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Sacramento · Stockton · Modesto
Branding CBS 13
Slogan Asking Questions. Getting Answers.
Channels Digital: 25 (UHF)
Affiliations CBS
Owner CBS Corporation
(Sacramento Television Stations, Inc.)
First air date September 5, 1954
Call letters’ meaning KOVR = covering all of Northern California
Sister station(s) KMAX-TV
Former channel number(s) Analog:
13 (VHF, 1954-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1954-1957)
ABC (1957-1995)
Transmitter Power 760 kW
Height 591 m
Facility ID 56550
Transmitter Coordinates 38°14′24″N 121°30′3″W / 38.24°N 121.50083°W / 38.24; -121.50083

KOVR-TV, channel 13, is an owned-and-operated station station of the CBS Television Network located in Sacramento, California. KOVR-TV shares its offices and studio facilities with sister station KMAX-TV (channel 31) in West Sacramento, California, and its transmitter is located in Walnut Grove, California.



KOVR is Sacramento's oldest continuously-operating television station. It first hit the airwaves in September 6, 1954 from the California State Fair. Originally an independent station with a transmitter located on Mount Diablo, its signal reached the San Francisco Bay Area, hence the call letters KOVR ("covering" all of Northern California). It broadcast from a studio on Miner Avenue in Stockton. Art Finley hosted an afternoon children's program, Toonytown, for several years, before moving to San Francisco's KRON.


As an ABC Affiliate

In May 1957, KOVR merged its operations with Sacramento's original ABC affiliate, KCCC (channel 40, which signed on a few months before KOVR). KCCC went silent, and KOVR became Sacramento's ABC affiliate. At ABC's request, the station moved its transmitter to a temporary site near Jackson to avoid competition with KGO-TV in San Francisco.

By this time, it was obvious that Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto were going to be a single television market. In 1960, KOVR teamed up with KCRA-TV and KXTV to build a new 1,549-foot tower in Walnut Grove. In 1985, KOVR and KXTV moved to their current 2,049-foot (625 m) tower while KCRA moved to its own 2,000-foot (610 m) tower; KCRA still uses the old tower as an auxiliary.

In 1958, Gannett (ironically, the present-day owner of rival KXTV) bought KOVR from its original owners, then sold it a year later to John Kluge's Metropolitan Broadcasting (which later became Metromedia). In 1960, the station moved its general offices and news department to a new studio on Arden Way in Sacramento. In 1987 KOVR consolidated its operations into its current facility in West Sacramento.

A 1965 advertisement for then ABC affiliate KOVR touting Peter Jennings as anchor of Peter Jennings with the News.

Metromedia sold KOVR to McClatchy Newspapers in 1964. McClatchy ran the station alongside The Sacramento Bee and Modesto Bee newspapers, as well as radio stations KWG in Stockton and KFBK in Sacramento. McClatchy was able to own KOVR, KWG and KFBK because Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto are separate radio markets. McClatchy had established a trio of bee mascots (originally designed by Walt Disney, whose namesake company would eventually acquire ABC) of which Teevee the Bee was KOVR's official mascot during the years McClatchy owned the station—short cartoons of the bee bookended KOVR's broadcast day, either ushering in or concluding the day's programming. ([1])

After McClatchy sold the station to Outlet Communications in 1978, KOVR went into a gradual decline in terms of both ratings and programming quality (even as ABC became the country's highest-rated network), and has been in third place in the Sacramento ratings for most of the time since then. The station was then sold to Narragansett Television LP in 1986, then to Anchor Media in 1988. Anchor Media was merged into River City Broadcasting in 1993, and River City was purchased by the Sinclair Broadcast Group three years later.

KOVR does have its high water marks in local broadcasting: it was the first station in Northern California to use videotape (rather than film) for its newscasts, and was the first station in the Sacramento/Stockton area to broadcast in stereo.

As an ABC affiliate, KOVR preempted a moderate amount of programming, even the 30 minute soap opera Loving. It also aired some ABC programming out of pattern: All My Children in the early years used to air at 11 AM. (Half the ABC affiliates air AMC at 11 AM to follow it with their noon newscasts; the timeslot is secondary compared to airing AMC at noon traditionally). In the mid-90s, KOVR moved the soap opera to air at 3 PM, a practice continued by KXTV by the network switch until the early 2000s.

Switching to CBS

On March 6, 1995, KOVR swapped affiliations with longtime CBS affiliate KXTV (then owned by Belo Corporation; now owned by Gannett). Despite becoming a CBS affiliate, KOVR chose not to air Guiding Light, a practice continued from KXTV during its CBS days (due to the show's below-average ratings in the area). When the program left the air on September 18, 2009, it was one of only two CBS affiliates not carrying the show; the other, WNEM in Bay City, Michigan (mid-Michigan area), aired it on a digital subchannel affiliated with MyNetworkTV.

