KTVU, channel 2, is the San Francisco Bay Area's Fox affiliate. Its studio facilities are located in Oakland, California at Jack London Square, and its transmitter is located at Sutro Tower in San Francisco. It has been owned by Cox Enterprises since 1964, making it the largest Fox affiliate by market size that is not owned and operated by the network. KTVU is also co-owned with KICU-TV. It is technically the second largest Cox-owned station behind sister flagship WSB-TV in Atlanta despite the fact the Bay Area market is larger than the latter.

KTVU signed on the air as an independent station on March 3, 1958. It was the third station in the Bay Area - after KQED and KNTV - after the FCC lifted the VHF permit freeze. Until the completion of the Mount Sutro television tower, KTVU transmitted from a tower on San Bruno Mountain.


Over the years, KTVU aired a schedule of cartoons, off-network sitcoms, old movies, drama shows, talk shows, local news, and religious shows. It was the leading independent station in the San Francisco television market for years. It retained this status when more independents (on UHF) signed on the air over the years by reinventing the station's own image with its former longtime slogan: "There's Only One 2." As a VHF station competitor, KTVU aired The 8 O'Clock Movie as an independent alternative to network prime time programming by KRON, KPIX, and KGO-TV.


The station has been well known in the Bay Area for its locally-produced news, public affairs and children's programming, especially The Ten O'Clock News, which for years had been the only television news broadcast in the Bay Area at that hour. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, The Ten O'Clock News was often referred to as the number one prime time newscast in the country, which was true based on the number of viewers at that hour. KTVU's 10 p.m. newscast was such a force to be reckoned with that KBWB cancelled its own 10 p.m. news in 2002 after having no luck competing with KTVU. KBCW has since debuted a primetime newscast produced by KPIX in March 2008 though.

When KRON-TV became an independent station, it also scheduled its new prime time newscast at 9 p.m. so as to not compete directly with KTVU. In the early 1990s, KRON, along with KPIX (throughout the 1990s), did have 10 p.m. newscasts, which have since been moved back up to the 11 p.m. time slot. During the period, KTVU branded its late newscast as The Original Ten O'Clock News. The retirement of KTVU's long-time news director Fred Zehnder brought changes to the newsroom but in 2000 it was ranked as the highest quality local newscast in the nation by the Project for Excellence in Journalism under his immediate successor while maintaining number one ratings at ten and throughout the noon and morning newscasts. Varying prime time numbers and improvements at competitors have since lead to a decline in the once dominant news operation's ratings.

The Ten O'Clock News is also one of the few syndicated local news shows in the United States. It also airs on co-owned KRXI-TV, the Fox affiliate in Reno, Nevada, and also airs on KRVU-LP, the MyNetworkTV affiliate for the Chico/Redding market, and KEMY, the My Network TV affiliate for the Eureka/Arcata market. KRVU and KEMY are not owned by KTVU parent company Cox. Some of the stations also carry KTVU's earlier newscasts and Mornings on 2.

Since 1987, KTVU has used the KTVU News Theme by Michael Randall.


Today, the station has newscasts at noon, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., in addition its morning and 10 p.m. broadcasts. Before its current station status, Channel 2 had only the 10 o'clock newscast; this was common of most independent-turned Fox affiliates back then to have more syndicated programming and children's programming than it did news. That changed when the station decided to go head-to-head with competitors KRON, KPIX, KGO-TV and KNTV by leaning more towards a news-intensive format which took years to take effect.

The noon newscast, originally called 2 at Noon, was added in 1986, displacing syndicated game shows. The original morning newscast, Mornings on 2, debuted in January 1991 in the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot. Now Fox has no network newscasts, but it still motivated its affiliates to air more local news, including KTVU. An additional morning newscast was added in 1996, which would later expand to two hours from one hour, then a 6:00 p.m. newscast would be added in 2000, and finally in 2005, an hour-long 5:00 p.m. newscast.

Classic television series

For many years KTVU regularly ran reruns of classic, filmed television series from the 1950s and 1960s. An early favorite on the station was the syndicated Topper series.

KTVU frequently showed classic movies, especially week nights from 8 to 10 p.m. and on Sunday afternoons. In the early 1960s KTVU began televising Warner Brothers films, mostly from the 1950s and mostly in color, on Sundays at 7 p.m. They were the first Bay Area television station to present such films as A Star Is Born (1954) with Judy Garland and James Mason, East of Eden (1955) with James Dean and Julie Harris, and Rebel Without A Cause with James Dean and Natalie Wood. KTVU exercised discretion and limited commercial interruptions during the movies, and often offered interesting comments, either by a studio host or via slides. The station even televised MGM's Hollywood Revue of 1929 with some of the original two-strip Technicolor sequences.

Children's programming

During the 1960s and 1970s the station aired an afternoon children's show called Captain Satellite. The show's host was Bob March.

