KAIL, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station located in Fresno, California, United States. KAIL maintains studio facilities located on Alluvial Avenue in Clovis, and its transmitter is located in Meadow Lakes rural northeastern Fresno County.
Prior history of UHF channel 53 in Fresno
The UHF channel 53 allocation in the Fresno market was originally licensed to KBID-TV, which operated for a few months in 1954. The station was owned by veteran broadcaster John Poole, the original owner of KBIC-TV in Los Angeles (whose channel 22 allocation is now occupied by MundoFox affiliate KWHY-TV). KBID ceased operations when the station was unable to acquire a network affiliation. At the time, CBS was the only U.S. broadcast network did not have an affiliate in Fresno. The network would eventually affiliate with KFRE-TV (channel 12, now ABC owned-and-operated station KFSN-TV on channel 30) when that station signed on in May 1956.
KAIL station history
The station first signed on the air on December 18, 1961, originally broadcasting on UHF channel 53; it was the first independent station to sign on in the Fresno market, beating eventual competitor KICU-TV (channel 43, channel allocation now occupied by KGMC) to the air by five days. The station holds the record for the longest continuous usage of the same call letters in the Fresno market, having used the KAIL callsign since its sign-on; it has held the record since 2000, when KJEO-TV (channel 47, which signed on under those call letters in September 1953) changed its calls to KGPE (several other stations have had the same call letters since their original licensing, but signed on after KAIL made its debut); it is also the only station in the market and one of the few commercial television stations in the United States that has had the same ownership throughout its history, and is the only Fresno station that is independently owned.
In its early years, KAIL produced a sizeable amount of its own programming; among them included the children's program Leebo the Clown. During the 1960s, KAIL ran a mix of religious and public affairs programs, a few older syndicated programs, some cartoons, classic movies and some sports events. The station originally broadcast for about eight hours a day.
During the 1970s, KAIL ran older cartoons, drama series, several hours a day of religious programs, and specialty programming. As new syndicated cartoons became abundant during the mid-1980s, the station added more of these programs to its schedule. Channel 53 also continued to lean toward carrying barter syndicated programs. The station's ratings continued to be rather modest throughout the 1980s.
On January 16, 1995, KAIL became a charter affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN); the station maintained a schedule resembling an independent during its first three years with the network as UPN would not carry a week's worth of programming until 1999 (even at that point, the network had no weekend primetime programming). During the 1990s, KAIL added stronger programs to its schedule, including recent off-network sitcoms, talk, reality and court shows. The station began gradually phasing out cartoons from its schedule around 2000 and dropped them from the weekday lineup altogether in August 2003, when UPN discontinued its children's program block, Disney's One Too.
On February 22, 2006, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. MyNetworkTV was created to compete against another upstart network that would launch at the same time that September, The CW (an amalgamated network that originally consisted primarily of UPN and The WB's higher-rated programs) as well as to give UPN and WB stations that were not mentioned as becoming CW affiliates another option besides converting to independent stations. KFRE-TV (channel 59, no relation to what is now KFSN-TV) took the CW affiliation; KAIL, meanwhile, signed an affiliation agreement to become MyNetworkTV's Fresno affiliate. The station became a charter affiliate of the network when it launched on September 5, 2006.
In 2008, the station acquired the broadcast rights to Fresno State Bulldogs collegiate sporting events, assuming the rights from CW affiliate KFRE-TV (channel 59). On April 15, 2014, KAIL's longtime owners Trans-America Broadcasting changed its name to Tel-America North Corporation, as part of a restructuring of the company's operations, which coincided with the sale of its sole radio outlet KTYM in Los Angeles to El Sembrador Ministries; as a result, KAIL until then was Tel-America's sole media property. On April 6, 2015, Tel-America agreed to sell KAIL to Aperio Communications for $3 million.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||720p||16:9||KAIL 7||Main KAIL programming / MyNetworkTV|
|7.3||Heroes & Icons|
On April 1, 2008, KAIL began carrying classic television service, the Retro Television Network, on digital subchannel 7.2. The subchannel eventually assumed local broadcast rights to San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball games, which moved to the station from KFRE-TV. On January 14, 2013, KAIL ended its run as an affiliate of RTV, switching its 7.2 subchannel over to the similarly-styled Cozi TV.
In February 2010, KAIL became the first television station in the Fresno market to begin offering Mobile DTV broadcasts, simulcasting the station's main channel and digital subchannel 7.2.
KAIL-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 53, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal allocated VHF channel 7 during pre-transition and they opted to remain on that channel as they could not return to channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers also display the station's virtual channel as channel 7 instead of its former analog-era UHF channel 53; KAIL has a waiver from the FCC to do so.
San Francisco Giants games air on its second subchannel.
On July 31, 2006, NBC affiliate KSEE (channel 24) began producing a half-hour primetime newscast that air Monday through Fridays at 10:00 p.m. through a news share agreement; the program was discontinued on September 11, 2009, having been canceled due to low ratings.
The station would not air local news programming again until January 7, 2013, when ABC owned-and-operated station KFSN-TV began to produce another weeknight-only 10:00 p.m. newscast for KAIL. Titled ABC 30 Action News Live at 10:00, the program competed with the longer established in-house 10:00 p.m. newscast on Fox affiliate KMPH-TV (channel 26), which comparatively runs for one hour and airs seven nights a week. With the news share agreement with KAIL, KFSN became the fourth ABC-owned station to produce a newscast for an unrelated station in the same market (WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia produce 10 p.m. newscasts for CW affiliate WLFL and MyNetworkTV affiliate WPHL-TV in the respective markets, while KGO-TV in San Francisco produces a 9:00 p.m. newscast for independent station KOFY-TV; they have since been joined by KABC-TV in Los Angeles, which produces both a 7:00 & 7:30p.m. newscast for independent station KDOC-TV). KFSN ended the 10 p.m. newscast in July 2014.
Though it no longer carries a newscast, KAIL produces the public affairs program The Valley Today, which airs Saturday mornings; in November 2013, episodes of The Valley Today became available for streaming online at .