TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: 'K' v. 'W' Television Station Callsigns

Re: 'K' v. 'W' Television Station Callsigns

Mark Roberts (
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 04:06:02 -0000

Robert Bonomi <> had written:

> Yes, a public-university-owned =commercial= broadcast station is
> _unusual_. As a network affiliate of a commercial network (the *only*
> kind of 'network' TV in those days :), it was _very_ unusual, possibly
> even =unique=.

It's not unique. KOMU-TV was and is still owned by the University of
Missouri, and is the NBC affiliate for Columbia and Jefferson City.
From 1953 until 1956, it was the only station in the area and carried
all three networks. From 1956 until 1971, it was also the secondary
ABC affiliate for the market.

Its newsroom is staffed by School of Journalism instructors and
students, who report and produce the station's newscasts.

It had a jam-packed schedule, with the late afternoon "downtime" from
the network being filled with ABC programming. Likewise, the "Tonight
Show" was joined in progress at 11 pm for many, many years in order to
fit an ABC program in at 10:30 pm.

It also had the dubious distinction of being the last NBC affiliate to
go full-color, in 1973. (Network programs and films were in color from
the early 1960s but KOMU's studio cameras were monochrome until 1973.)

The station originally proposed a 50% commercial and 50% noncommercial
schedule to the FCC. The FCC said, "either one or the other". The
University felt it could not financially support a non-commercial
station and chose the commercial option.

> Looks like memory has played me false on this one. Further checking
> shows it has always belonged to Loyola University, in New Orleans.
> (I'm going to have to do some more digging on this -- I'm _sure_ that
> WWL was in the Cedar Rapids/Waterloo metro area in the 50's-70's. "I
> may be wrong, but I'm not uncertain" applies :)

It was always KWWL. There was a big fight between KXEL and a local
entrepreneur over the channel 7 allocation. The entrepreneur won.
Jeff Stein's history of Iowa broadcasting has the complete

Mark Roberts | "You'll know gas prices are hurting when you see headlines
Oakland, Cal.| about plunging sales of sport utility vehicles."
NO HTML MAIL | -- Floyd Norris, New York Times, October 23, 2004

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