|Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas|
|Branding||The 33 (general)
The 33 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||TV To Talk About (general)
Watch Something New(s) (news)
Putting Our Community First (public service)
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
(Tribune Television Company)
|First air date||October 1967|
|Call lettersâ€™ meaning||Dallas And Fort Worth|
|Former callsigns||KMEC-TV (1967-1968)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
33 (UHF, 1967-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1967-1986)
The WB (1995-2006)
|Transmitter Power||780 kW|
KDAF, virtual channel 33, is a The CW-affiliated television station serving the Dallas-Fort Worth television market. The station is licensed to Dallas and owned by the Tribune Company and is located off the John W. Carpenter Freeway in northwest Dallas. The station's transmitter is located in Cedar Hill.
Channel 33 in Dallas has been used by several companies over four decades of operation. It first signed on-the-air as KMEC in October 1967, the second UHF station in the market after KFWT-TV (see KTXA). The station aired a mix of syndicated programming and locally produced shows. KMEC signed off less than a year later. That short-lived attempt was followed by another in 1972, with another company using channel 33 using the call letters KBFI and a religious programming format. But, like its predecessor, KBFI signed off after only ten months on the air.
The Christian Broadcasting Network purchased channel 33's license and, on January 11, 1973, channel 33 returned to the air as KXTX-TV (for "Christ (X) for TeXas"), a station with a religious format and some general entertainment. But CBN's stay on channel 33 wouldn't be a long one: Doubleday Broadcasting wanted to get rid of their independent station, KDTV on channel 39. After an attempt to donate KDTV to non-profit interests, Doubleday instead donated the channel 39 license and assets to CBN. Then, in April 1973, CBN moved the KXTX call letters and its programming to channel 39, while Doubleday took over broadcasting channel 33 under the KDTV calls for another several months before turning the station off in December. Channel 33 would remain unused in Dallas for the next six and-a-half years.
In May 1980, channel 33 returned to the Dallas airwaves for a fourth time. The new station was called KNBN-TV, owned by a local company, Hill Broadcasting (Nolanda Hill 40%, Sheldon Turner 40% and others). The station's call letters were derived from its on-air branding, "National Business Network". The daytime broadcast was all business while evening hours were filled by subscription television from VUE, a program service owned by Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters. Again, this format turned out to be short-lived, and channel 33 revamped itself again. Within a year and-a-half, the business programming was gone, the subscription television service moved to rival UHF station KTWS (channel 27, now KDFI-TV), and KNBN-TV picked up programming from the Spanish International Network, the forerunner to today's Univision.
In late 1983, Hill Broadcasting sold KNBN to Metromedia. Initially, KNBN remained a Spanish station (with plans to eventually switch to an English speaking format) but added a couple syndicated English shows that Metromedia distributed but had no other station to run. Then on July 31, 1984, the station was renamed KRLD-TV after new sister station KRLD radio, which Metromedia later sold and finally switched from Spanish to a general entertainment format. The new KRLD-TV was entering a very crowded marketplaceâ€”its competition included KTXA, KXTX-TV, and the market's leading independent, KTVT (channel 11). Metromedia's initial programming featured the first 7:00 p.m. newscast ever attempted in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The station initially programmed a schedule with primarily adult fare such as first-run syndicated shows, plenty of off-network dramas, and some low budget movies. The station had very few cartoons at first due to the fact that they were found on other stations. Also for four seasons starting in 1984, channel 33 was the broadcast home for Dallas Sidekicks indoor soccer club. In the fall of 1985, with a huge abundance of barter cartoons now available, KRLD-TV added a couple hours of them in the 7 to 9 a.m. time slot and on the 3 to 5 p.m. timeslots. The station also began phasing in more off network sitcoms at that point and began looking more like a traditional independent station for that time.
In 1986 Metromedia sold its group of independent stations, including KRLD-TV, to the News Corporation and the 20th Century Fox film studio. On March 6 of that year, channel 33's call letters were changed to the current KDAF, and it would become one of the cornerstones that formed the Fox television network, making it the Metroplex's first network-owned station. However, Fox closed down the station's news department shortly after assuming control. The station continued running mostly cartoons, off network sitcoms, and older movies. Though KDAF remained unprofitable, due to the large amount of stations in the market, into the early 1990s, by 1994 the station was turning modest profits. With an increase in revenues, Fox decided to reactivate channel 33's news department by launching a primetime newscast that would go head-to-head with KTVT. KDAF was well into their news plans when Fox made an announcement which put the station's immediate future in limbo.