Until late 1999, Live with Regis & Kelly (then Live with Regis & Kathie Lee) aired on KOVR, even during its affiliation with ABC. The show now airs on KCRA.

A more notable oddity with KOVR's affiliation with CBS is that the station runs the network's primetime schedule an hour earlier than typical. CBS programming that is seen from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in other Pacific Time Zone markets (as well as many Eastern Time Zone markets) is shown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (typically used by stations in TV markets in both Central and Mountain time zones) instead on KOVR. When KOVR was an ABC affiliate, the station had an 11 p.m. newscast like most stations on the coasts. Upon the network switch, the station followed the practice of now-sister KPIX in having a 10 p.m. hour-long newscast (KPIX later on moved the newscast back up to 11 p.m. in 1998). In recent ratings periods KOVR has been battling KTXL FOX40 for the lead in the 10 PM news time slot, with KOVR leading in total households and KTXL FOX40 leading in the key demographics.

KOVR's previous logo, under Sinclair ownership. This logo is similar to a former logo of another Sinclair-owned station, Portland, Maine's WGME.

Gary Condit/Chandra Levy

In 2001, KOVR gained attention when it landed an "local exclusive" interview with Congressman Gary Condit regarding the Chandra Levy murder (Condit appeared the same evening on ABC, in an interview with Connie Chung). The station televised an interview on August 30 in which he claimed that he did not kill Chandra Levy after a visit with the slain intern. Despite numerous KOVR reports filed by reporter Gloria Gomez, the Condit interview was granted to another KOVR reporter, Jodi Hernandez. Much of the national interest in the case would be lost days later, in the aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks.

Becoming a CBS O&O

In May 2005, Sinclair sold KOVR to Viacom's television stations unit (now part of CBS Corporation), creating CBS' third California duopoly with O&O KMAX-TV, the local CW station. Viacom was forced to sell KFRC-AM in San Francisco as a condition of the sale, as the station's city-grade signal reaches Sacramento.


After the purchase was announced, some, including station management, had speculated that KOVR would eventually move CBS's primetime lineup back to 8–11 p.m. and add Guiding Light to its schedule, along with dropping The Jerry Springer Show. It was assumed as an O & O, that KOVR would have to carry Guiding Light. However, on May 3, 2005, it was announced that programming would remain exactly the same for the Summer and that there would be no plans to add Guiding Light.

On August 11, 2005, CBS announced that the 7–10 p.m. prime-time lineup, the 10 p.m. local newscast and the 11 p.m. airing of The Late Show with David Letterman would remain in place. The success that the station has had with the early prime-time schedule and its 10 p.m. newscast is cited as the reason for maintaining the status quo. At that point, they also stated that Guiding Light would not be added to KOVR, at least for the 2005 season, but would now be available through online streaming. The logic was that a show that had been off in the market for over 14 years would not receive good ratings. Plus there were few requests for it. Another reason was that the amount of spots available during the show would not make it profitable for the station to run it. The station did, however, change its on-air branding from the long-standing "KOVR 13" to "CBS 13" in compliance with the CBS Mandate.

On July 31, 2006, the station received approval from the network to move the weekend lineup back an hour in order to maintain an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast throughout the week. The new weekend schedule, which began August 27, will, for example, have 60 Minutes airing at 6 p.m. on Sunday nights. KOVR is now the only Pacific Time Zone CBS station to run the entire network primetime lineup beginning at 7 p.m. Technically, it is also one of two TV stations in the Sacramento market and in the Pacific Time Zone to start their network primetime lineup early, as KQCA started airing its two-hour My Network TV schedule from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, on September 5 that same year.

The Late Late Show (which had been airing at 1 a.m.) moved up one hour, pushing back the Midnight showing of The Jerry Springer Show to a later time (which was seen on the station weekdays at 3 p.m. until September 8, 2006). On September 11, 2006, NBC Universal's Jerry Springer was dropped and moved to KMAX-TV, where it ran until 2007, when it was picked up by KQCA, who now airs the show at Noon and 2 PM. KOVR became the market's new home of CBS-owned King World's Dr. Phil, which the station airs at 3 p.m. on weekdays. Guiding Light would also continue to not be run and Montel Williams continued to air at 2 p.m. weekdays. In July 2006, Maury Povich was dropped in favor of a 4 p.m. newscast on weekdays. That fall, the schedule basically remained the same as during the previous season. The station continued preempting Guiding Light for the 2007–2008 season.

In the fall of 2008, KOVR again declined to add Guilding Light, despite the fact that Montel Williams was canceled by co-owned CBS Television Distribution that September. The double run of Montel Williams was scaled back to air in reruns once a day at 9 A.M. weekdays. Its old 2 p.m. time slot would now be occupied by the Dr. Phil spin-off, The Doctors.

