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Title: Kcra  
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Subject: Mark Spitz, Stockton, California, Elk Grove, California, Modesto, California, John Gillespie Magee, Jr., Pro-ana, KXTV, KOVR, John Gibson (political commentator), Vince DiFiore
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Modesto, California
Branding KCRA 3 HD (general)
KCRA 3 News (newscasts)
KCRA 3 Night Team (11 p.m. newscasts)
Slogan Where the News Comes First (primary)
It's how you know (secondary; website slogan)
Channels Digital: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations NBC
Owner Hearst Television
(Hearst Stations, Inc.)
First air date September 3, 1955
Call letters' meaning Misspelled call letters for original radio sister; intended to be KRCA
Sister station(s) KQCA
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1955-2009)
Transmitter power 100 kW
Height 462 m
Facility ID 33875
Transmitter coordinates

38°14′49.4″N 121°30′6″W / 38.247056°N 121.50167°W / 38.247056; -121.50167


KCRA-TV, channel 3, is a television station in Sacramento, California, United States. KCRA-TV is owned by Hearst Television, a subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation, and is an affiliate of the NBC television network. The station's studio and offices are shared with sister station KQCA (channel 58) at 3 Television Circle in downtown Sacramento, and its transmitter is based in Walnut Grove, California.


KCRA-TV was founded on September 3, 1955 by the Kelly and Hansen families, who also owned KCRA radio (1320 AM, now KCTC, and 96.1 KCRA-FM, now KYMX). The AM station's call letters were intended to be KRCA, but the two middle letters were erroneously transposed by an FCC Federal Communications Commission typist when the original AM license was typed in 1945. For some reason, the error was never corrected. By the time KCRA-TV went on the air in 1955, the KRCA-TV calls had already been taken the previous year by NBC's owned-and-operated television station in Los Angeles (originally KNBH, channel 4, now KNBC). But by the Fall of '55, the KCRA call letters were well established in Sacramento anyway. KCRA-TV inherited the NBC affiliation from the now-defunct KCCC-TV (channel 40), the Sacramento market's first TV station, which temporarily carried affiliations with all four networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, DuMont) before other outlets went on the air. But since KCRA-AM had already been Sacramento's NBC radio affiliate for a decade, KCRA-TV's NBC affiliation seems to have been inevitable at any rate.

In 1959, under the direction of then Chief Engineer, Wm. Herbert Hartman, construction began on a new 1,549-foot transmission tower near Walnut Grove for KCRA-TV, KXTV and KOVR; it would take two years to complete. Upon the tragic death of KCRA co-founder Ewing C. Kelly in 1960, son Bob Kelly, station manager, commercial manager, and film buyer for KCRA-TV, was elected President of KCRA, Inc., while son Jon Kelly, local sales manager for KCRA-TV, became General Manager.

In January 1962, KCRA-TV signed on from the Walnut Grove tower, the tallest structure in the state. In April, the FCC approved the sale of the Hansen brothers' 50% share of KCRA's AM, FM and TV licenses to the Kelly family--Bob, Jon and their mother Nina, and the company changed its name to Kelly Broadcasting Company. In September 1968, KCRA-FM's call letters were changed to KCTC. The radio stations were sold to the Tribune Company in September 1977 pending FCC approval (which came in July 1978); 1320 KCRA became KGNR in August of 1978, and Kelly Broadcasting continued to own and operate KCRA-TV until January 1999, when it was purchased by what was then known as Hearst-Argyle Television.[1] Channel 3 has always been an NBC affiliate.

The station's motto, "Where The News Comes First", has become a symbol for its news coverage. KCRA has used the slogan since December 1958 (Kelly filed to trademark the slogan in 1980)[2] and has licensed it out to other television stations. In the May 2010 sweeps period, KCRA had the highest-rated 11 p.m. newscast but trailed KOVR's 10 p.m. newscast in total households.

