by Wendy Holmes, former CBS4 Program Director
The following is a series of important dates in CBS4’s station history:
June 1952 – Metropolitan TV Company bought KOA Radio from NBC. This company was partially owned by Bob Hope and former Denver Mayor Quigg Newton.
September 1953 – KOA was granted the right to Channel 4 on the dial. KOA-TV went on the air December 24, 1953.
June 5, 1968 – The Federal Communications Commission approved sale of KOA-TV and KOA-AM and FM to a subsidiary of General Electric Company who took over in August of 1968.
June 1984 – GE sold all of its media properties except KOA-TV, and KOA Radio personnel moved out of the building. Radio got to keep KOA call letters, so the television station changed to call letters KCNC, which stand for “Colorado’s News Channel.” GE later merged with RCA, owner of NBC. KCNC became one of NBC’s “owned and operated” stations.
September 1995 – Group W Westinghouse ended up with 2 stations in Philadelphia, the CBS and the NBC affiliates. NBC wanted to buy their affiliate for cash, but Group W wanted to trade for TV stations, one of which was Denver. So, on Saturday night, Sept. 9, 1995, at midnight, KCNC-TV was sold and became a CBS affiliate. Meanwhile KMGH switched from CBS to ABC, and KUSA switched from ABC to NBC. Since Westinghouse and CBS merged in 1995 to become the CBS Corporation, we once again became a network “Owned and Operated” station, this time for CBS.
September 1998 – the NFL returned to CBS, bringing the Broncos home to KCNC.
In 2000, CBS became part of Viacom (which had started as a spin-off of CBS in 1971), forming the #2 communications company. However, at the end of 2005, it split itself in two with CBS becoming the CBS Corporation, which included the CBS Network and owned TV stations, CBS Radio (owner of 3 stations in Denver, the syndicated companies of Paramount and Kingworld, Viacom Outdoor (renamed CBS Outdoor), Showtime, and Simon & Schuster. Viacom, keeping the original name, retained the Paramount movie portion plus the cable networks. Both CBS Corporation and the new Viacom are still owned by National Amusements (Sumner Redstone’s company).
September 2003 – KCNC-TV announced that it was changing from KCNC-TV to CBS4.
Summer 2004 – KCNC once again became the “Broncos Station” and started carrying preseason football and Preview/Coaches shows.
Dec. 22, 2006 – Public Law 109-466 is approved by the US Congress permitting the start of construction of the HDTV tower on Lookout Mountain by the Lake Cedar Group (which includes KCNC).
Jan. 15, 2007 Construction begins 10 years after discussions began.
2007 KCNC is featured in the 2007 films “Blades of Glory” and “Resurrecting the Champ.”
May 2008 KCNC begins transmitting from Lookout Mountain in HDTV on Channel 35 KCNC-DT. We had been transmitting the channel previously from the top of the Republic Plaza Building downtown.
June 12, 2009 At midnight, KCNC analog channel stops carrying regular programming. We are one of the 2 Denver “Nightlight” stations who carries digital conversion information on the analog channel for another 30 days. Then on July 12 at noon, we turn off our analog channel entirely.
July 16, 2009 At 10 a.m., after six months of design and planning and nearly four months of construction, KCNC makes the cutover to the new digital Air Ops. The new Air Ops switching equipment replaces the analog automation system that has been in place since 1996. It takes several more months to complete the build-out as we add the ability to air HD commercials, HD promo spots, HD weather cut-in segments, and other new digital features. We plan to be the first Denver station to carry an entire newscast in HD, field and studio.
2013 The Mobile Weather Lab went out on the road.
Dec. 24, 2013 On Christmas Eve, KCNC celebrated its 60th Anniversary on the air with a special highlighting a tour of the “new” station from August 1959.
Jan. 13, 2014 CBS4 News This Morning is expanded by another 30 minutes, making the total morning newscast 4:30 a.m. – 7 a.m.
October 28, 2014 CBS All Access, the multi-platform digital subscription streaming service, debuts. It also offered live streaming of local CBS Television Stations, including KCNC.
Jan. 23, 2015: KCNC Channel 4.2 “Decades” begins airing at 5 a.m. on Jan. 23 with 24-hour classic TV series, movies and the daily “Through the Decades” updates on what happened on each day of the year.
Sept. 3, 2018: KCNC Channel 4.2 switches from Decades to Start TV, another Weigel/CBS co-production. Start TV features procedural dramas featuring female stars including Dr Quinn, Medium, Cold Case, The Closer, The Division, Family Law and Profiler.
September 9, 2019: KCNC Channel 4.3 goes on the air with Dabl, a lifestyle channel owned entirely by CBS. It’s mostly classic episodes of series starring Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Cesar Milan and Jamie Oliver. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
February 19, 2020: At Noon, CBS4 begins CBSN Denver on our CBS Denver website with a simulcast of the Noon News. Streaming 24 Hour news continues from then on, 24/7. Denver joins six other ViacomCBS local direct-to-consumer streaming news services in major markets across the country. CBSN Denver features anchored programming, coverage of live breaking news events in the region, as well as an extensive library of local news content that will be available for on-demand viewing.