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KPLR-TV, channel 11, is a television station in St. Louis, Missourimarker. KPLR is owned by the Tribune Company, and is an affiliate of the CW Television Network. The station's studios are located in Maryland Heights, Missourimarker, in Northwest St. Louis Countymarker (though with a St. Louis address), and its transmitter is located in Lemay, Missourimarker.

History

KPLR commenced broadcasting on April 28, 1959, as the first independent station in Missouri. The station's call letters were derived from the name of its founding owner, St. Louis real-estate developer and hotelier Harold Koplar. Despite losing in his quest to build the station from the ground-up, Koplar acquired the station's license in 1958 through controversial circumstances.

CBS was originally granted a construction permit by the Federal Communications Commission to build channel 11 in 1955, prevailing over four other locally-based competitors. But two years later, in 1957, CBS decided instead to purchase its existing affiliate, KWK-TV (channel 4). As a condition of the channel 4 purchase, the FCC required CBS to relinquish the channel 11 construction permit. CBS did so by transferring it to the Koplar group, known as 220 Television, Incorporated, in a money-less transaction. Almost immediately, the three-way deal was held up after the St. Louis Amusement Company, one of the applicants for channel 11, protested to the United States Court of Appeals in January 1958. The appeal was dropped in November 1958, and the deal was consummated shortly thereafter. CBS renamed its new channel 4 station KMOX-TV -- the call letters intended for channel 11 -- and operated it for 28 years (it is now Belo Corporation-owned KMOVmarker). Meanwhile, Koplar went to work building channel 11 on its own, no longer in the face of opposition.

KPLR's first studios were located within the Koplar-owned Chase Park Plaza Hotel, located on Maryland Plaza in St. Louis' Central West Endmarker district. Channel 11 would move into a separate facility adjacent to the hotel several years later. Starting in the mid-1960s Harold's son, Edward J. "Ted" Koplar, began working behind the scenes at KPLR, producing sports programming and developing the station's first regular newscast. Ted Koplar became president and chief executive officer of channel 11 in 1979, and gained complete control of the station upon his father's death in 1985. Koplar also diversified the family's entertainment holdings during his time at the helm of KPLR, most notably through World Events Productions, which distributed the animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, and later developed and co-produced another, Denver, the Last Dinosaur.

For most of its existence, KPLR was a traditional independent with cartoons, sitcoms, movies, dramas, and news. Channel 11 has also served as the home broadcaster of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (two stints, 1959-1962 and 1988-2006), the NBA's St. Louis Hawks (1959-1968) and the NHL's St. Louis Blues (three stints, 1967-1976, 1982-1983, and 1986-2009). The station was also available on many cable systems in Missouri, Illinoismarker and Arkansasmarker until the late 1980s. Locally, channel 11's first -- and only -- competitor came in 1969, when local interests put KDNL-TVmarker (channel 30) on the air. However, it was never a real threat to KPLR in the ratings.

Beginning on May 23, 1959, KPLR broadcast Wrestling at the Chase, a professional wrestling program produced first from Chase-Park Plaza's Khorassan Ballroom (until 1970). The show featured the most famous wrestlers in the National Wrestling Alliance, which was controlled in part by St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick. Participants included Ric Flair, Harley Race, former NFL player Dick the Bruiser, and Ted DiBiase, among others, and is considered one of the pro wrestling industry's most historic programs. About 1,100 episodes were produced during the show's run, which ended on September 10, 1983.

KPLR also aired and produced Captain 11's Showboat, an after-school program for children, that introduced The Three Stooges to St. Louis area television viewers, from 1959 until 1968. Captain 11 was played by long-time radio personality Harry Fender.

KPLR turned down an offer to affiliate with the upstart Fox network in 1986, instead choosing to remain an independent station (the affiliation went to KDNL). In 1995, KPLR decided to affiliate with the newly created WB Television Network, but later that same year, KPLR also was offered the ABC affiliation after that network's longtime St. Louis station, KTVImarker (channel 2) switched to Fox through a group deal with incoming owner New World Communications. Channel 11 turned ABC down, effectively sending them to the former Fox affiliate, KDNL. Beginning in 1999 KPLR also carried a secondary UPN affiliation, running cartoons from UPN's "Disney Block" and select other UPN shows. UPN programming had been previously run on KDNL during overnight and weekend hours, as St. Louis was one of the few large markets that did not have a full-time UPN affiliate, though they finally gained a St. Louis station in WRBUmarker (channel 46), in 2002.

Koplar Communications sold KPLR to ACME Communications in 1997, ending 38 years of local, family ownership. In the sale agreement, Ted Koplar signed a three-year contract to stay with KPLR-TV as its CEO, along with serving as a consultant to ACME. However, Koplar resigned only a year later, citing an irreconcilable rift. [77612].

