|San Antonio, Texas|
|Branding||KENS 5 (general)
KENS 5 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
(Pronounced "KENS" as one word)
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On;
South Texas' #1 Newscast;
San Antonio's News Leader
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
5.2 Estrella TV
|First air date||February 15, 1950|
|Call letters’ meaning||K
|Former callsigns||KEYL (1950-1954)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
5 (VHF, 1950-2009)
55 (UHF, 1997-2009)
Paramount Television Network (1950-1953)
NTA Film Network (1956-?)
|Transmitter Power||1000 kW|
KENS is the CBS television affiliate in San Antonio, Texas owned and operated by The Belo Corporation. KENS also manages KCWX under a local marketing agreement (LMA). Its transmitter is located in Elmendorf, Texas. KENS can also be seen through cable in Laredo, Texas.
Channel 5 signed on the air on February 15, 1950 as KEYL, a primary CBS affiliate with secondary affiliations with DuMont, Paramount Television Network, and ABC (shared with WOAI-TV). KEYL was one of Paramount's strongest affiliates, carrying nearly the entire network line-up. Among the Paramount programs that KEYL aired were Armchair Detective, Latin Cruise, Hollywood Reel, Hollywood Wrestling, Time For Beany, and Movietown, RSVP.
A year after its launch, Storer Broadcasting bought the station. In 1954, Storer had to sell KEYL to the San Antonio Express-News, which also purchased what became the original KENS-AM (680 kHz, now KKYX), in order for Storer to complete its purchase of WXEL-TV (now WJW) in Cleveland, Ohio because the company would have been one VHF station over the Federal Communications Commission's new ownership limit of seven television stations, with no more than five of those on VHF, which went into effect that year. (At the time, newspapers could own television and/or radio stations in the same market provided that such ownership complied with the FCC-mandated ownership limits of each property in effect at the time.) The new owner changed KEYL's call letters to the present-day KENS-TV. KENS was the second station to begin broadcasting in San Antonio, three months behind WOAI-TV. DuMont ceased most network operations in 1955, but would honor network commitments until 1956; at that point, DuMont disappeared from the station's schedule. It lost ABC when KONO-TV (now KSAT-TV) signed on in 1957, leaving KENS as a full-time CBS affiliate. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
In early 1962, the Express-News and KENS-AM-TV were purchased by Harte-Hanks Communications; the radio station was sold off a few months later since Harte-Hanks was not interested in radio station ownership at the time. When the FCC tightened its cross-ownership rules in the early 1970s, Harte-Hanks sought grandfathered protection for its San Antonio media combination. However, while the FCC granted such protection to several media combinations across the country, it would not do the same to the Harte-Hanks combination in San Antonio. Accordingly, in 1973, Harte-Hanks opted to keep KENS-TV and sell the Express-News to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
In the mid-1980s, KENS broadcast a short-lived second channel, exclusively on Rogers Cablevision channel 24, called KENS II.
In 1993, Harte-Hanks acquired what at the time became the second incarnation of KENS-AM (1160 kHz). In September 1997, Harte-Hanks sold its remaining media properties, including the KENS stations, to the E. W. Scripps Company in order to concentrate on direct marketing. At the same time, Belo announced that it would swap its controlling stake in the Food Network to Scripps in exchange for the KENS stations. The Harte-Hanks/Scripps deal and the transfer of Belo's stake in the Food Network to Scripps were both completed on October 15 of that year. At that time, Belo took over the operation of the KENS stations through a time brokerage agreement. Belo officially completed its purchase of the KENS stations on December 4, 1997. The second incarnation of KENS-AM was sold off to Disney/ABC in 2003, becoming Radio Disney station KRDY.
KENS remained closely associated with the Express-News, even though the station and newspaper have been under separate ownership for many years. The station shared its main website with the newspaper until the end of 2008, when the news partnership agreement between KENS and the Express-News expired. The station launched Kens5.com on January 26, 2009 (initially using Belo's own in-house CMS operations; now operated by Broadcast Interactive Media). Immediately following the digital transition on June 12, KENS and several other Belo stations officially dropped the -TV suffix from their legal call signs.