In 1965, it first used color film in its newscasts. A station press release at that time claimed that KCRA was the first station in Sacramento with video tape, the first NBC affiliate with "network color," and the first station with local film, slide and video tape color. Starting in 1975, it used remote cameras to report the news live. Recent years have brought helicopters and satellite remotes. On September 10, 1966, Bob Wilkins hosted a late Saturday Night horror movie show called "Seven Arts Theatre". Bob Wilkins later moved his show to KTXL, and then to KTVU in Oakland in the 1970s.

Harry Geise was hired by KCRA as its main weatherman in the mid-1960s. While he used information coming out of a weather bureau in Suitland, Maryland; his forecasts were so accurate that almost every farmer in the Sacramento Valley listened to his forecasts. He developed many techniques which are now taken for granted. Through his weathercasts he taught a couple of generations all about weather from "upper level devils" to looking out the window. On the scantest of data - weather bureaus, out the window, smell in the air, and nut gatherers) but prior to satellite, doppler weather radar, space weather, home weather stations, and little local information - he could look globally and tell what the local weather would be in six weeks or six months.

By the mid-1970s, KCRA established news bureaus throughout the state to broaden its range of reporting, as well as producing its own public affairs programming, and initiating a consumer affairs division to answer the needs of concerned consumers.

From 1991 to 1993, KCRA, later to be joined by KRON and KPIX in San Francisco, participated in an experiment in which, instead of airing primetime from 8 to 11pm, they did so from 7 to 10pm. The "early prime" idea led to only a slight decrease in KCRA's ratings, and their 10pm news remained the highest-rated late newscast on the West Coast. A station survey showed that 63% of viewers thought a 10pm newscast was a good idea. However, pressure from NBC, who threatened to cut ties with the station, forced the station's hand in ending the project and returning to a normal primetime schedule, announcing its demise a week after KRON also axed its early prime.[3] At the time, KOVR had not begun its own early prime schedule, which it would pick up two years later.

Like other local stations, KCRA developed an in-house production facility, with local children's programming, news magazines and talk shows. By the beginning of the 21st century, KCRA became the first station in the Sacramento market to broadcast digitally in HDTV.

In early 2004, KCRA opened the new exhibit, "The KCRA 3 Experience" at local Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, California, allowing visitors to see a KCRA newscast produced live. KCRA's noon newscast was broadcast from there until late 2008 when KCRA ended its presence at the Mall.[4]

In February 2010, KCRA introduced a new slogan, "It's how you know." This features local news, weather, and sports that would lead to its website. Hearst sister-stations KSBW and WMUR also uses this slogan, which is seen at the beginning of each video segment on YouTube.

Digital television

Digital channels

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short name Programming
3.1 1080i 16:9 KCRA-DT Main KCRA-TV programming / NBC
3.2 480i 4:3 KCRA-SD Me-TV

KCRA 3.2

In early 2005, KCRA introduced its localized version of NBC Weather Plus. Although NBC shut down their NBC Weather Plus branding after purchasing the Weather Channel in 2008, KCRA continued to use the NBC Weather Plus branding on digital subchannel 3.2 until late 2008.

On August 2, 2010, KCRA relaunched their digital subchannel 3.2 as "MoreTV Sacramento," a locally-programmed channel that shuffles syndicated programming from KCRA and sister-station KQCA, a branding used by Hearst sister station WMOR-TV in the Tampa, Florida market, and previously by KCWE in Kansas City, Missouri before their 2006 affiliation with The CW. The channel shows comedies (such as Roseanne, The Cosby Show and That 70's Show), dramas (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and talk shows (Maury, Jerry Springer and The Dr. Oz Show). moreTV Sacramento also rebroadcasts news from KCRA, including a 7 p.m. rebroadcast of KCRA's 6 p.m. newscast; a rebroadcast of KCRA and KQCA's late evening newscasts at midnight; and a simulcast of KCRA's midday newscast at 12 p.m. For a short time after the programming changes, KCRA continued to run WeatherPlus programming in the early morning hours in lieu of paid programming,[5] however, as of October 15, 2010, KCRA no longer shows Weather Plus (at the same time, nearby Hearst station KSBW also started broadcasting an alternate set of primetime programming over on its second digital subchannel branded as "KSBW PrimePLUS+" until February 1, 2011).