Up until the 1980s, the station produced a series of classic children's public service shorts under the title Bits and Pieces. Bits and Pieces often featured a number of talking puppets, Charley and Humphrey, and were aimed at delivering positive messages to children. Pat McCormick, had brought his puppets from KGO. The shorts often aired during children's programming. Shots of KTVU children's programming appear in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, portions of which were shot in the KTVU studios and film library. It was also the Bay Area origination of Romper Room, a children's television show which was franchised, instead of syndicated.

Other programming

Other programs included:

Roller Derby Walt Harris also hosted for many years The San Francisco Bay Bombers Roller Derby games till the demise of the IRDL in 1973.

50th anniversary

On March 3, 2008, KTVU celebrated its 50th anniversary of broadcasting. Fifteen promos of KTVU's 50th anniversary aired which included "Bits & Pieces", "Romper Room", "Captain Satellite" as well as sports like wrestling and Roller Derby, Innovation, Technology and personalities/faces just to name a few. Many promos are available on KTVU's website.


San Francisco Giants baseball games were televised by KTVU from 1958, the year the team moved to San Francisco from New York City, to 2007. On November 1, 2007, it was announced that KNTV will broadcast Giants games beginning with the 2008 MLB season. Beginning in 1996, some Giants Saturday afternoon games have been carried via the Fox Network, which had won broadcast rights to Major League Baseball. KTVU has also been the home of most San Francisco 49ers games since 1994, when Fox won the contract to carry the National Football Conference games.


As a superstation

For a brief time in the early-1980s, KTVU was a nationwide superstation, seen mostly on parent Cox's cable systems. However, unable to compete with WTBS, WGN and WOR, KTVU left the national scene and merely became a regional superstation, seen on cable systems in northern California, Nevada and Oregon.

As a Fox affiliate

On October 9, 1986, the station became a charter Fox affiliate serving the Bay Area. It launched a morning newscast called Mornings on 2 in 1991 (and, as such, became the fourth Fox affiliate or station to air weekday morning newscasts). It began to air an afternoon cartoon block known as Fox Kids by 1991. It also added more syndicated talk shows, court shows, and reality shows over the years. It still runs some off-network sitcoms. The station continued to run the Fox Kids block on weekdays until Fox ended weekday kids programming in early 2002, but still retained the Saturday lineup, of which is now 4Kids TV.

KTVU and KICU became sister stations in 2000 upon KICU's sale to Cox, and has moved its operations from its original studios in San Jose to KTVU's studious. As the first Bay Area duopoly, both stations now share several programming and cross promotion as well.

Fox branding

In the early years as a Fox affiliate, KTVU still referenced itself as Channel 2 and rarely called itself Fox 2 as other Fox affiliates did and still do, but it has done Fox promos as Fox Channel 2. In 1996, the Fox logo was added into the longtime Circle Laser 2 logo (used since 1975), and when the network tightened its station standardizations, the station branded itself as KTVU Fox 2 today -- only to revert to KTVU Channel 2 during newscasts.

Programming deviations

Fox airs fewer hours of network programming than its three main rivals (CBS, NBC and ABC). KTVU has generally aired the entire Fox lineup with no pre-emptions, except for San Francisco Giants baseball during the term of its contract with the team. At first KTVU delayed pre-empted programming to the weekends, but with the growth of Fox and viewer demand the station eventually aired the delayed primetime shows following The Ten O'Clock News. The Bay Area has always been one of the largest Nielsen ratings markets and Fox naturally wanted to have a network owned-and-operated station in the area. Through the network's parent, News Corporation, it tried several times to buy KTVU, but Cox turned down every offer. When Cox purchased KICU, the pre-empted Fox programming would be moved to that station to air in its normal timeslot in lieu of KTVU. The issue over Giants baseball and pre-emptions became moot when the team announced that NBC owned-and-operated KNTV would be the flagship station for the Giants beginning with the 2008 season.


Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed: Digital channels
Subchannel Programming
2.1 / 56.1 main KTVU/Fox programming
2.2 / 56.2 LATV

Analog-to-digital conversion

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 , KTVU will move its digital broadcasts to channel 44. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display KTVU's virtual channel as 2.

Converting to HDTV

On October 10, 2006 KTVU debuted a new state-of-the-art high definition (HD) studio for production of their newscasts in HD. This follows sister stations WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia and WFTV in Orlando, Florida which were already airing their newscasts in HD.

On satellite

Until the late 1990s, KTVU was seen nationally on PrimeStar and C-Band satellite systems. Now, it is available nationwide to qualifying DISH Network subscribers through All American Direct, which began to lease space from DISH Network to distribute distant network signals following a court ruling that said DISH itself could not distribute the programming.

News/Station presentation

Newscast titles









External links

Search another word or see KTVUon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature