KSPR, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 19), is an ABC-affiliated television station that is licensed to Springfield, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Schurz Communications. Gray Television, which owns NBC affiliate KYTV (channel 3), operates KSPR under a shared services agreement. Both stations share studio facilities located on West Sunshine Street in Springfield, while KSPR itself maintains some transmitter facilities located on Switchgrass Road, north of Fordland.
The station first signed on the air on March 9, 1983; it was the first independent station in the Springfield market. KSPR was founded by Springfield TV Association Ltd. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on South Glenstone Avenue in eastern Springfield. The following year, it sold channel 33 to the broadcasting unit of television production company Telepictures (later renamed Lorimar-Telepictures); the sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on December 12, 1984. The following February, Telepictures pursued an affiliation with ABC. On April 3, 1986, ABC decided to terminate its affiliation with KDEB-TV (channel 27, now MyNetworkTV affiliate KOZL-TV) and the network subsequently moved to KSPR. It was at this time KSPR moved to the Saint Louis Street facility.
Over the next several years, KSPR underwent several ownership changes. Lorimar-Telepictures sold the station to Goltrin Communications in 1987; the sale was approved by the FCC on February 12, 1988. Goltrin subsequently sold KSPR to Davis Goldfarb Communications several months later, with the sale being finalized on December 1, 1988. Cottonwood Communications acquired the station on March 29, 1995. Two years later, KSPR was sold to GOCOM Communications; which assumed ownership of the station on September 18, 1997. The station changed its branding to "ABC 33" around this time, before adopting the "Springfield 33" brand in 1998. GOCOM then merged with Grapevine Communications to form GOCOM Holdings LLC, which was later renamed Piedmont Television Holdings, on November 1, 1999.
On September 21, 2006, Piedmont Television announced that it would sell KSPR to Perkin Media, LLC. Under the agreement, South Bend, Indiana-based Schurz Communications, owners of NBC affiliate KYTV (channel 3), would take over KSPR's operations under a shared services agreement; the FCC approved the sale on August 18, 2007 and the purchase was finalized on August 28, 2007. Two weeks later on September 9, the station changed its on-air branding to "KSPR ABC"; a gray and black "33" was added to the logo first introduced with the rebrand in November 2009. On November 1, 2009, KSPR relocated its operations from its longtime studios on East Saint Louis Street into KYTV's facility on West Sunshine Street in an expanded wing of the building.
Schurz announced on September 14, 2015 that it would exit broadcasting and sell its television and radio stations, including KYTV, K15CZ-D (channel 15), and the SSA with KSPR, to Gray Television for $442.5 million. Schurz subsequently agreed to exercise its option to purchase KSPR on December 15, 2015; the transfer, which is contingent on the completion of the sale of KYTV to Gray, will result in the termination of KSPR's joint sales agreement with KYTV, and calls for the KSPR license to be entered into the FCC's broadcast incentive auction. The FCC approved the sale on February 12, 2016. The sale was completed on February 16, 2016.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|33.1||720p||16:9||KSPR-DT||Main KSPR programming / ABC|
KSPR discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 33, on February 17, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television (which Congress had moved the previous month to June 12). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19, using PSIP to display KSPR's virtual channel as 33 on digital television receivers.
KSPR broadcasts the entire ABC network schedule, with all programs airing in pattern. Syndicated programs broadcast by KSPR include Jeopardy! (opposite Wheel of Fortune on KYTV), Family Feud, The Big Bang Theory, The Dr. Oz Show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Live! with Kelly and Michael.
Locally produced programming
On April 21, 1989, KSPR debuted The Late Night Horror Show with Count Norlock, a showcase of syndicated horror films that featured locally produced wraparound introductory and interstitial segments. Segments were hosted by local actor Jim Kellett in the role of "Count Norlock", a vampire reminiscent of Count Orlok from the 1922 F. W. Murnau film Nosferatu. Featuring films such as Magic and The Brides of Dracula, The Late Night Horror Show with Count Norlock only lasted one season, being cancelled later that year.
From 1985 to 1990, KSPR produced the local afternoon children's program Sammy's Place, which was hosted by actor Wayne Milnes in the role of hobo clown "Sammy B. Good". The program featured cartoons such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, Voltron, Transformers and G.I. Joe. Between the programs, Sammy featured area children as in-studio guests and entertained with a number of clown acts and skits; he famously excited the in-studio kids with screams of "Everybody go 'yeaaaa'!," which would be echoed in unison.
KSPR presently broadcasts 24½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). Unlike most ABC affiliates, the station does not air a local newscast in the 5:00 p.m. timeslot on weekdays (syndicated programming fills the half-hour between its 4:00 p.m. newscast and ABC World News). KSPR launched its news department in 1983; when the station assumed the market's ABC affiliation in 1986, the station expanded its news programming to include newscasts at 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 p.m. seven nights a week.
On November 1, 2009, when KSPR moved its operations into a renovated portion of KYTV's studio facility, channel 33 became the second television station in the Springfield market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; the newscasts are produced out of a secondary set at the Sunshine Street facility. The two stations maintain separate news departments; however, both KSPR and KYTV occasionally share footage for certain news stories.