For many years, even after joining the WB, KPLR was known as "St. Louis 11." It often used a logo with the "O" in "St. Louis" (which had a resemblance to the Gateway Archmarker) converted into its "circle 11" numeric logo. KPLR changed its branding and became known as "WB 11" in 1998. In March 2003, ACME Communications sold KPLR and sister station KWBPmarker in Portland, Oregonmarker to the Tribune Company.

In September 2006, the WB and UPN networks merged into a new network called The CW. The new network signed a 10-year affiliation agreement with most of Tribune's WB stations, including KPLR.

On Sunday, April 9, 2006, The Fan Show, hosted by Rich Gould, debuted. It is a live sports-related show broadcasted from The Casino Queen's Club Sevens for the first year and a half, but starting in December 2007 it is hosted at AJ's Bar and Grill, with audience-participation games and discussion. Gould remarked in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview about the show that "it's live TV in its rawest form. It's essentially a time machine back to the 1950s...in fact, some of the games I stole from Beat the Clock." The show's last episode aired on September 7, 2008.



On Wednesday, May 31, 2006 The Tube debuted on 11.2 on ATSC broadcast. The Tube began broadcasting on Charter Cable channel 136 on August 2, 2006. The Tube suspended operations on October 1, 2007.

On September 17, 2008, Local TV, which had recently bought KTVI, and Tribune announced that they would merge the operations of KTVI and KPLR under an LMA. KTVI will be the senior partner in the LMA, with KTVI general manager Spencer Koch as general manager of the combined operation. However, the two stations will be housed at KPLR's studios. The move was done to allow both stations to combine news operations and share certain programming. The LMA officially took effect October 1, 2008.

On November 1, 2008, the station rebranded with their calls again as KPLR 11 as part of Tribune's shift away from the common CW branding with their CW stations, and returned to a logo featuring the Gateway Arch. The logo is essentially a revised version of the logo used by the station when it was a WB station under Tribune ownership.

On September 8, 2008, KPLR launched a unique schedule where the station's 9pm newscast moved to 7pm and stretched to an hour-long show, with the CW lineup airing from 8pm-10pm instead of its traditional 7pm-9pm berth in the Central Time Zone. The station cited an underserved younger audience in the 9pm timeslot with the Big Three stations airing network programming meant for older viewers and KTVImarker's 9pm newscast, and had acquired permission from the network itself before going forward with the experiment .

On February 16, 2009, KPLR became the fourth station in St. Louis to broadcast in 1080i High Definition a day after sister station KTVI, and behind KSDK which has been in HD since 2006 and KMOV which has been in HD since 2008.

On April 6, 2009, KPLR debuted a new newscast called "News 11 at Noon". The newscast is anchored by Christine Buck, and Chief Meteorologist John Fuller does the weather. Also, McGraw Milhaven from KTRS in St. Louis, does feature stories on Tuesday's and Thursday's. Later that month, the station announced that it was dropping its coverage of the Blues, airing their last game (a 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs loss to the Vancouver Canucks) on April 21st.

News Operations

Traditionally, like most non-"Big Three" stations, KPLR has aired a newscast an hour back of the major stations--in this case, at 9 P.M. Since KTVI moved their news to 9 following their affiliation switch, they have consistently beaten KPLR in the ratings. The newscast moved to 7pm Monday-Friday, which began September 8, 2008.

KPLR has in the past tried to program their news to a younger audience, with most of their anchors being under 35 and with a more fast-paced style of broadcast. However, in a city where most television personalities have been around for years and the perennial ratings winner, KSDK, does not have a main presenter who has less than 10 years tenure, this has for the most part caused them to struggle, in addition to what is perceived as a "soft" approach to news. Nevertheless, KPLR has often been pointed out by Post-Dispatch television critics as a good "sweep story" station, where during November, January and May sweeps the station will plug one or more major investigative pieces. KPLR's stories have been seen as much more broad-based and less sensationalistic.

On September 17, 2008 both Local and Tribune announced that they would merge the operations of both KTVI and KPLR. Both stations will be co-located at KPLR under the management of KTVI GM Spencer Koch. The move was done to allow both stations to combine news operations and share certain programming. The LMA took place on October 1, 2008.

On April 6, 2009, KPLR ventured into the noon news market with a new newscast called "News 11 at Noon". The newscast is anchored by Christine Buck who has been with the station for over 30 years, and Chief Meteorologist John Fuller.

