KUSI is available on cable channel 9 on both of San Diego's area cable systems, Time Warner and Cox. The station is also available on its customary Channel 51 position on both of DirecTV's and Dish Network's Local Channels packages. The station is also rebroadcast on K12PO, a broadcast translator licensed to Temecula, California.
In early 1994, the premiere and expansion of the station's morning newscast had relegated children's programming to the afternoons; by 1995 those shows were scattered to other local outlets and replaced with more court, talk, and reality shows added to KUSI's schedule, mirroring that of Los Angeles' KCAL-TV. Per the branding by station ownership, the station states they have "More Local News" as they statistically have more local news content then other fellow San Diego stations and therefore, the cartoons and recent off-network sitcoms were moved to a weaker station, KSWB-TV which was then a WB affiliate and later affiliated with The CW (2006-2008), and more recently with Fox beginning in 2008.
KUSI gained a network affiliation beginning in 1995, as San Diego's UPN outlet. However, in 1998, the station dropped the affiliation due to low ratings. Many San Diegans without cable (Los Angeles's KCOP-TV was piped in to the area cable systems) nor a strong antenna (facing Los Angeles) could not pick up UPN programming for more than a year until XHUPN (Channel 49) went on the air.
While KUSI was affiliated with UPN, the station tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the Fox affiliation away from the network's then-affiliate XETV-TV (Channel 6) in November 1995. This was after the Fox network first picked up the broadcast rights to the National Football League in 1994, as cited in the United States Court of Appeals (Channel 51, Inc. vs. Fox Television Stations). In that case, KUSI filed an appeal against the Federal Communications Commission in granting Fox a permit to broadcast live sports on the Mexican-licensed signal of XETV. In FCC regulations, stations not licensed to the United States were not allowed to air live sporting events without licensing approval. The permit was granted to Fox on behalf of XETV, and the case was settled on March 26, 1996. However, until XETV started its news operations more than a year later, KUSI provided news-gathering resources to Fox's news and sports divisions for the San Diego market. (Similarly, there was a rumor in 2008 that KUSI would pick up the CW affiliation abandoned by KSWB-TV, now known as "Fox 5", but the network signed on with XETV instead.) In the fall of 2007, KUSI was planning to open new state-of-the-art streetside studios in downtown San Diego. However, the building that was supposed to house their new studio was sold. At the present time, KUSI will remain at their Kearny Mesa studios.
Channel 51 of San Diego, Inc., a California corporation & Texas Television, Inc., a Texas corporation are wholly owned subsidiaries of: McKinnon Broadcasting, Inc., a California corporation.
KUSI became a serious player in the local television news race when they introduced a 10 p.m. newscast in September 1990. Originally anchored by veterans Roger Grimsby and George Reading, it was San Diego's first new local newscast since XETV's previous effort ended in 1972, when XETV lost its ABC affiliation to then-KCST. Currently the evening anchor team consists of mostly longtime veterans of local San Diego television news, including Paul Bloom (several stints at KNSD)and longtime Chicago weatherman and Weather Channel founder John Coleman is the station's chief meteorologist.
In January 1994, joining the growing number of other local stations nationwide, a morning newscast was added, originally anchored by Laura Buxton and Tom Blair (later replaced by Stan Miller). The show, now known as Good Morning San Diego, gradually phased out the aforementioned children's programming that aired during that period and currently is seen for four hours every day including weekend editions.