In November of 1993, Fox acquired the rights to NFL Football coverage from CBS. This made Fox desire more VHF stations. Fox was already beginning to phase in news departments on most of their stations with plans to become news intensive. Then in April of 1994, Fox made a group deal with New World Communications to move its network affiliation in several markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, to stations New World either owned outright or were currently purchasing. In Dallas, then-CBS affiliate KDFW-TV (channel 4, which ironically had also once used the KRLD-TV calls) was only recently bought from Times Mirror and now being sold by Argyle Television to New World, and was included in the New World-Fox deal. Fox placed KDAF on the selling block, and plans for the newscast were scrapped. New World took over operations of KDFW in June of 1995. Fox network prime time and sports programming moved from KDAF to KDFW on July 1, 1995. Fox Kids programming remained on KDAF for another two years. Two days later (on July 3, 1995), Fox finalized the sale of channel 33 to Renaissance Broadcasting, and KDAF took over the market's The WB affiliation from KXTX-TV, which only had an agreement to hold it temporarily until Fox could move to KDFW.
Renaissance sold all of its stations, including KDAF, to Tribune Broadcasting in 1997. In August of 1996, Fox announced that they were buying New Wold outright, now making KDFW an Fox O&O. In the Fall of 1997, Fox Kids moved off KDAF and onto KDFW's partner station, KDFI, which was more of a traditional independent station. KDAF's focus gradually changed as well. Initially, KDAF ran a blend cartoons from both Fox Kids and Kids WB, some syndicated cartoons, older off network sitcoms, recent off network sitcoms, The WB programming, and some first run syndicated shows. Gradually, from the mid 1990's to about 2002, KDAF began focusing more on first run talk shows, reality shows, court shows, moving away from older shows. By 2002, the only cartoons on KDAF came from Kids WB which also ended weekday operations early in 2006. KDAF was the last station in the market left running afternoon weekday cartoons until that point.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN networks announced they would shut down. Their respective owners joined forces merge into a new service, The CW Television Network, co-owned by CBS and the Warner Bros. Television unit of Time Warner. Since Tribune had owned a portion of The WB, several Tribune stations including KDAF received ten-year affiliation agreements with the new network.
On June 23, 2008, KDAF has changed its branding to KDAF 33 in a corporate effort by Tribune to strengthen the local branding of their stations and reduce the dependence on the use of the "The CW" in their stations' brandings due to sagging ratings of its current affiliation, however it has kept its CW 33 logo until August 2008 when the station changed their branding from CW 33 to The 33. Today, KDAF runs a format consitsing of first run shows from The CW, talk shows, court shows, reality shows, recent off network sitcoms, first run and off network recent drama shows, and weekend cartoons.
The station's digital channel is UHF 32, multiplexed:
|33.1||KDAF/The CW programming|
KDAF had aired a 24-hour music network called The Tube on digital channel 33.2, but it ceased operations on October 1, 2007.
33.2 came back on the air around November 1, 2007 with bilingual Latino programming from LATV.
KDAF's analog transmitter on Channel 33 was shut off at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 12, 2009. KDAF-DT remains on channel 32 following the digital transition. PSIP is used to display KDAF's virtual channel as 33 on digital television receivers.
KDAF broadcasts a total of 14 hours of news each week, compiled of 2 hours of newscasts seven days a week (a 5 and 9 PM edition of The 33 News).
After having its plans for a newscast during the Fox era in the mid-90s shelved, new owners Tribune decided to return newscasts to KDAF by launching a weekday 30-minute newscast in 1999, airing at 9 P.M. to compete with KDFW's news broadcast in the same time slot. Within a year, it was expanded to seven days a week and then expanded to an hour in January 2001.
In late February 2009, long-time anchors Terri Chappell and Tom Crespo were replaced by new anchors Amanda Salinas and Walt Maciborski (from WFTS-TV in Tampa). Both Salinas and Maciborski anchor the weekday editions of "The 33 News at Nine" and "The 33 News at 5:30" with Dawn Tongish and Jim Grimes anchoring either edition on weekends.
KDAF expanded their newscast output by producing a new weekday 5:30PM newscast on September 21, 2009 that would compete with KDFW's local news coverage at 5:30 and the network newscasts on WFAA, KXAS and KTVT. It features former interns turned full-time reporters and some new segments that would end up being irrelevant at the nine o'clock hour.