KENS shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 , as part of the DTV transition in the United States. KENS remained on its current pre-transition channel number, 39  using PSIP to display KENS' virtual channel as 5.
This move also allowed sister station KCWX (which prior to the conversion, did not have an over-the-air digital signal) to begin digital broadcasts on channel 5. Prior to November 2008, KENS-DT was on channel 55, which was vacated early by the station to allow Qualcomm to begin testing for their MediaFLO mobile television service, which is transmitted via the former UHF channel 55 allocation. In the interim period between November 2008 and June 2009, KENS-DT's digital signal was broadcast on a subchannel of KWEX-DT (mapped to virtual channel 5.1), which broadcasted on channel 39 prior to the transition; since the entire KWEX schedule was at the time 480i standard definition, KENS continued broadcasting in full 1080i high definition without any problems between the two operations. After the digital transition was complete, KENS-DT retained the channel 39 facilities, while KWEX-DT launched their permanent digital operations on channel 41 (the station's previous analog frequency).
KENS broadcasts a total of 27.5 hours of local news per week (with 3½ hours on weekdays, 2½ hours on Saturdays and two hours on Sundays).
Former news director Bob Rogers was and remains to be KENS' most successful and longest-running news director. Under Rogers, KENS was #1 in the market ratings for over two decades. He was also responsible for hiring, coaching and helping the careers of many local and national news anchors, reporters and correspondents. He retired from the station in the late 1990s.
The station also produces a local morning talk show titled Great Day SA, airing weekdays from 9-10AM (CT). The program debuted on September 8, 2003. The show features local and national music artists, celebrities, and local human interest stories. Formerly hosted by 1994 Miss USA Lu Parker and later Kristina Guererro (who later was a reporter at Inside Edition), Great Day SA is currently hosted by reporter Bridget Smith, along with GDSA reporter Eileen Teves, morning meteorologist Paul Mireles, and "Traffic Watch" reporter Kellie Patterson.
When The Early Show abandoned the local/national hybrid format and replaced it with a national format on January 7, 2008, KENS decided to cut their weekday morning newscast from three hours to two, airing from 5-7AM. Also at the same time, Itza Gutierrez left as anchor for the Saturday morning newscast to become a stay-at-home mother (she has since been replaced by Stacia Willson).
Emmy-Award winning longtime anchor Chris Marrou, who worked at KENS for 36 years beginning in 1973, retired in 2009. Marrou and other well-known anchors, helped KENS dominate the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts from the 1970s through the early 2000s. In 2009, KENS announced that Chris Marrou's replacement would be Jeff Vaughn (previously with NBC affiliate KSHB in Kansas City) and co-anchor the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts starting in January 2010.
A long-running, weeknight segment of the news is the Eyewitness Newsreel in which former anchor Chris Marrou narrates a faux, old-style newsreel at the end of the 10PM newscast. The Newsreel usually consists of humorous segments of local news juxtaposed with out-of-context snips of CBS news anchors, politicians or celebrities "commenting" on the situation. Marrou writes the segment each weeknight. After anchor Chris Marrou's retirement from the station in 2009, the "Eyewitness Newsreel" segment was also retired.
On August 2, 2010 KENS will add a half-hour weekday newscast at 4 p.m., the newscast titled KENS 5 Eyewitness News: First at 4, will make KENS the first San Antonio station to air a newscast during the 4 p.m. hour.
At the beginning of June 2008, KENS began to run ads about "the biggest thing in KENS' history", however that ad specifically would not say exactly what, only that it would happen on June 30, 2008. On June 30, 2008 KENS became the first television station in the San Antonio market to produce its newscasts in High Definition. One of KENS' rivals, ABC affiliate KSAT-TV (channel 12), also claims to broadcast its newscasts in high definition, but actually airs them in upconverted widescreen standard definition.
As of the end of the February 2007 ratings period, KENS had taken first place for their 10 o'clock newscast. As of the November 2007 ratings period, KENS also took first place in the morning newscasts. Also, KENS is in first place at noon and 6 p.m. newscasts. Rival KSAT-TV is at second place in all time slots. Also, rival WOAI-TV is at third place in all time slots.
Belo News Bureaus
VIPIR 5 Weather Team