On July 24, 2012, Hearst Television renewed its affiliation agreement with Me-TV to maintain existing affiliations with eight Hearst-owned stations currently carrying the digital multicast network through 2015. As part of the renewal, Hearst also signed agreements to add the network as digital subchannels of KCRA and four other Hearst stations in Boston, Baltimore, Oklahoma City and Greensboro.[6] Digital subchannel 3.2 assumed the Me-TV affiliation on September 3, 2012, replacing the "moreTV" format.[7]

Analog-to-digital conversion

KCRA-TV ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, as part of the DTV transition in the United States,[8] and remained on its pre-transition digital channel 35[9] PSIP is used to display KCRA-TV's virtual channel as 3.


Over the years, KCRA preempted some NBC programming, notably the soap opera Another World. That show would reair for a brief time, but was preempted again due to low ratings—this was the case with local counterpart KOVR, which did not run Guiding Light due to poor ratings, and had not aired at all in the market since former affiliate KXTV dropped it in the early 1990s. Given its image as a news-intensive station, KCRA also preempted the weekend version of The Today Show and the T-NBC lineup, which aired Saturday mornings for more local news. It also aired a 4:30 pm newscast, pushing Days of our Lives to air half an hour earlier than the typical practice. That newscast ended with KCRA's acquisition of The Oprah Winfrey Show; in September, 2002. Days now airs at 1pm weekdays. However, despite NBC's historically low tolerance towards preemptions, NBC has been more than satisfied with KCRA, given its near-total dominance of the Sacramento market.

Currently, KCRA airs the third hour of The Today Show on a one-hour delay due to Live with Kelly and Michael airing at that time slot; the fourth hour airs after Last Call with Carson Daly at 2:05am. Sister stations WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, WBAL-TV in Baltimore and WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina do the same thing. In addition, other syndicated programming includes The Real Housewives, Rachael Ray, The Dr. Oz Show, Access Hollywood, and Extra.

Whenever NBC special programming pre-empt any of its regularly scheduled newscasts, sister station KQCA (channel 58) will air them at the times KCRA would have aired them.

News operation

Like many stations that have long dominated their markets, KCRA tends to take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to its news product. Its original logo—a roman "3" inside a green square with rounded corners and convex sides (to represent the shape of a TV tube)—was used from about 1960 until the late 1980s, when the current logo was adopted. Also, it refers to its newscasts as "Reports" rather than "News," despite that its newscasts on KQCA are titled as "KCRA 3 News". However in August, 2009, KCRA re-titled its 11 p.m. newscast as "the KCRA 3 Night Team." It removed "11 p.m." from the newscast name, but the mandated Hearst news theme is not used in the opening. In July 2011, the "Reports" branding was phased out and all the newscasts are referred to as "KCRA 3 News".

In late December 2005, KCRA began using a new "Triple Doppler" system for weather reports. In addition to KCRA's own doppler weather radar system at Walnut Grove, range and accuracy were increased by adding data from NEXRAD sites. KRGX north of Reno on Virginia Peak improves the accuracy of Sierra images, KMUX south of San Jose on Mt. Umunuhm has a great view of storms approaching from the Pacific Ocean, and KBBX at Beale Air Force Base gives improved detail in the valley.

On February 12, 2007 KCRA started broadcasting all of its news broadcasts in high definition television (HD) and also debuted its news set designed by FX Group and also LiveCopter 3 HD, becoming the first station in the Sacramento viewing area and first in the Hearst-Argyle family to broadcast the majority of its programming and the first to deliver local newscasts in HD. Upon the launch of its HD newscasts, the KCRA logo made a slight change, adding the NBC "peacock" and "HD" to the current logo. Only in-studio cameras shoot in HD, while the helicopter's camera, field cameras and other station camera feeds are in SDTV and are up-converted to a 16:9 aspect ratio in the control room. In September 2008, KCRA began using a new "Triple Doppler" system with high-definition graphics. As of August 25, 2010, with KSBW upgrading its newscasts to HD, both KCRA and KSBW now share resources in this format when covering each other's news. The current weekend news anchor also acts as the sports anchor.

