KRBC-TV, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 29), is a NBC-affiliated television station located in Abilene, Texas, United States. Owned by Mission Broadcasting, the station is operated by Nexstar Media Group through a shared services agreement as part of a virtual duopoly with CBS affiliate KTAB-TV (channel 32).
The two stations share studio facilities located on South 14th Street in western Abilene. Also, the stations share transmitter facilities located on Texas State Highway 36, in neighboring Callahan County.
KRBC-TV first began its broadcasting operation on August 30, 1953, as the first television station in Abilene. The station was owned by the Ackers family, who had bought the construction permit from Harte-Hanks Communications a few months earlier, along with KRBC radio (1470 AM, now KYYW). The call letters stand for Reporter Broadcasting Company, after the Harte-Hanks-owned Abilene Reporter-News. The tower was originally located atop Rattlesnake Mountain in Cedar Gap. KRBC originally carried a mixture of programming from all four networks of the time - NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont. It however was a primary NBC affiliate. It lost CBS in 1956 when KPAR-TV (now KTXS-TV) signed on. The two stations shared ABC until KTAB-TV signed on and took CBS, leaving KRBC as an NBC affiliate.
In 1962, KACB-TV signed on from San Angelo as a semisatellite of KRBC. The Ackers family's broadcast holdings, Abilene Radio and Television Company, owned the station for 44 years until selling it to Sunrise Television in 1997. Two years later, Sunrise severed the connection between KRBC and KACB, and KACB became a full-fledged station; it is now KSAN-TV.
In 2002, Sunrise merged with LIN Television. In 2003, LIN sold KRBC to Mission Broadcasting. Mission Broadcasting, in turn, contracted with the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, owner of KTAB, to provide news, traffic, sales, engineering, and business operations under a shared sales agreement.
In 2005, Nexstar moved the entire KTAB operation from 5410 South 14th Street into the KRBC building at 4510 South 14th Street in Abilene. After consolidating operations under the same studios, the Abilene facility now provides various office and master control functions for Nexstar and Mission stations KLST and KSAN-TV in San Angelo. However, KTAB is still the senior partner. The master control room now operates KTAB and KRBC, as well as KLST and KSAN in San Angelo. Business and traffic operations for both stations are handled here.
During a January 14, 2007, ice storm, the KRBC main transmission tower collapsed, taking the station's analog signal off the air for 13 hours. The collapse not only destroyed the tower and the analog antenna, but also the station's low-power digital transmission antenna. However, the falling tower missed the transmitter building and an adjacent auxiliary antenna; station engineers were able to get KRBC's analog channel 9 signal back on the air using that auxiliary antenna. The collapse also destroyed the antenna for NOAA Weather Radio station WXK29, leaving it off the air until a new antenna was installed. A microwave link on the tower which helped provide programming to KLST and KSAN in San Angelo was also destroyed in the collapse. In October 2007, the San Angelo link was replaced with a dual-channel fiber-optic cable.
The station's digital signal remained off the air until October 2007, when it returned to the air on digital channel 29 with all NBC programming presented in HD. The new digital transmitter is based in a new transmitter building at the KTAB-TV tower site near Potosi, Texas. The station also shares a digital broadcast antenna with KTAB.
2005 cable dispute
On January 1, 2005, at midnight, KRBC was removed from the cable television lineup in the city of Abilene after months of dispute between the station owner(s) and Cox Communications, now Suddenlink Communications. In accordance with Federal Communications Commission regulation, KRBC station owner Mission Broadcasting (operated by Nexstar Broadcasting) tried to make an agreement with the cable system to continue carrying KRBC's NBC programming. Cox Communications claimed KRBC wanted its cable system to pay for its transmission. The disagreement began with KRBC/Mission/Nexstar requesting 10 cents per subscriber for KRBC to be carried on the Cox Cable system in the Abilene area. The basic argument was that satellite providers pay for the right to rebroadcast local affiliates' signals, and that cable operators should, as well.
Due to the dispute, Cox eventually dropped KRBC from its system, which caused many city residents to purchase an antenna for their homes to pick up the station's analog signal for NBC programming. Later in the year, KRBC and the other local television stations were picked up by Dish Network in a local channel package, which was strongly supported and promoted by KRBC/Mission/Nexstar. During the time KRBC was off the cable system, Cox replaced what was the KRBC spot on cable channel 5 with family-oriented cable stations from its digital line-up (such as HBO Family and Noggin). The cable system also added several temporary channels to its lineup off its digital cable lineup to preview and to give disgruntled customers several new channels. After nine and a half months of negotiations between Nexstar and Cox Communications, the KRBC signal was returned to the Cox lineup in Abilene on October 20, 2005.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||1080i||16:9||KRBC-DT||Main KRBC-TV programming / NBC|
On June 15, 2016, Nexstar announced that it has entered into an affiliation agreement with Katz Broadcasting for the Escape, Laff, Grit, and Bounce TV networks (the last one of which is owned by Bounce Media LLC, whose COO Jonathan Katz is president/CEO of Katz Broadcasting), bringing one or more of the four networks to 81 stations owned and/or operated by Nexstar, including KRBC-TV and KTAB-TV.
KRBC-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on May 12, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 9.
KRBC presently broadcasts 16½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 3 hours on weekdays, 1 hour on Saturdays and a half-hour on Sundays).
KRBC's news coverage primarily centers around Abilene and surrounding communities. The station does provide news coverage outside the greater Abilene area. Weather coverage includes all the above-mentioned counties, but forecasts do center primarily for the general area near Abilene.
On February 2, 2013, KRBC began broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition with a new set, logo, and graphics, becoming the second station to make the switch. In the fourth week of August 2016, the station began broadcasting its newscasts in high definition, becoming the third station in the market to make the upgrade.