News/Station Presentation

News Sets, Music and Graphics Packages

In 2003, KPLR moved out of its traditional home at the Chase Park Plaza (which by that time had gone from a gutted complex in which the station was the only major tenant into a boutique hotel) into a new purpose-built building in Westport with a new newsroom and studio. A new WB11 logo was debuted along with new graphics and music. In late January 2006, KPLR updated its graphics. They also updated their logo, from being blue to being red. In September 2006, the logos were redesigned with the new CW logos and graphics. In November 2008 the logos were once again changed, returning the arch to the logo, it now goes around the silver letters that say KPLR-11. The Silver Letters formally said CW11 without the arch.

In December 2008, KPLR began broadcasting from KTVI's studios as KPLR's facility began remodeling to accommodate both KPLR and KTVI's newscasts. The temporary set includes an anchor desk, green screen, and a mini-weather center.

On February 16th, 2009, KPLR first began their HD newscasts in their newly remodeled studio located a few feet adjacent to KTVImarker's studio. The new studio contains pieces from the "old" KTVI Studio B set along with a new modern news desk and a state of the art weather center.

Newscast Titles

  • Channel 11 News (1966-1972)
  • KPLR-TV News Watch (1972-1977)
  • News Watch 11 (1977-1990)
  • St. Louis 11 News at Nine (1990-1997)
  • WB 11 News at Nine (1998-2006)
  • CW 11 News at Nine (2006-2008)
  • CW 11 News in Prime (2008)
  • News 11 (2008-present)


Station Slogans

  • Count On Us (1990-1997)
  • It's About Time (1998-2006)
  • Where People Are the Story (2006-2008)
  • First, Complete, Local (2008-present)
  • The One's To Watch (2009-present)


News Music Packages

  • Tuesday 4 (?-1984)
  • KPLR News (1984-1989)
  • WHAS News (1989-1991)
  • Impact (1996-1998)
  • Magnum (1998-2001)
  • Production Music (2001-2003)
  • Power News (2003-2006)
  • Momentum News (2006-2008)
  • Extreme (2008-present)


Personalities

Current On-Air Talent

Current Anchors
  • Christine Buck - "News at Noon" anchor (also general assignment reporter at nights). Sometimes appears on KTVI-TVmarker, usually during the 11 AM newscast.
  • Dan Gray - "News 11 at 7" anchor
  • Melanie Moon - "News 11 at 7" anchor


Reporter

In addition to providing reports on KPLR-TV, News 11 reporters also provides reports for KTVI-TVmarker.
  • Jeff Bernthal - Lead Story reporter


News 11 Weather
  • John Fuller - Chief Meteorologist; weekdays at Noon and weeknights at 7PM. Occasionally makes appearances on KTVI-TVmarker 11 AM newscast.
  • Michelle Anselmo - Meteorologist; Anchor & Weathercaster for the Sunday 7pm News, Reporter & Weather on KPLR/KTVI


Sports Team
  • Rich Gould - Sports Director; weeknights at 7PM
  • Kurt LaBelle - Sports / News Reporter


Past Personalities

  • Don Bell - sports (currently at KYW-TVmarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Gabrielle Biondo - reporter
  • Shelley Bortz - reporter
  • Bryan Busby - meteorologist (currently at KMBC in Kansas City)
  • Don Clark - anchor
  • Patrick Clark - reporter
  • Cree Craig - anchor
  • Steve Draganchuk - meteorologist/reporter
  • Dan Eassa - sports (currently at WFTS in Tampa)
  • Rick Edlund - anchor
  • Mark Ferree - meteorologist
  • Ethan Forhetz - reporter (currently at KYTV in Springfield, Missouri)
  • Kelli Eggers - anchor
  • Dave Erickson - anchor (1999-2002; currently main anchor at KXLY-TV in Spokane, Washington)
  • Matt Gamewell - reporter
  • Kelley Hoskins - reporter (currently at KTVI)
  • Kathryn Jamboretz - anchor (2000-2007; currently at KTRS-AM)
  • Kara Kaswell - anchor/reporter (currently at KMOV)
  • Sandy Miller - anchor (currently at KTVI)
  • Tony Miller - reporter
  • Victor Ojeda - reporter
  • Theresa Petry - reporter
  • Bob Ramsey - sports
  • Bill Rees - anchor
  • Steve Schiff - anchor
  • Garry Seith - chief meteorologist (1999-2006; currently at KTXA in Dallas-Fort Worth)
  • Keryn Shipman - chief meteorologist (2006-2008)
  • Jon Sloan - sports anchor
  • Melanie Streeper - weather anchor
  • Bill Thomas - news director
  • Telly Hughes - sports reporter (currently at FSN North)
  • Evelyn Wilkerson - reporter
  • Henry Rothenberg - meteorologist (currently at WPTY-TV in Memphis)
  • Julie Piekarski - news reporter


Digital Television

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion to take place on June 12, 2009, KPLR-DT will continue on channel 26. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display KPLR-DT's virtual channel as 11.

References

External links




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