Under Hearst ownership, KCRA has either hosted or co-hosted many gubernatorial debates within California, often with moderator and political reporter Kevin Riggs and one other personality hosting the debate. Many of those debates are simulcasted on KSBW. A notable example of such is the debate between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown.[10]

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Channel 3 Reports (1960s-1999)
  • KCRA 3 Reports (1999–2011)
  • KCRA 3 Night Team (2009-present; 11 p.m. newscast)
  • KCRA 3 News (2011–present)

Newscast Music

  • KCRA 1975 News Theme by unknown composer (19??-19??)
  • KCRA 1978 News Theme by unknown composer (19??-19??)
  • We Take You There by Peters Productions (1981–1986)
  • KCRA And You by Peters Productions (1981–1986)
  • Where The News Comes First by L. Earl Grizzell, Jr. (1987–1992)
  • KCRA 1992 News Theme by Sam Cardon and Non-Stop Music (1992–2000)
  • B Package by Gari Communications, Inc. (2000–2004)
  • Hearst TV News Music Package by Newsmusic Central (2004–2012)
  • KCRA 2009 Night Team Theme by unknown composer (2009–2012)
  • Hearst News Package by Fuze Artz (2012-Present)

Newscast Schedule

  • KCRA 3 Morning News - 4:30-7:00 a.m.
  • KCRA 3 Morning News on My58 - 7:00-9:00 a.m. (KQCA)
  • KCRA 3 News at Noon - 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 6:00 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 6:30 - 6:30-7:00 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 10:00 on My58 - 10:00-10:30 p.m. (KQCA)
  • KCRA 3 News NightTeam at 11:00 - 11:00-11:35 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 Morning News - 7:00-9:00 a.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 5:00 - 5:00-5:30 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 6:00 - 6:00-6:30 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 6:30 - 6:30-7:00 p.m.
  • KCRA 3 News at 10:00 on My58 - 10:00-10:30 p.m. (KQCA)
  • KCRA 3 News NightTeam at 11:00 - 11:00-11:35 p.m.

News team

(Year person joined KCRA in parentheses)

Current on-air staff

(as of January 5, 2012)

  • Gulstan Dart - weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. (2008)
  • Mae Fesai - weekend mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m.; 2009)
  • Deirdre Fitzpatrick - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 on KCRA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCA); also reporter (1997)
  • Edie Lambert - weeknights at 5:00, 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. (1995)
  • Chris Riva - weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. (2005)
  • Teo Torres - weekday mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCA); also noon reporter (2008)
  • Kellie (formerly MacMullan) DeMarco - weeknights at 6:00, 6:30 and 10:00 p.m. (KQCA; 2011)
  • TBD - weekdays at noon
KCRA 3 First Alert Weather
  • Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. (1991)
  • Eileen Javora (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 on KCRA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCA) and weekdays at noon (2005)
  • Dirk Verdoorn (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. (1998)
  • Tamara Berg (AMS and NWA member) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings (7:00-9:00 a.m.; 2011)
Sports Team
  • Del Rodgers[11] - Sports Director; weeknights at 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. (1997)
  • TBD - weekends at 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m.

Note: Some reporters are also feature reporters for nearby Hearst sister station KSBW.

