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KGAN, broadcasting on UHF channel 51 (Virtual channel 2.1), is a CBS-affiliated television station based in Cedar Rapids, Iowamarker. KGAN is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and is the primary CBS affiliate for northeast Iowamarker, including Iowa Citymarker, Waterloomarker, and Dubuquemarker.


On September 30, 1953, WMT-TV began broadcasting. General manager William B. Quarton made some remarks, which were then followed by a broadcast of a World Series game between the Yankees and Dodgers. The station was primarily a CBS affiliate, but also carried DuMont programs.

The station was authorized to transmit at 100,000 watts, and WMT-TV became the very first station to transmit at full power. The station was licensed to serve the Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque areas, making it the first station to be given split-market status by the Federal Communications Commission. Initially the station was owned by a group consisting of American Broadcasting Stations, Quarton, and several others. WMT-TV was a sister station of WMT-AM 600, which had been broadcasting in the area since 1922. The call sign stood for the Waterloo Morning Tribune, which owned WMT radio from 1928 until 1934.

The station was based at what came to be known as Broadcast Park. When the KGAN facilities were first built, the surrounding area was still mainly rural. A 702 foot (214 meter) high broadcast tower was built to transmit the signal. This tower served as the primary tower for the next four years. In 1956 a taller tower near Walker, Iowamarker, was built to transmit the signal, but a storm on December 10 blew the tower down. The tower was soon rebuilt, and remains in service today.

In 1968, WMT-AM-FM-TV was sold to the Morton family of Louisville, Kentuckymarker. The Morton family's holdings eventually became known as Orion Broadcasting. The WMT stations would remain under Orion's ownership until 1981, when Orion merged with Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of insurance and broadcasting conglomerate Liberty Corporation. However, the two companies owned more TV stations than the FCC allowed at the time. As a condition of the sale, Cosmos had to sell WMT-TV, and found a buyer in Guy Gannett Publishing of Portland, Mainemarker. On October 16, 1981 WMT-TV changed its callsign to KGAN-TV. The station was purchased by Sinclair, along with most of Gannett's broadcasting holdings, in 1999. Sinclair then announced the sale of KGAN, along with WICSmarker in Springfield, Illinoismarker and WICDmarker in Champaign, Illinoismarker, to Sunrise Television that same year. However, the FCC did not allow Sunrise to buy WICS/WICD due to Sunrise's ownership structure. Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (HMTF), an investment firm controlled by Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks, owned a large block of Sunrise stock. HMTF is majority stockholder of LIN TV, then-owner of WANDmarker in Decaturmarker. The FCC ruled that HMTF held enough stock in Sunrise that an acquisition of WICS/WICD would have resulted in a duopoly between two of the four highest-rated stations in the Central Illinois market—something which is forbidden by FCC rules. Since KGAN was part of the package deal, it would not have been sold to Sunrise alone, without the inclusion of WICS/WICD. As such, Sinclair retained ownership of all three stations.

The weather department at WMT-TV was highly revered by eastern Iowans for many decades under the direction of Conrad Johnson in the 1960s and 1970s. Shortly after his retirement, longtime meteorologist Dave Towne continued that tradition for another decade. Dave was joined briefly by Andre Bernier (weekday morning and noon weather) in 1981. Andre left KGAN-TV in March 1982 when he became part of the launch team for The Weather Channel. In 1984, Dave Towne brought Doppler RADAR to KGAN, the first television station in the Cedar Rapids area to utilize Doppler Radar for its weathercasts and for severe weather coverage. Dave Towne took a sabbatical from television to pursue other interests and returned briefly to KGAN on weekends, but has now retired from Cedar Rapids television altogether. Tim Heller was a popular weather anchor in the early 1990s who grew up not too far away from Cedar Rapids, but left for sunnier weather and a larger market in Texas.

