern portions of the market that could not receive channel 56's signal (including Nacogdoches). KETK moved its operations to its current location on Richmond Road in Tyler in 1993. Lone Star then sold KETK to Max Television (later Max Media Properties) in 1996. In 1998, the Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired most of the Max Media Properties stations, including KETK. However, in early 1999, Sinclair sold the non-license assets of the station to the Communications Corporation of America, which operated the station via a time brokerage agreement. Sinclair remained the license holder of KETK until 2004 when ComCorp acquired the station outright.
In 2003, Max Media (a company partially related to Max Media Properties) acquired KLSB-TV and converted it into standalone station KYTX, which became a CBS affiliate in April 2004 (the first in the market since KLMG-TV (channel 51, now KFXK-TV) switched to Fox in April 1991). KETK subsequently signed on a low-power translator on UHF channel 53, KLSB-LP (which later changed its call letters to KETK-LP in 2007) to relay its signal to the southern part of the market; the station shut down in 2012. In June 2006, Communications Corporation of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Rival CBS affiliate KYTX (channel 19) sparked controversy by publicly announcing the ComCorp bankruptcy on its newscasts, for an entire week. ComCorp said in a press release viewers and staff would see no changes at the station. The company emerged from bankruptcy in late 2007.
On April 24, 2013, the Communications Corporation of America announced the sale of its television stations, including KETK-TV, to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group. KFXK and KTPN will be sold to Nexstar partner company Mission Broadcasting; in the case of KFXK, that station is being sold to Mission to comply with FCC duopoly rules. Nexstar will continue to operate KFXK and KLPN under a shared services agreement with sister station KETK. The sale was completed on January 1, 2015.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|56.1||1080i||16:9||KETK-DT||Main KETK-TV programming / NBC|
|56.2||480i||4:3||Grit||Grit (TV network)|
On September 8, 2006, KETK launched a second digital subchannel carrying NBC Weather Plus; the national Weather Plus feed was shut down on December 1, 2008. One month later on January 1, 2009, KETK replaced the local feed of Weather Plus with Me-TV. In 2011, the subchannel switched to Estrella TV after the affiliation moved to former CW affiliate KCEB (channel 54).
KETK-TV began operating a full-power digital television signal on UHF channel 22 on June 17, 2006. The station began testing high definition broadcasts of NBC programming on September 1 of that year, and started airing NBC programming in 1080i HD full-time four days later on September 5.
During the analog television era, the station's UHF channel 56 signal had the designation of having the highest channel allocation of any NBC affiliate. This ended after the high-band UHF channels (52-69) were removed from broadcasting use during the digital television transition on June 12, 2009. There was speculation that between the original transition deadline of February 17, 2009 and the new federally set deadline of June 12, 2009 that KETK would change its on-air station branding to reflect its physical digital channel 22.
However, the analog transmitter failed during the early morning hours of March 27, 2009, due to a malfunction of the cooling system at the transmitter facilities. Because of the cost and time involved that it would have taken to repair the analog transmitter, KETK filed a Notice of Suspension of Operations with the Federal Communications Commission and permanently shut down its analog operations over UHF channel 56 on March 27, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 56, however KETK removed on-air references to its channel position several months prior to the transition in 2008 and only brands by its call letters.
KETK-TV carries the entire NBC network schedule; however, it delays the network's overnight lineup (consisting of a rebroadcast of the fourth hour of Today and the CNBC program Mad Money) on a one-hour delay due to paid programming. It is also one of a handful of NBC stations that carry Days of Our Lives at noon (instead of the network-recommended 1:00 p.m. or alternate 2:00 p.m. timeslots); fellow NBC station KXAS-TV in the adjacent market of Dallas-Fort Worth has also carried the soap opera in that slot since September 2013. Syndicated programs broadcast by KETK include Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Rachael Ray, Burn Notice, Family Feud and Entertainment Tonight.
KETK-TV presently broadcasts 26½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station also produces the seasonal sports program Friday Football Fever, which airs on Friday nights during the final 15 minutes of the 10:00 p.m. newscast during the high school football season and is hosted by sports director Danny Elzner. In addition, the station produces 12½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 2½ hours on weekdays) for Fox-affiliated sister station KFXK-TV.
KETK is one of only three ComCorp stations that produce their newscasts in-house (the others being fellow NBC affiliates KTSM-TV in El Paso and WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana). Due to insufficient funds for most ComCorp stations to produce their own newscasts, KETK serves as a hub for the news operations for most of ComCorp's television stations, it produces pre-recorded newscasts for most of its Fox affiliates including Longview-licensed sister station KFXK-TV, KWKT in Waco and its College Station satellite KYLE, and KMSS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana. Previously, the station also provided pre-recorded newscasts for the Baton Rouge virtual duopoly of WVLA and Fox-affiliated sister WGMB (it produced in-studio news segments for WVLA's evening newscasts from 2009 to 2010, when that station began producing its evening newscasts locally once again following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; however, WVLA's weekend newscasts are still pre-recorded at the KETK studios).
The station promotes its weather team as having the "Most Powerful Radar in East Texas", which is branded as "KETK Live Doppler Skywatch". Also, KETK is the only station in the market to have four college degreed meteorologists on its weather team. Since its sign-on, KETK has finished a modest second behind market leader KLTV. In 1998, KETK began producing a 9:00 p.m. newscast each weeknight for KFXK under a news share agreement; initially receiving strong ratings, ratings fell after the program's original anchors left channel 56 as well as due to logistical problems resulting from delays due to Fox Sports programming overruns, that caused the program to be tape delayed to allow KETK to produce its own 10:00 p.m. newscast on schedule; the program was eventually canceled by 2001.
From July 2008 to October 2009, KETK was the solid #2 television news outlet in East Texas. KLTV led the local news ratings by far, with over 70,000 households, while KYTX was a distant third. However, in November 2009, KETK dropped to a distant third place behind both KLTV and KYTX, although KETK's ratings were expected to recover after The Jay Leno Show was dropped by NBC in February 2010. KETK restored a primetime newscast on KFXK on January 28, 2008, with the debut of a half-hour weeknight-only 9:00 p.m. newscast; it subsequently begna producing a two-hour weekday morning newscast from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. for channel 51 in September 2011. On April 23, 2010, KETK became the second television station in the Tyler-Longview market (after KYTX) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
Notable former on-air staff
In other media
In deleted scenes from the 2009 film Brüno, the title character (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) visits the KETK studios and meets with news director/anchor Neal Barton and sports director Danny Elzner. The two signed releases to appear in the film, expecting to talk about small-town news in the United States. Instead, the interviews conducted by the flamboyant Brüno character drifted towards the topic of homosexuality. The scene culminated with an interview that "Brüno" did with a local white supremacist, who threatened to call the police on him when his behavior became too overtly homosexual.