  • David Bienick - general assignment reporter (2000)
  • Kelly Brothers - morning business reporter (4:30-7:00 on KCRA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCA; 2007)
  • Donna Cordova - general assignment reporter (2012)
  • Tom DuHain - weeknight reporter (5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m; 1969)
  • Brian Hickey - weekday morning reporter (4:30-7:00 on KCRA and 7:00-9:00 a.m. on KQCA; 2003)
  • Mallory Hoff - general assignment reporter (2011)
  • Jane King - Bloomberg business reporter (2008)
  • Janet O - Stanislaus County Bureau Chief (2011)
  • Richard Sharp - weeknight 10:00 (KQCA) and 11:00 p.m. reporter (2004)
  • Mike TeSelle - weekday reporter (1998)
Hearst Television Washington Bureau
  • Sally Kidd - Washington Bureau Reporter (2005)
  • Nikole Killion - Washington Bureau Reporter (2008)
  • Kate Amara - morning Washington Bureau Reporter (2009)

Notable past on-air staff

  • NBC News)
  • Stan Atkinson - anchor (1959-1963, 1976-1994; later moved to KOVR in Sacramento, now retired)
  • Adrienne Bankert - anchor (2004-2012, now at KTVT in Dallas, Texas)
  • Carol Bland - anchor/reporter (1982-1994; later moved to KGW in Portland as Carol Jensen, now retired and lives in San Diego)[12]
  • Joan Lunden (1970s as first television job; she later changed her surname to Lunden, moved to ABC's Good Morning America)
  • KTTV in Los Angeles and with Fox News)
  • WTHR-TV in Indianapolis)
  • Ryan Disch - traffic anchor (2005–2009)
  • Maurice DuBois - anchor/reporter (now at WCBS-TV in New York, NY)
  • Jim Finnerty - host of local talk show Finnerty and Company (later renamed Look Who's Talking)
  • Sarah Gardner - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (1993–2007; now a stay-at-home mother)[13]
  • Gary Gerould - sports anchor (now radio play-by-play for the Sacramento Kings)
  • KSEG radio in Sacramento)
  • Ron Hyde - Sports Director/Anchor (1992-2006, later News Anchor /Weather Anchor at KOVR 13), Now Anchor/Reporter "California Life" TV show of Los Angeles
  • John Gibson - Bay Area correspondent (now at Fox News Channel)
  • KRON as weekend morning anchor in San Francisco)
  • David Gregory (now moderator of Meet the Press)
  • Robert Hadlock (now at KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas)
  • Kristine Hanson - sports anchor/weather anchor/entertainment reporter (1980s; former Playboy Playmate)
  • CNN in New York, writer at MSNBC, now writer for CBS This Morning)
  • Lois Hart - 5 and 6:30 p.m. anchor (1990–2008; retired)

Susan Hirasuna Weekend Anchor (1992-1995; now Weekend Anchor KTTV/KCOP-Los Angeles)

  • Bob Hogue - sports director (early 1980s, former Hawaiian State Senator)
  • KMAX)
  • KXTV in Sacramento)
  • Harry Martin - host/entertainment reporter (1957-1988); hosted 1960's children's program as "Captain Sacto". Passed in 2008.
  • Rob Mayeda - meteorologist/anchor/reporter (1999–2000; now at KNTV in San Jose-San Francisco)
  • Leyna Nguyen - anchor/reporter (now at KCAL in Los Angeles)
  • KXTV-News10)
  • Jeff Ranieri - meteorologist (2000–2005; later at MSNBC/NBC Weather Plus, now chief meteorologist at KNTV in San Jose-San Francisco)
  • KMAX)
  • Bianca Solorzano - weekend morning anchor/reporter (1999–2003; now a CBS News correspondent in New York City)
  • Kaity Tong - anchor/reporter (1979–1981; now at WPIX in New York City)
  • Roy Walkenhorst - anchor/reporter (1969–1980; now CEO of Lightbridge Media)[14]
  • David Walker - 5 and 6:30 p.m. anchor (1990–2008; retired)
  • KPIX in San Francisco)
  • Pamela Wu - weekend anchor/reporter (2001–2009; now director of marketing and communications at the University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall)[15]
  • Joe Lizura - meteorologist (1997-1989, moved to Allowance Media Group)

Susan Hirasuna - weekend anchor/overnight anchor/reporter (1988 - 1991) now weekend anchor KTTV and KCOP


External links

  • Official KCRA 3 website
  • KCRA History
  • KCRA News Team List
  • KCRA YouTube Channel
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for KCRA
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KCRA-TV
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