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Austin, Texas
United States
Branding Fox 7 (general)
Fox 7 News Edge (newscasts)
Slogan Just you watch (primary general)
We are Fox 7 (secondary general)
Giving you the Edge (news)
Channels Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
Subchannels 7.1 Fox
7.2 Movies!
Affiliations Fox (O&O)
Owner Fox Television Stations
(NW Communications of Austin, Inc.)
First air date November 27, 1952 (1952-11-27)
Call letters' meaning Texas Broadcasting Company
Former channel number(s) Analog:
7 (VHF, 1952–2009)
56 (UHF, 1997–2009)
Former affiliations CBS (1952–1995)
DuMont (secondary, 1952–1956)
NBC (secondary, 1952–1966)
ABC (secondary, 1952–1971)
Transmitter power 98.6 kW
Height 383 m (1,257 ft)
Facility ID 35649
Transmitter coordinates
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website .com.myfoxaustinwww

KTBC, channel 7, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station located in Austin, Texas, United States. KTBC maintains studios near the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin, and its transmitter is based at the West Austin Antenna Farm on Mount Larson.

The station began in 1952 as the first station in Austin. The station carried programming from the major networks, with a large portion coming from CBS. In 1995, it became part of the Fox network.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • As a Fox station 1.2
  • KVC 13 2
  • Digital television 3
    • Digital channels 3.1
    • Analog-to-digital conversion 3.2
  • Programming 4
    • Children's programming 4.1
  • News operation 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


KTBC-TV studios, on East Tenth Street in downtown Austin, circa 1980.
KTBC studios, circa 2008.

Early history

KTBC-TV signed on the air on November 27, 1952, becoming the first television station in Austin and Central Texas. It was originally owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company (from whom the call letters are taken), which was in turn owned by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson and his wife Lady Bird, alongside KTBC radio (590 AM and 93.7 FM). It carried all four major networks at the time: ABC, CBS, NBC and the now-defunct DuMont Television Network. KTBC-TV was primarily a CBS affiliate until 1995, with roughly 65% of its programming being carried by the station in its early history; NBC and ABC roughly split the remaining coverage in half.[1]

In 1960, the staff of channel 7 produced a film for the Texas Department of Public Safety, entitled Target Austin. The 20-minute film presents the scenario of a nuclear missile strike on the outskirts of Austin and follows the storylines of several characters from the CONELRAD broadcast to the announcement that it is safe to emerge from shelter. The film takes place in Austin, highlighting several iconic locations in the city, and featured an Austin-based cast and crew: including director Gordon Wilkison (of KTBC), narrator Cactus Pryor (also of KTBC), actress Coleen Hardin, and El Rancho restaurant owner Matt Martinez.[2]

KTBC-TV was the only commercial television station in the Austin market until KHFI-TV (channel 42, now KXAN-TV on channel 36) signed on in February 1965. NBC programming continued to be broadcast solely on KTBC-TV for the next 18 months due to contractual obligations. Channel 7 became an exclusive CBS affiliate when all of ABC's programming moved to KVUE (channel 24) when that station first signed on in September 1971.

After Lyndon Johnson became President following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the networks established direct feed lines between KTBC and the various network affiliates in New York, Dallas and Chicago. This facilitated news report relayed while the President was residing either in Austin or at his ranch in Johnson City. The Johnsons maintained a penthouse apartment on the fifth floor of the station, which was wired for camera and sound equipment, and used on occasion for local programming on occasions when the Johnsons were away.

This multi-network capability was first demonstrated live on August 1, 1966, following the UT Tower sniper incident. After Charles Whitman's sniper rampage had been stopped, the primary newsman on the scene, Neal Spelce, presented a wrap-up of the event that was carried on all three networks live later that evening. Although the connections were later replaced by satellite uplink technology, the lines were maintained for contingency usage for several years.

The Johnsons sold KTBC-TV to the Times Mirror Company in 1973, making it a sister station to KDFW-TV in Dallas. The Johnsons kept the KTBC radio properties, and under then-FCC guidelines changed the stations' call letters to KLBJ-AM-FM. In 1994, Times Mirror sold KTBC-TV to Argyle Television.[3]

As a Fox station

In December 1993, Fox outbid CBS to obtain the broadcast rights to football games from the National Football Conference of the NFL.[4][5] In 1994, New World Communications signed a long-term affiliation deal with Fox, which was establishing itself as a major network and was looking for more VHF stations. In late 1994, most New World-owned stations (except for two) dropped their longtime "Big Three" affiliations and switched to Fox.[6][7] On January 19, 1995, New World took over operations of the Argyle stations through time brokerage agreements. Nearly three months later, New World completed its merger with Argyle.

