KOLD-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station, licensed to Tucson, Arizona. Owned by Raycom Media, it is a sister to Fox affiliate KMSB (owned by Tegna, Inc.) and MyNetworkTV affiliate KTTU (owned by Tucker Operating Co., LLC) through its shared services agreement. It broadcasts an ATSC digital signal on UHF channel 32 (remapped to virtual channel 13.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter located atop the Santa Catalina Mountains. All three share studios located on North Business Park Drive on the northwest side of Tucson (near the Casas Adobes neighborhood), which are shared with the Raycom Design Group,[2] an in-house firm that designs graphics packages for Raycom Media's television stations.


On November 13, 1952, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a construction permit to country singer Gene Autry for VHF channel 13 in Tucson. Two months later, on January 13, 1953, Autry signed the station on the air as KOPO-TV, the second television station in Arizona, and first in Tucson. Known as "Lucky 13", KOPO played up the "13" angle, coming on the air at 1:13:13 PM, the 13th second of the 13th minute of the 13th hour of the 13th day of the year. It was a sister station to KOPO radio (AM 1450, now KTZR; and 98.3 FM, now KOHT). The station originally operated from studio facilities located on West Drachman Street close to downtown Tucson.

Channel 13 took the CBS affiliation due to its radio sisters' long affiliation with CBS radio. It also had a secondary DuMont affiliation. In 1957, the station changed its call letters to KOLD-TV, playing off its sister station, KOOL-TV (now KSAZ-TV in Phoenix). KOOL and KOLD remained sister stations until Autry sold off KOLD to Universal Communications, the broadcasting arm of the Detroit-based Evening News Association, in 1969.

Universal Communications was acquired by the Gannett Company as part of Gannett's purchase of the Evening News Association in 1986. Gannett had owned the Tucson Citizen since 1977, and FCC regulations of the time forced Gannett to sell KOLD along with KTVY (now KFOR-TV) in Oklahoma City and WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama to Knight Ridder Broadcasting after just one day of ownership. The News-Press & Gazette Company acquired KOLD in 1989, when Knight Ridder bowed out of broadcasting.

In 1993, Atlanta-based New Vision Television bought NPG's entire television station group of the time, which included CBS affiliates KOLD, WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi and its semi-satellite WHLT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, NBC affiliates WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia and WECT in Wilmington, North Carolina, and ABC affiliate KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 1995, New Vision sold all of its stations to another Atlanta-based company, Ellis Communications (New Vision later rebuilt with smaller-market stations, and later resold the group to LIN TV). Ellis, in turn, was sold the next year to a media group funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, who purchased two additional broadcasting groups (Aflac's broadcasting unit and Federal Broadcasting) several months later. That same year, KOLD relocated its longtime studios on West Drachman Street to their current location on North Business Park Drive on the northwest side of Tucson. The three groups merged in 1997 to form Raycom Media.

During 2011, the Raycom station Web sites are being redesigned to a uniform format (previously, the Raycom station sites were a hodgepodge of different formats that were inherited from their previous owners). Raycom is Worldnow's largest client in number of station Web sites, but was dwarfed in total market coverage in Spring 2012 by Fox Television Stations, which relaunched its Web sites during that time.

On November 15, 2011, Dallas-based broadcasting company Belo Corporation, owners of local Fox affiliate KMSB and MyNetworkTV affiliate KTTU, announced that it will enter into a shared services agreement with Raycom Media beginning in February 2012, resulting in KOLD taking over the two stations' operations and moving their advertising sales department to the KOLD studios. All remaining positions at KMSB and KTTU, including news, engineering and production, will be eliminated and master control operations will move from Belo's Phoenix independent station KTVK to KOLD. KOLD will also take over operations of KMSB's website. Though FCC rules disallow common ownership of more than two stations in the same market, combined SSA/duopoly operations are permissible (with such operations existing in Youngstown, Topeka, Duluth, Nashville and Honolulu).[3]

Digital Television

13.11080i16:9Main KOLD-TV programming / CBS

Analog-to-digital transition

On April 3, 1997, the FCC released its initial digital television companion channel assignments. It assigned UHF channel 32 to KOLD-TV to build its DTV facilities, and began broadcasting in digital on September 11, 2003, with final FCC licensing coming January 6, 2004. KOLD elected to continue broadcasting on digital channel 32 after the digital transition on June 12, 2009,[5] and continues to identify as Channel 13 via PSIP. Oddly, a 13.3 subchannel also exists which formerly carried until about April 2011 a message apologizing for the discontinuation of The Tube Music Network, which ended operations in late October 2007. On August 15, 2011, KOLD-TV added MeTV to subchannel 13.2 and moved its "News 13 Now" programming to the previous vacant 13.3. In January 2012, KOLD-TV dropped the 13.3 subchannel, discontinuing the News 13 Now service.[6]

While KOLD's analog station originates from the electronics site in the Tucson Mountains west of downtown, KOLD's digital transmitter is at the Mount Bigelow electronics site to the northeast of the city.

KOLD-TV has a construction permit for a fill-in digital translator on its pre-analog channel 13 which will benefit viewers who live in certain rugged terrain areas that are having difficulty receiving the signal on channel 32.[7]


As a CBS affiliate, it now clears the entire CBS lineup. The station also airs syndicated programming such as Fix It & Finish It, Flip My Food with Chef Jeff, Crime Watch Daily, RightThisMinute and Entertainment Tonight. It was formerly Tucson's home of The Jerry Springer Show, and in 1998, was one of numerous stations that refused to carry the episode "I Married A Horse", which led to it being pulled before airing.[2]

The station has had an arguably more confusing schedule than most CBS affiliates; as an example, it ran The Price Is Right on a one-day delay when it initially broadcast the current version of the show,[2] and at one point it ran many of CBS' daytime programs out of pattern.[2] In 1971, KOLD picked up the Tucson rights for the syndicated version of The Lawrence Welk Show, which ran on KGUN-TV from its launch in 1956 until the latter's affiliate ABC cancelled it late in the 1970-71 TV season. KOLD often pre-empted the 7:00 CT or even the 7:30 CT portion of the CBS Saturday night line-up in order to air the Welk show;[2] CBS pressured the station to air it at 6:00 PM in the later years of the Welk show's syndicated run.[2] Following Welk's retirement (and the subsequent cancellation of his show) in 1982 (ten years before his death at age 89), KOLD scrambled to find a replacement for his old program, finally settling on a then-new hour-long weekend edition of the increasingly popular syndicated entertainment newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight. (PBS' reruns of the show currently air locally on KUAT.)

News operation

Currently, KOLD-TV broadcasts a total of 29½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays).

On August 30, 2010, KOLD became the second station in Tucson to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.

On November 15, 2011, KMSB owner Belo Corporation announced that due to a lack of advertising revenue, that in February 2012, it will enter into a news share agreement with KOLD and shut down KMSB's in-house news department. KOLD will take over production of KMSB's nightly 9 p.m. newscast, as well as debut a two-hour 7-9 a.m. newscast on weekday mornings on that station.[2][2]