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Ion Television logo.svg
Tolleson / Phoenix, Arizona
Branding ION Television
Channel Digital: 51 (UHF)
Subchannels See below
Affiliations Ion Television
Owner Ion Media Networks, Inc.
(America 51, LP)
First air date February 15, 1999
Callsign meaning Phoenix's PaX TV
Former channels Analog:
51 (UHF, 1988-2009)
52 (UHF, until 2009)
Former affiliations Pax TV (1999-2005)
i (2005-2007)
Effective power 1000 kW
Height 536 m
Facility ID 26655
Antenna coordinates 33°20′2.7″N 112°3′40.7″W / 33.334083°N 112.061306°W / 33.334083; -112.061306

KPPX-TV is a full-service television station licensed to Tolleson, Arizona and serving the Phoenix metropolitan area from its transmitter on South Mountain. It broadcasts exclusively in digital on UHF channel 51, having completed the conversion to DTV on February 17, 2009. Founded December 21, 1988, the station is owned and operated by the Ion Television network (formerly PAX TV and i) through the subsidiary Phoenix 51, L.P.



On December 21, 1988, the Federal Communications Commission granted a construction permit to Hector Garcia Salvatierra of Phoenix to build a full-service television station serving Tolleson and the Phoenix metropolitan area on UHF channel 51. The construction permit remained inactive for over six years until January 1995, when Salvatierra secured a site license to build facilities on South Mountain, and the station took the call letters KAJW.

In July 1996, Salvatierra entered into an agreement with Paxson Communications (now ion Media Networks) to sell a 49% interest of his company to Paxson and to transfer the construction permit and site license to Paxson to build the television station under the new ownership entity America 51 L.P.[1] The station changed its call letters to KPPX in March 1998 to reflect the new Pax network, and in February 1999, KPPX went on the air, broadcasting under Program Test Authority until its license was granted on April 20, 2000. Salvatierra sold the remaining interest in the company to Paxson Communications in November 2000.[2]

The FCC granted a construction permit to build digital facilities on March 1, 2001, to operate on UHF channel 52 until the end of the digital transition. Facilities were completed and licensed on December 20, 2002. Because its allocated pre-transition digital channel was outside the range of core frequencies designated by the FCC (channels 2-51), KPPX chose channel 51 for its permanent digital television operations, to go into effect at the end of the digital transition, which, at the time, was scheduled for February 17, 2009. Although the DTV Delay Act became law on February 11, 2009, postponing the required analog shutoff until June 12, 2009, KPPX made the decision to proceed with final conversion on February 17, which was approved by the FCC.[3].

Digital channels

Channel Format Programming
51.1 720p Main KPPX programming
51.2 480i qubo
51.3 480i ION Life
51.4 480i Worship

Unauthorized programming

On March 12, 2007, during a 9pm airing of ION Life, a rebroadcast of an NBC special hosted by Tom Brokaw regarding the "State of U.S. Health Care", a station employee inserted between 1-10 minutes (sources vary on the exact amount shown) of a pornographic film into the broadcast. Local station viewers then registered complaints with the station, the network offices in West Palm Beach, Florida, local cable provider Cox Communications, and the FCC about the indecent content.[4] KPPX promised a thorough investigation to find the person responsible, and on March 20, the employee found to be responsible was fired, with possible further legal actions from Ion Television and the FCC.[5]

Other Phoenix stations on channel 51

In the early 1990s, while the construction permit for the full-service channel 51 station languished, the FCC granted a construction permit to build a low-power television station on channel 51. On March 12, 1993, a permit for station K51EI was granted to Community Service Television Company of San Bernardino, California, but the station was never completed. In January 1995, the construction permit for the full-service station was reactivated, and the permit for the low-power station was ended. The K51EI callsign was deleted in February 1996.


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