KMGH-TV

KMGH-TV, virtual channel and VHF digital channel 7, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Denver, Colorado, United States. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, and is a sister station to Azteca América affiliate KZCO-LP (channel 27), whose digital signal also serves as a fill-in translator of KMGH. The two stations share studio facilities located on East Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (to the immediate north of the studios shared by KDVR (channel 31) and KWGN-TV (channel 2)); KMGH maintains transmitter facilities located atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 7, and in high definition on digital channel 652.

History

As a CBS affiliate

The station first signed on the air on November 1, 1953 as KLZ-TV.[1] It was founded by the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Publishing Company (operated by Edward K. Gaylord), which also owned KLZ radio (560 AM and 106.7 FM, now KBPI). KLZ-TV immediately took the CBS affiliation from KBTV (channel 9, now KUSA), owing to KLZ radio's longtime affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. In 1954, Gaylord sold the KLZ television and radio stations to Time-Life.[2] The station's original studio facilities were housed in a renovated former auto dealership on the east side of the block at East 6th Avenue and Sherman Street.

The taping of a religious public affairs program at the station in 1968.
During the 1950s, channel 7's staff included newscaster (later sports anchor and Dialing for Dollars host) Starr Yelland, who came to the station from KOA-TV (channel 4, now KCNC-TV); and Ed Scott, who hosted a children's program on the station as "Sheriff Scotty".[3] In 1956, KLZ-TV presented the first remote television broadcast from a courtroom after general manager Hugh Terry won a court battle to allow cameras into the courtroom. In 1957, the station's weekly public affairs series Panorama (which was written and hosted by Gene Amole), became the first locally produced program in the Denver market to earn a Peabody Award (channel 7 has since won three more Peabody Awards for the investigative reports "Honor and Betrayal: Scandal at the Air Force Academy" in 2003, reported by John Ferrugia and produced by Kurt Silver and current news director Jeff Harris,[4] 2008's "Failing the Children: Deadly Mistakes", reported by Ferrugia and produced by Tom Burke and Arthur Kane,[5] and 2012's "Investigating the Fire"[6]).

The station was the first in Denver to operate a news bureau in Washington, D.C., as well as the first Denver station to receive reports from its own radio and television correspondents in Europe and Asia. Channel 7 televised the first kidney transplant in the mid-1960s. Starting in 1968 and running through 1983, KLZ-TV aired one of the most popular children's programs in the Denver market, the Noell and Andy Show, which aired weekday mornings at 8:00 a.m. The program's coloring contest drew hundreds of entries each week.[3] Channel 7 moved to its present studio facilities, an eight-sided, five-story building called "The Communications Center," on the intersection of Speer Boulevard and Lincoln Street in 1969.

Time-Life sold the station to McGraw-Hill in late October 1970, in a group deal that also involved the company's other radio and television combinations in Indianapolis, San Diego and Grand Rapids, Michigan; and KERO-TV in Bakersfield, California.[7] In order to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's new restrictions on concentration of media ownership that went into effect shortly afterward, McGraw-Hill was required to sell the KLZ radio stations as well as their sister radio properties in Indianapolis San Diego and Grand Rapids to other companies. Time-Life would later purchase WOTV (now WOOD-TV) in Grand Rapids in the final deal. By the time the sale was finalized in June 1972, the purchase price for the entire group was just over $57 million. WFBM-TV (now WRTV) in Indianapolis, KERO-TV in Bakersfield and KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diego were retained by McGraw-Hill, along with KLZ-TV, which subsequently changed its call letters to KMGH-TV.[8] The 1990s did not begin well for KMGH; the station saw significant overall profit losses in 1990 and 1991, as well as a decrease in viewership for its local newscasts. A new management team introduced in 1991 turned things around at KMGH; net profit soared 105.5% in 1992 as a result.[9]

Switch to ABC

Although KMGH had been one of CBS's stronger affiliates, the station would end up disaffiliating from the network due to a series of events that were set in motion as a result of CBS' partnership with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in July 1994 (and the network's eventual merger with that company in August 1995).[10][11] As part of the deal, the network moved its programming from its owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia, WCAU-TV, to Westinghouse's KYW-TV. In a three-way trade, CBS traded WCAU to NBC in exchange for two of that network's O&Os (then longtime affiliates) – Denver's KCNC-TV (which had been an O&O since the station's then-owner General Electric purchased NBC in 1986) and Salt Lake City's KUTV (which the network had acquired less than one month earlier). CBS then formed a joint venture with Westinghouse that assumed ownership of KYW-TV, KCNC and KUTV, with Westinghouse serving as majority owner. Group W/CBS and NBC also swapped the transmitter facilities – and by association, channel frequencies – of their respective stations in Miami, WCIX (now WFOR-TV) and WTVJ.[12]

A shot of the KMGH studios, taken from East Speer Boulevard.
At the same time, McGraw-Hill had struck an affiliation agreement with ABC, due partly to the fact that its stations in San Diego and Indianapolis had already been aligned with the network (Bakersfield sister station KERO-TV was also involved in the deal between McGraw-Hill and ABC; however, that station had to wait for its affiliation contract with CBS to expire in March 1996, before it could finally switch to ABC). In keeping with all of this, each of the three major broadcast networks relocated their programming to different stations in the Denver market on September 10, 1995: at 1:00 a.m. that morning, ABC moved its programming to KMGH from KUSA, with KMGH's outgoing CBS affiliation going to KCNC and NBC moving from KCNC to KUSA.

In 1998, KMGH's debuted the current iteration of its "Circle 7" logo (the station had used several variations of the logo from 1981 to 1995), a stylized variant of the common design used by ABC stations in other markets that broadcast on channel 7, using a serif typeface for the "7"; a yellow version of the ABC circle logo was added on the bottom left quadrant almost one year later (in the style of the network's yellow-and-black on-air graphics of the time period, as well as the station's blue-and-yellow graphical appearance), eventually switching to the black-and-white variant of the logo by 2006.

On June 14, 2011, McGraw-Hill announced that it would exit from the broadcasting industry and put its entire television station group up for sale;[13] on October 3 of that year, the company announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell the eight-station broadcasting division to the E. W. Scripps Company.[14] The FCC approved the sale on November 29, 2011, and the deal was officially completed on December 30, 2011.[15] The deal marked a re-entry into the Denver market for Scripps; prior to its acquisition of KMGH, the company had owned the Rocky Mountain News from 1926 until the afternoon newspaper ceased publishing in 2009.

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