On July 1, 1995, KTBC ended its 43-year affiliation with CBS and became a Fox affiliate; the CBS affiliation went to former Fox station KBVO (channel 42), which changed its call letters to KEYE-TV. As the new Fox affiliate, channel 7 was able to continue as Austin's unofficial "home" of the Dallas Cowboys, because of Fox's rights to the NFC. KTBC had carried most Cowboys games since the team's inception in 1960 by virtue of CBS winning television rights to the NFL in 1956. For many years, it also carried Cowboys preseason games, though those telecasts moved to KEYE in 2006. In its early years as a Fox station, KTBC filled its daytime lineup with talk shows and the nighttime schedule with off-network sitcoms.

The station came under ownership of Fox when New World merged with Fox Television Stations in 1996;[8] this made KTBC the first owned-and-operated network station in the Austin market (KEYE was subsequently purchased by CBS in 2000, KTBC became the only English-language network O&O in the market after CBS sold KEYE to Four Points Media Group in 2007). In the spring of 1997, a rumor that KTBC and Phoenix's KSAZ-TV would be traded to the Belo Corporation in exchange for Seattle's KIRO-TV circulated,[9] but this deal never came to fruition. Belo would acquire rival KVUE and Phoenix's KTVK two years later. In recent years, the station's daytime lineup has leaned away from talk shows in favor of running mostly court shows.

KVC 13

K13VC (branded as "KVC 13") was a low-powered station that had broadcast on VHF channel 13, and was co-owned alongside KTBC. The station signed on the air on July 1, 1995 (concurrent with KTBC's switch to Fox), as an independent station. K13VC maintained a general entertainment format featuring sitcoms, drama series and cartoons, along with several programs that also aired on KTBC. When KTBC joined Fox, it declined the Fox Kids weekday block, although both channel 7 and KVC had simulcast Fox Kids' Saturday morning lineup (KTBC would later drop the block in 1997); KVC continued to air the weekday children's block until Fox discontinued it in 2002, leaving only the Saturday lineup.

In 1998, KVC became a UPN affiliate, inherting the affiliation from the Hill Country Paramount Network operated by LIN TV. When KVC became a UPN affiliate, it also picked up the UPN Kids lineup, which later rebranded as Disney's One Too. The station continued to air UPN programming until August 3, 2000, when Fredericksburg's KBEJ (now KCWX) signed on the air on channel 2. At that time, KVC reverted to independent status, showing syndicated programming, as well as University of Texas and other college sporting events.

K13VC was forced off the air on March 29, 2003,[10] in order to make room for the digital signal of Killeen-based Univision station KAKW-TV.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[11]
7.1 720p 16:9 KTBC HD Main KTBC programming / Fox
7.2 480i Movies! Movies!

Analog-to-digital conversion

KTBC shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009, as part of the FCC-mandated transition to digital television for full-power stations.[12] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 7 for post-transition operations.


Syndicated programming includes My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Big Bang Theory, TMZ on TV, Judge Judy, The Wendy Williams Show and The Dr. Oz Show. Like most New World-owned stations that ended up being acquired by Fox, the station declined to carry Fox Kids programming when it became affiliated with the network, which instead aired on KVC. In January 2009, following a dispute with 4Kids Entertainment over compensation and station clearances, Fox replaced the 4KidsTV children's block with the infomercial lineup Weekend Marketplace; KTBC has since picked up that block, and as a result, the station now clears the entire Fox network schedule.

Children's programming

During the station's first two decades on the air, KTBC ran the long-running Uncle Jay Show. Starting in 1953, host Jay Hodgson hosted a weekday afternoon with the assistance of the Packer Jack Wallace, and both were later joined by Francis "Piper" Dyer in 1961 as the show's organist. The show also featured a studio audience made up of local children, ranging from 30 to 50 in number depending on the set design at the time.

The Uncle Jay Show featured cartoons, including many of the pre-August 1948 Warner Bros. cartoons that were distributed by Associated Artists Productions ; in 1965, the program also ran the King Features Syndicate series of cartoon shorts featuring Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith and Krazy Kat. It expanded to an hour-long broadcast in 1967 to facilitate the airing of Supercar, which had just entered into U.S. syndication. Both Hodgson and Wallace performed comedy skits and jokes, as well as presenting some educational material including guest appearances by local naturalists, botanists, movie stars and sports figures. Children in the audience were called on to participate in games, and received prizes for successful participation. Among the show's primary sponsors whose products were promoted live on-air by either Hodgson or Wallace, were the Villa Capri restaurant, local shoe emporium Kara-Vel Shoes, Mrs. Johnson's Bakery, and Superior Dairies products.

