KHSL-TV Channel 12 is a CBS affiliate television station based in Chico, California. Its transmitter is located in Cohasset, California. The station is owned and operated by Catamount Broadcasting of Norwalk, Connecticut, which also operates KNVN channel 24, a NBC affiliate owned by Evans Broadcasting. That transmitter is located in Red Bluff, California, shifting the news and advertising focus to Redding. As a duopoly, both stations telecast Action News and Action News Weekend Report. The station's Redding offices are located in the Mt. Shasta Mall.
For many years, KHSL-TV has been a dominant television station in the Central Valley north of Sacramento. News presenters have referred to the viewing area on air as the "North State." Until recently, the San Francisco Chronicle included KHSL-TV in its television listings. Under certain weather conditions, KHSL's old analog signal could occasionally be received as far south as the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. For many years, KHSL-TV provided a signal to a large network of translators, but due to satellite and cable TV, only the station translators are still in operation.
KHSL-TV's on-air staff over the years has included television host and producer Moriss Taylor, actor Richard Kiel, voiceover announcer and vocalist Ron Palmer, news reporter Rick Rigsby, news anchors Dean Reeter (the former anchor at Channel 7R in Redding), Bill Windsor, Larry Stuelpnagel, Bill Ihle (later with KFBK Radio, Sacramento) and Angela Astore (later with KSTP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul and CNN Headline News), meteorologist Anthony Watts and sports directors Ray Narbaitz, Dennis Lehnen and Royal Courtain. Former California state assemblyman Stan Statham also anchored news at KHSL-TV and is currently the president of the California Broadcasters Association.
KHSL-TV signed on in 1953, owned by the McClung family's Golden Empire Broadcasting Company along with KHSL-AM 1290. The call letters are in honor of Harry Smithson and Sidney Lewis, who founded KHSL-AM in 1935 and sold it to the McClungs a year later. Ruth "Mickey" McClung was one of the first women to own a television station.
The McClungs owned the station until 1994, when they sold it to United Communications Corporation. On September 14, 1998, KHSL-TV was purchased by Catamount Broadcasting. It had long been the dominant station until the merger with KNVN, when KRCR became #1 in the ratings.
From its infancy, KHSL-TV was an affiliate of CBS. When KRCR-TV entered the Chico-Redding market as the NBC affiliate, the two stations occasionally cherry-picked ABC programming since no third commercial station yet existed. In the mid-1970s, KRCR-TV switched to ABC. KHSL-TV then picked up some NBC programming - notably The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - but was forced to air it using an air feed from KRON-TV in San Francisco, necessitating awkward masking of KRONs visual IDs and local commercials. Finally, when KCPM (now KNVN) launched and took the NBC affiliation, the sharing of a third network was no longer necessary in the Chico-Redding market. However, there may have been at least one attempt back in the mid-1960s to bring a third commercial station to the area that would have been an ABC affiliate, but it never materialized and even KCPM did not come without challenges and financial troubles of its own.
Newscast & Other Local Programming History
One of the station's first newscasts was "Valley Headline News," which in 1959 was broadcast on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday's at 7:00 p.m. W.E. Thomas was the news director.
From 1956 to 1960, KHSL-TV aired a half-hour program on Sunday evenings called "There Is A Telling" about the folklore and history of northern California. Chico State College produced the program with the aid of students. It is perhaps best remembered for its ballad theme song performed by Tom Lee.
From 1953 to 1995, KHSL aired the legendary half-hour music program, The Moriss Taylor Show, hosted by Moriss Taylor and featured several musicians such as Charlie Robinson, Yvonne Haygood, Bill Teague, Mark Alstad and Rosie Mello, just to name a few. Reruns aired until 1997, two years after Catamount Broadcasting purchased KHSL-TV. The show now airs on MyTV Northern California on Saturday mornings beginning at 10am.
From the 1970's to the late 2000's, the station produced a local public affairs program called Agenda 12 (later known as just Agenda) which featured various hosts.
During the 1990's, news anchor Bruce Lang hosted a half-hour news and information program called Sunday Evening, which is similar to CBS Sunday Morning. The program aired after the CBS Evening News Sunday and before 60 Minutes.
Your Show Live was a locally-produced interview program that aired from 2002 to 2004 as a taped rebroadcast of its live program on KNVN.
Merger with KNVN
On August 10, 1998 when KCPM changed its callsign to KNVN, Grapevine Communications sold the station because the station was extremely high in debt and overdue for bankruptcy. To avoid possibly putting KNVN off the air, the nearly bankrupt station signed a shared services agreement with KHSL, eventually leading to the creative yet controversial consolidation of the news departments. The ratings of the newscasts have always lagged far behind KHSL and KRCR, and the takeover resulted in the newscast ratings very slightly going up, while KHSL's ratings slightly declined and then the ratings of both stations plummeted once the newscasts were merged. Today's newscasts have slightly increased ratings with six newscasts per weekday and two per day on the weekends, but both KHSL and KNVN still lag behind KRCR-TV and to a lesser extent, KCVU in overall ratings, placing 4th and 3rd, respectively, since most locations in the southern portion of the viewing area can also receive many of the larger stations from Sacramento, including KCRA or KOVR, of which both are also available on Comcast Cable.
