KATU, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 43), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Portland, Oregon, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, as part of a duopoly with Univision affiliate KUNP (channel 16). The two stations share studios and offices located on NE Sandy Boulevard in northeastern Portland, KATU's transmitter is located in the Sylvan-Highlands section of the city.
A construction permit for channel 2, Portland's last available channel allocation on the VHF band, was issued to Fisher's Blend Station, Inc., (later known as Fisher Communications) as early as 1958. Notwithstanding KATU didn't begin broadcasting until March 15, 1962, originally operating as an independent station. The station's transmitter was originally located atop Livingston Mountain, about 7 miles (11 km) NNE of Camas, Washington.
On January 19, 1964, KATU moved its transmitter site 21 miles (34 km), to Portland's West Hills to improve its signal coverage. Just over a month later, it took over the ABC affiliation in Portland away from KPTV (channel 12) on March 1, 1964. This made KATU the fourth television station in the Portland market in less than a decade to have affiliated with ABC full-time (after KLOR, KGW – channel 8, and KPTV). It is additionally Portland's longest-lasting ABC affiliate to date. KATU is the only one of the first five television stations in Portland to have operated out of the same studio (at 2153 N.E. Sandy Boulevard) after it went on the air, although the building had earlier been used as a laundry for a large number of years.
In 2002, KATU-TV celebrated its fortieth anniversary. To mark the occasion, it updated its on-air graphics, and introduced a new news set; the station additionally aired storeys from past newscasts. From December 2008 to June 11, 2009, KATU (and the additional Fisher-owned stations) weren't carried by Dish Network due to a dispute over retransmission consent compensation.
On April 10, 2013, KATU and Fisher Communications' additional holdings were acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The Federal Communications Commission granted its approval of the deal on August 7, and the sale was completed the following day.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||720p||16:9||KATU-HD||Main KATU programming / ABC|
On June 25, 2012, KATU switched its second digital subchannel from This TV
On January 15, 2016, KATU switched its third digital subchannel from GetTV.
On July 17, 2008 at 6:15 p.m., KATU conducted a test for viewers to determine whether their television sets were ready for the digital television transition by turning off its analogue signal for 10 seconds, which the station conducted additional times through the spring of 2009.
KATU shut down its analogue signal, over VHF channel 2, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analogue channel 2. During the last segment of the station's 11 p.m. newscast, anchor Steve Dunn reported from KATU's master control facility giving last-minute information on the digital television transition before the switch occurred.
KATU presently broadcasts 33½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). During the November 2006 and February 2007 sweeps periods, KATU finished in third place overall in the local newscast ratings, behind KGW and KPTV. In 2006, KATU won two Edward R. Murrow Awards, including an investigative piece reported by Anna Song on a newborn baby that was left severely brain damaged by OHSU hospital. Song additionally won dual first place (2006) Associated Press Awards in Best Writing, and Best Investigative Reporting.
On October 11, 2007, KATU became the third television station in Portland to start broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition. In April 2008, KATU introduced a revamped set that expanded to the entire studio that was designed specifically for high definition broadcasts in 2009. Previously, the studio was divided in half, with one side the news set and the additional the AM Northwest set. The new set was one of the most expensive projects in KATU history.
KATU started testing high definition newscasts on August 8, 2009. The full rollout premiered throughout their 4 p.m. newscast on August 17, 2009, making it the second station in the Portland market to start broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
Notable current on-air staff
- Anna Canzano – weekend mornings and weekend evenings; additionally investigative reporter
- Brian Wood – weekdays anchor
Notable former on-air staff
- Jack Faust – hosted the weekly public affairs show Town Hall for 13 years (1980–1993).
- Jeff Gianola – morning anchor/meteorologist, then evening news anchor (1983–1998). Currently evening news anchor at KOIN 6.
- Rob Marciano – meteorologist for KATU from 1997 to 2003, leaving to join CNN (and now with ABC).
- Cathy Marshall – reporter/anchor (previously worked for CNN and has worked at several additional television stations, including Portland's KGW)
- Tom McCall - former Governor of Oregon, served as an editorial commentator in the late 1970s.
- Bill O'Reilly – anchor/reporter (October 15, 1984 – July 19, 1985; left to join ABC News, was one of the original anchors of Inside Edition and now hosts Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor)
- Tom Rinaldi - (now lead reporter for ESPN and contributor to ESPN College Football)
- Roger Twibell - Sports reporter(1973-75), now Sportscaster for CBS Sports Network.
KATU's signal is rebroadcast on the following translator stations:
- Exploding whale - KATU's claim to fame as the station that aired footages of the Oregon Highway Division's attempt to dispose of a dead whale. Longtime KATU Anchor (and current KEX Morning Host) Paul Linnman is the face of the report.
- Bumpity - A local children programme produced by KATU from 1971-1985.