Hodgson, who was KTBC's on-air announcer from the station's sign-on, was with the show throughout its run. Wallace, a local radio personality who appeared with Richard "Cactus" Pryor as part of the Cac and Jack Morning Show on KTBC-AM during the 1960s and 1970s, co-hosted the show with Hodgson until Wallace's death from cardiopulminary failure in late 1973, while Dyer left the show the following year to pursue other interests. In the fall of 1975, ratings for Uncle Jay began to sharply decline, and the show was moved from weekly afternoons to a Saturday morning time slot. Cartoons were dropped from the program to concentrate more on local educational and informational issues that would be of interest to children. The "live" element of the program was also dropped; while groups of children were still part of the show, episodes were taped during the week to be broadcast that Saturday. Hodgson continued to host solo until the program's cancellation in the fall of 1977.

Hodgson (who died in May 2007) continued to work for KTBC as a public affairs journalist after Uncle Jay was canceled, appearing in such shows as The Eyes of Central Texas, and This Is Central Texas. The latter was his final program, and ended its run after Hodgson himself retired in 1991. The final episode was an hour-long tribute to the longtime host, with testimonials by many of Austin's media personalities, including former KTBC and then-current KVUE-TV news anchor Dick Ellis, who had barely made it to the show on time and appeared dressed in hunting gear, having only heard about it a few hours earlier while on a dove hunting trip.

News operation

KTBC presently broadcasts 49½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 8½ hours on weekdays, and 3½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the largest local newscast output among broadcast television stations in the Austin market.

For many years, KTBC was the dominant news station in Austin, often beating KXAN and KVUE by a wide margin. The network swap began a steady ratings decline for the station, and by the late 1990s, KTBC had lost its lead. By the turn of the century, it had fallen to fourth in most timeslots behind KXAN, KVUE and KEYE. However, channel 7 has rebounded in recent years; in the November 2010 Nielsen ratings period, the station was #1 at 4:30, 5 and 6 a.m. in the key demographic of adults 25-54.

When KTBC became a Fox affiliate in July 1995, the station expanded its local news programming; on the outset, it retained a newscast schedule that is very similar to a CBS-, ABC-, or NBC-affiliated station, though the station added an additional two hours of news on weekday mornings. The weeknight 6 p.m. newscast continued until 2000, when it was discontinued in favor of an expansion of the 5 p.m. newscast to one hour (however, the station continues to carry a 6 p.m. newscast on Saturday evenings); as a result, KTBC is one of four Fox owned-and-operated stations (and the only ex-New World station that switched to Fox) that has a newscast at 5 p.m., but does not have one at 6 p.m. (along with Memphis's WHBQ-TV, Houston's KRIV and Minneapolis's KMSP-TV). Even after KTBC joined Fox, it continued its 10 p.m. newscast; unusual for stations aligned with the network, KTBC filled the 9 p.m. hour with syndicated programming. This changed in 2000 when the station moved its late evening newscast to 9 p.m. – becoming the first primetime newscast in Austin.

KTBC's newscasts have been branded as Fox 7 News Edge since 2006. The station went through a graphical overhaul on April 17, 2008, becoming the last Fox O&O to introduce the standardized package that was influenced by Fox News Channel's on-air graphics. On July 1, 2009, KTBC became the fourth and last English-language television station in the Austin market (behind KEYE, KVUE and KXAN) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. In June 2010, the station's weekday morning newscast, Good Day Austin, was extended by one hour to run from 5-10 a.m. This was followed in November 2010, with the expansion of the newscast to the 4:30 a.m. timeslot, becoming the first station in the Austin market to start their morning news program at 4:30, extending the newscast to 5½ hours. On September 7, 2013, KTBC debuted weekend editions of Good Day Austin airing from 6:00-8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.[13]


  1. ^ "To Market, To Market, in Austin Texas". Texas Archive of the Moving Image. c. 1969. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Target Austin". Texas Archive of the Moving Image. 1960. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  3. ^ The Media Business; Times Mirror in Talks to Sell TV Stations, The New York Times, March 25, 1993. Retrieved 2-12-2011.
  4. ^ CBS, NBC Battle for AFC Rights // Fox Steals NFC Package, Chicago Sun-Times (via HighBeam Research), December 18, 1993.
  5. ^ "NBC Gets Final N.F.L. Contract While CBS Gets Its Sundays Off".  
  6. ^ "Fox Gains 12 Stations in New World Deal".  
  7. ^ Fox Network Takes 12 Stations from Big Three, The Buffalo News (via HighBeam Research), May 24, 1994.
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 18, 1996). "New World Vision : Murdoch's News Corp. to Buy Broadcast Group".  
  9. ^ Taylor, Chuck (5 February 1997). "Three-Network Switch Possible For Seattle TV".  
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KTBC
  12. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  13. ^ KTBC Names Greyson Weekend A.M. Anchor TVNewsCheck, August 29, 2013.

External links

  • Official website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for KTBC
  • Query TV Fool's coverage map for KTBC
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KTBC-TV
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