In February 2000, it merged its news department with that of KHSL because the failing new KNVN was at risk of having all of its newscasts dropped because of low viewership, but it still wanted to have some form of local news on. It didn't want to go back to using Sacramento news because it still wanted a complete form of local news, so it merged with KHSL to form Northern California News, or more commonly known as NCN in December 2001. It dropped NCN in 2005 in favor of "The (hour) News" brand. It finally came up with a more permanent name in September 2006 called "Action News".
Starting in September 2006, its DT2 subcarrier added programming from The CW Television Network. This coincided with the company's acquisition of KIWB from Bluestone Television in July 2006. It has its own 10:00 newscast titled CW Action News at Ten. It broadcasts on cable channel 10 on both Comcast and Charter systems. It is also available on Dish Network channel 43 and on DirecTV channel 10. It gets most of its programming from The CW Plus, but airs Maury at noon and Dr. Phil at 1pm.
KHSL features half-hour long newscasts at noon and 6pm 5 days a week with 2-minute news updates at the top of the hour throughout the day, it also simulcasts its nightly 11pm news on KNVN. It also produces an hour-long 5pm newscast for KNVN, a half-hour 10pm newscast for the CW 10, a morning show weekdays at 5:30 am, and a weekend newscast at 6:30 pm. In addition to the 11pm news, the weekday morning and weekday evening newscasts are simulcast on KNVN.
Newscope 12 (1970s)
The Big News (1970s)
News 12 (1980s)
Channel 12 News (1985 2003)
Northern California News (2003 2005)
KHSL News (2005-2006)
CBS 12/NBC 24 News (Briefly in 2006)
Action News (2006 present)
The Northstate's Finest (1990s?-2001)
#1 in Northern California (2001 2005)
Where Local News Comes First (2005 2006)
Live, Local, Latebreaking (2006 2010)
More News, More Often (2011-present)
Current on-air staff
Kris Kuyper - 5, 6, 10 and 11p.m. weekdays and evenings (AMS/NWA)
Rob Blair - 5:30-7a.m. mornings & noon
Cort Klopping - 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. weekends (also a news reporter)
Former anchors & reporters
Louisa Hodge (NCN "Wake Up!" host (2003 2005, now at KRON in San Francisco, CA)
Dana Howard (Reporter, now at KXTV 10 in Sacramento, CA)
Maureen Naylor (NCN news anchor) (2001 2005, Now at KTVU in Oakland, CA)
Stan Statham (news anchor) (1960s-1970s, former California state assemblyman, now president of the California Broadcasters Association)
Anthony Watts (chief meteorologist) (1987 2002, 2004, now at KPAY radio in Chico and current member for Chico Unified School District board)
Royal Courtain (sports anchor) (1970's-1998, then KRCR-TV, now with Charter Media)
Rick Rigsby (news reporter) (1970's-1984, now an ordained minister and motivational speaker)
KHSL became digital-only on December 22, 2008. KHSL shut down its analog signal on January 1, 2009, continuing on its pre-transition channel number, 43. Receivers will also still display the signal as channel 12 through the use of PSIP.
KHSL replaced normal programming with digital TV information on analog channel 12, and eventually turned it off on January 1. KHSL's new 235 kW, digital tower is up and running and has been for the past four months, but will double its power to nearly 500 kW on February 17, 2009.
Loss in OTA coverage
According to the engineering department, KHSL chose not to return to VHF Channel 12, as digital transmission has much poorer results than UHF Channels, but there was still a substantial loss in over-the-air (OTA) coverage. There has been lots of criticism because a VHF signal better covers the terrain of the rural, mountainous viewing area in communities and could have actually gained coverage if the digital transmitter used the analog tower. However, results by most stations in the U.S. show a loss of coverage with a VHF signal, but the Chico/Redding area is unique in the fact that the valley is suited better for UHF (VHF is notorious for impulse noise) while the foothills and mountains are better suited for VHF (UHF does not travel the natural curve of the Earth well), but KHSL had to take a loss of approximately 50,000 potential viewers since it cannot satisfy both types of terrain at the same time, less than it would have on VHF 12 but still much worse than the other stations in the area which saw little or no loss in coverage http://www.fcc.gov/dtv/markets/maps_current/Chico-Redding_CA.pdf. However, it still covers 537,000 people which is still second to KCVU, which now covers 550,000 people; and pulls ahead of KRCR, KIXE, and KNVN, which better cover the core Chico/Redding area but only cover 400,000 people each. Many rural cable systems use Dish Network to feed their systems now since they have now lost OTA coverage. Viewers in northern areas of Sacramento can now occasionally receive a clear KHSL signal, when before they could only get a snowy image at best. To make up with the reception problem in Redding, KHSL has launched a digital fill-in translator from South Fork Mountain on channel 36.
KHSL airs all NBC-produced and most syndicated shows in HD, such as such as Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, Inside Edition, Extra, Criminal Minds and Cold Case.
Syndicated shows that are produced in HD which still air in SD on KHSL include Access Hollywood. Rachael Ray and Family Feud are not yet produced or distributed in high definition.
Although KNVN and KHSL began airing local commercials (including their own promos) in high definition in January of 2012, no details have been released if local newscasts will be ever produced in HD.