On April 1, 2009, it was announced that CBS was finally canceling Guiding Light altogether and its last airdate would be September 18. On August 3, it was announced a new version of Let's Make a Deal would replace the soap beginning on October 5, 2009. Between those dates, an additional hour of Price Is Right would be run. On September 4, 2009, KOVR ran Frasier reruns for two weeks while Guiding Light aired its last two weeks of episodes. On September 21, Price Is Right's additional temporary hour would air from 9 to 10 AM. Let's Make A Deal from CBS will be running at 9 a.m. on the station. So effective September 21, KOVR finally began running the entire CBS schedule, although its prime-time schedule remains at its current 7–10 PM.

News Department

While under Sinclair ownership, KOVR had worked with a small-to-moderate news staff, which was unusual since Sacramento's dramatic growth during the 1980s had made it a top-20 market. However, with CBS' purchase, the KOVR and KMAX-TV newsrooms have been combined at KOVR's West Sacramento location. Personalities from KMAX-TV now also make appearances on KOVR and vice versa.

On February 1, 2006, KOVR debuted its new graphics along with new music, a new set, and a new main anchor team of Sam Shane (from MSNBC and KCRA) and Pallas Hupé (from Detroit Fox station WJBK). The evening newscast has instituted a three-anchor format. The program begins with Shane and Hupé anchoring the major news stories of the day, deferring to anchor/reporter Brandi Hitt for World and National News stories. The unique three-anchor setup remains during Weekend prime-time newscasts with rotating anchors.

The news department has also launched a daily sports segment during its newscasts with sports anchor Arran Andersen (from KOLD-TV). KOVR had been without a competitive sports department since the departure of John Henk in the late 1990s.

Most KOVR personalities with the station during the Sinclair years have either been fired or have resigned. Dismissals of former lead anchors Paul Joncich and Jennifer Whitney were sudden and unannounced whereas personalities Marcy Valenzuela and Jennifer Krier were allowed to say farewell to viewers on air. Remaining on-air staff include Chief Weatherman Dave Bender, Investigative Reporter Kurtis Ming, and Health Reporter Diana Penna.

KOVR newscasts are now broadcast in High Definition as of October 2008. Rush Limbaugh controversy

In May 2007, KOVR revamped its morning news program with an emphasis on its website. The 5 AM to 6 AM newscast, called "", featured anchor Chris Burrous, reporter Lisa Gonzales and weather personality Jeff James in a show centered around viewer feedback through the web, viral videos and news found on the Internet.

On May 7, 2009, reported on a song that conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh played heavily on his nationally-syndicated program called "Barack the Magic Negro" that spoofed the now-President Barack Obama. ran a poll asking people whether they thought the song was racist. Limbaugh, in turn, claimed KOVR was a part of the "liberal media" and called the Burrous–Gonzales–James team "morons". In newscasts throughout the day, KOVR covered Limbaugh's lash-out against the station, adding with a disclaimer after every story that KOVR never intended to couple Limbaugh with the parody song and admitting that the station found the song on video sharing website YouTube.

News Logo History

In the 1970s, KOVR-TV used a logo for Channel 13 Action News. The logo consisted of a middle-sized word saying "Action", and a larger word saying "News". Below the words there was KOVR's 1960s-1970s logo, and arrows pointing both ways on both sides of the logo. In the 1980s, KOVR used a new logo for NewsWatch 13. The logo had the italicized word "News" and the stylized "13" logo on the side, with the word "Watch" on the bottom.

Current Personalities/ Joined Date




Spanish Language Interpreters

Notable alumni

News/Station presentation

Newscast titles

  • The Sixth Hour Report / The Eleventh Hour Report (1966-1974)
  • Channel 13 Action News (1974-1980)
  • NewsWatch 13 (1980-1987)
  • KOVR 13 News (1987-2005)
  • CBS 13 News (2005-present)

Station slogans

  • Northern California's Fastest Growing News Service (mid 1980s-1987)
  • All the News for Northern California (1989-1995)
  • For All of Northern California (1995-2004)
  • Asking Questions. Getting Answers. (2008-present)
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Digital Television and High-Definition

After the analog television shutdown on June 12, 2009 [1], KOVR remained on its pre-transition channel number, 25 [2] PSIP is used to display KOVR's virtual channel as 13.

In October 2008, KOVR-TV started broadcasting its newscasts in high-definition. Only in-studio cameras are high-defiinition at this time. No plans have been announced to make field cameras high-def at this time. In-studio sister station KMAX-TV also started producing their newscasts in high-definition in Summer 2009.

Digital television

KOVR-DT broadcasts on digital channel 25.

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
13.1 KOVR-DT CBS 13/CBS HD Programming

KOVR is available on cable in portions of the Chico-Redding market as well.

External links



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