KHQ-TV, virtual channel 6 (UHF digital channel 15), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Spokane, Washington, United States and also serving Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The station is the flagship and namesake of the KHQ Television Group, a subsidiary of the Cowles Company, which owns The Spokesman-Review newspaper. KHQ's studios are located on West Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane, and its transmitter is on Krell Hill southeast of Spokane. The station also operates a 24-hour sports and weather channel called SWX Right Now on digital subchannel 6.2.
On cable and satellite, the station can be seen in high definition on Comcast Xfinity channel 106 in the Spokane area, Charter Spectrum channel 1203 in the Coeur d'Alene area and the Palouse, and channel 6 (in both standard and high definition) on Dish Network and DirecTV.
The station is also carried on cable systems in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, both of which are double the size of KHQ's American coverage area. One result of this is that stations in Calgary and Edmonton air American shows on Pacific Time, even though Calgary and Edmonton are both on Mountain Time. It is one of five local Spokane area television stations seen in Canada on the Shaw Direct satellite service. It can also been seen on local cable systems in eastern British Columbia.
While KHQ and KXLY were both granted authorization by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build television stations on July 12, 1952, KHQ was first to sign on the air, going live on Saturday, December 20, 1952 at 6 p.m. with the film Texas Trouble Shooters. The first NBC program KHQ broadcast was an episode of Your Hit Parade, which aired that evening at 7:30. In addition to being the oldest television station east of the Cascades, KHQ is also the second-oldest station in Washington state. It was co-owned by Cowles Publishing along with KHQ radio (AM 590, now KQNT; and FM 98.1, now KISC). The radio stations were both sold off in 1985.
It was originally a dual NBC/ABC affiliate. KREM-TV took the ABC affiliation when it signed on air in 1954, but KHQ kept the NBC affiliation, which it retains to this day. It is the only major station in Spokane, and one of a few in the country, that has retained the same primary affiliation, owner and call letters throughout its history.
After being in its original studio for over forty years, KHQ moved its headquarters to 1201 W. Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane in 2001, where it still is today. The reason for the move was to create an all-digital facility, so modern media technology could work well with the news station. In the process, KHQ became the first all-digital facility in Spokane.
Traditionally, KHQ has been known as "Q6," but the station seems to have been shying away from that branding in recent years. KHQ still uses the "Q6" logo, but it's now exclusively verbally referred to on-air by its call letters.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|6.1||1080i||16:9||KHQ-HD||Main KHQ-TV programming / NBC|
|6.2||480i||SWX||SWX Right Now|
KHQ-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 15 due to adjacent channel interference with KSPS (now on channel 8). Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 6.
In 2006, with the popularity of high-definition newscasts increasing around the country, the race to HD began in the Spokane television market when competitor KXLY became the first Spokane station to produce a local segment of the news in HD. Each week, one news story was presented in high definition. Until 2008, KXLY was the only news station in Spokane to produce a segment of the news in HD.
On May 16, 2008, KHQ produced a live, on-the-air report in HD. It was officially announced on this date that KHQ was slated to become the first station in Spokane to broadcast its entire newscasts in HD, debuting on August 8, 2008 to coincide with the 2008 Summer Olympics on NBC. However, after months of marketing this milestone, KXLY shocked KHQ and the Spokane television market when it made a surprise announcement on August 1, just two days before the start of its broadcasts, that it would beat KHQ in becoming the first station in Spokane to produce HD newscasts. KXLY's HD newscasts started August 3, just a mere five days before KHQ's scheduled date. Despite marketing their newscasts as being in HD, KHQ did not yet present its newscasts in true high definition, but in standard definition widescreen. However, with the implementation of a new master control hub (which handles the operations of KHQ, along with sister stations KNDU and KNDO and its SWX channels) using fiberoptic links, and the purchase of new studio equipment and cameras, KHQ migrated to full HD newscasts in late 2012.
In 2008, KHQ and Northern Quest Resort & Casino started a partnership, and created SWX, a 24-hour sports and weather channel. SWX soft-launched in January 2009, and officially launched on August 30, 2009.
Unlike most NBC affiliates, the station does not air a noon newscast.
Notable former on-air staff
- Peter Alexander (1997–2000; now NBC News White House Correspondent)
- Christine Clayburg (1998–2000; now executive producer for Clayburg Creative Group, professional actor for Screen Actors Guild, and loadmaster for Air National Guard)
- Gabe Cohen reporter/fill-in anchor (2013–2015; now reporter for KOMO-TV in Seattle). Cohen is also the son of American journalist and former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host Meredith Vieira.
- Penny Daniels (1998–2000; now strategic communications consultant at 3D Communications, a company she co-founded)
- Ira Joe Fisher (1970–1980; later substitute meteorologist and announcer for The Early Show on CBS)
- Phil Keating (1991–1993; now at Fox News Channel)
- Alex Rozier (2011–2014; now reporter at KING-TV in Seattle)
KHQ is rebroadcast on the following translator stations: