KATU is a television station broadcasting on channel 2 in Portland, Oregon, USA. It has been owned by Fisher Communications of Seattle, Washington, owner of the Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, since its inception and is currently affiliated with the ABC Television Network. Its transmitter is located in Portland.
On January 19 1964 KATU moved its transmitter site , to Portland's West Hills to improve coverage. The site had previously been on Livingston Mountain A little over a month later it took over the ABC affiliation from KPTV on March 1, 1964. This made KATU the fourth station in the Portland market in less than a decade to have affiliated with ABC full-time (after KLOR, KGW and KPTV). It is also Portland's longest-tenured 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 Blvd.) since it went on the air, although the building had previously operated for many years as a laundry.
KATU is also one of the few television stations in the country (not counting owned-and-operated stations) that has had the same call letters, the same owner and the same channel number throughout its history.
In 2002, KATU cerebrated their 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they updated their graphics as well as a new set.They also aired stories from past newscasts.
In 2006, KATU won two Edward R. Murrow Awards, including an investigative piece reported by Anna Song on a newborn that was left severely brain damaged by OHSU hospital. Song also won dual 1st place (2006) Associated Press Awards in Best Writing, and Best Investigative Reporting.
On October 11, 2007 KATU became the third Portland TV Station to broadcast its daily newscasts in widescreen.
KATU has plans to broadcast its newscasts in high definition starting in early 2009.
Jim Bosley came to KATU in 1962 when the station first went on air as a creative programs director. He then became the Chief Meteorologist and became the host of KATU's morning talk show AM Northwest in 1976. Jim retired from Television broadcasting in 2000. He died in April 2008.
Bill O'Reilly, one of the original anchors of Inside Edition and now of Fox News, came to KATU in 1984 as an anchor and reporter. He left the station in 1986 to join ABC News, and was replaced by reporter and weekend weathercaster Jeff Gianola. At the time of O'Reilly's departure, KATU's "Channel 2 News" held the top spot in the Portland TV market ratings.
Lou Gellos was a former Sports Director at KATU in the early 1990s. Prior to joining KATU, he also held that position briefly at Seattle's KING-TV. He is now spokesman and communications director for Microsoft.
KATU's "Channel 2 News" was also the highest-rated news program in Portland under the anchor team of Jeff Gianola and Julie Emry. Julie Emry left in the mid-1990s for family reasons, and Gianola left in 1997 after being suspended for apparently getting into an argument with a female reporter. Incidentally, Gianola and Emry were back anchoring the news together on rival TV station KOIN-TV Channel 6 from September 2002 until late 2005, when she left the station (also for family reasons). Gianola appeared as himself in the film The Hunted starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro.
Jeffrey Babcock appeared regularly in the early 1990s as a commentator on capital markets and personal finance, but left to become an investment manager. Formerly he was a correspondent at WABC-TV's Good Morning New York, as well as a reporter at KIRO-TV in Seattle and WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 , KATU will remain on its current pre-transition channel number, 43. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display KATU's virtual channel as 2.
Low power translator in Mitchell has been discontinued.