The station has won two George Foster Peabody awards. The first Peabody Award was awarded in 1956 for the station's role in developing "The Secret of Flight" television programs. These programs were made with the assistance of Dr. Alexander Lippisch, who was the director of the Collins Aeronautical Research Laboratory. The programs focused on aeronautical education. Later, in 1994, KGAN won another Peabody award. This Peabody was awarded for the work investigative reporter Sandy Riesgraf performed in helping to expose a sewer solvent scandal.

KGAN began producing FOX 17 News at Nine (now known as FOX News at Nine) in 2001, for their Sinclair Broadcast Group sister station, KDSMmarker, in Des Moines. In 2002, Cedar Rapids Fox affiliate, KFXAmarker began simulcasting the newscast to its Eastern Iowa viewers. KGAN produced KDSM's newscasts until September 2, 2008, when WHO-TVmarker in Des Moines took over production.

On January 5, 2007, KGAN was pulled from Mediacom systems as part of an ongoing retransmission dispute between Mediacom and Sinclair. The move threatened to leave many eastern Iowa cable viewers without coverage of Super Bowl XLI, even though some viewers in KGAN's viewing area were served by other CBS affiliates such as WHBF-TVmarker in the Quad Citiesmarker, which was added to Mediacom's lineup in Iowa City shortly before the impasse. The dispute ended on February 2, when the two sides reached an agreement that restored KGAN to Mediacom systems.

KGAN has frequently pre-empted shows from CBS, like in the past, CBS Kids shows pre-empted by movies, sports and paid programs, today CBS 2 pre-empts programming from CBS in favor of special paid programs such as Billy Graham.

KGAN did not have a morning newscast until June 16, 2008 when KGAN debuted their new morning newscast. This was in part due to the Iowa Flood of 2008 that was still ongoing. KGAN moved the CBS Early Show to its 7am to 9am timeslot. They also debuted a 5pm Newscast on the same day.

In early 2008, Sinclair announced its purchase of KFXA from Second Generation of Iowa. Normally, the Federal Communications Commission's duopoly rules forbid common ownership of two of the four largest stations in a single media market. Sinclair, which had already acquired the non-license assets of KFXA, is expected to seek a "failing station" waiver from the FCC to acquire KFXA's license.

Lawsuit against the City of Cedar Rapids

During the late summer of 2008, KGAN-TV filed a lawsuit against the City of Cedar Rapids for failing to give KGAN full access to e-mail messages related to the floods of 2008. The lawsuit has yet to be decided.

Personalities and programming

CBS 2 News Staff:
  • Jared Aarons - Sports Director
  • Lee Dennis - Weather
  • Brittney Hibbs - Reporter
  • Chris Jones - Reporter
  • Chris Jose - Reporter/Sports
  • Kristian Leitzen - Reporter
  • Mace Michaels - Weather
  • Jack Miller - Anchor
  • Lindsey Morone - Reporter
  • Kelly O'Connell - Anchor
  • Tiffany O'Donnell - Anchor
  • Jamie Oberg - Reporter
  • Robert Price - Reporter
  • Justin Roberts - Weather
  • Tim Seymour - Anchor
  • Kristine Ward - Anchor

Former Personalities

  • Pete Seyfer
  • Amy Johnson
  • Tim Heller
  • Mike Doocy
  • Karen Hoskins
  • Cary J.
  • Hahn
  • Sandy Riesgraf
  • Mark Kulda
  • John Miller
  • Curtis Miles
  • Jodi Huisentruit
  • Joe Vigil
  • Kris Pedelty

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • Channel 2 News (1980s-1991)
  • KGAN NewsChannel 2 (1991-2004)
  • CBS 2 News (2004-present)

Station Slogans

  • Hello, Iowa (1983-1987; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • We Know What Matters (1987-1993)
  • NewsChannel 2, KGAN Says Hello (1993-1996; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • Your News Station for Eastern Iowa (1996-2004)
  • Built for Breaking News (2004-present)

Digital Television

On February 17, 2009, KGAN's digital signal remained on channel 51 when the analog to digital conversion completed.


External links

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