KCRG-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 9, is a dual ABC/MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States and serving the Eastern Iowa television market (Cedar Rapids–Waterloo–Iowa City–Dubuque). The station is owned by Gray Television. KCRG-TV's studios are located on Second Avenue Southeast in downtown Cedar Rapids, and its transmitter is located near Walker, Iowa. On cable, the station is available on Mediacom channel 9 and in high definition on digital channel 809.
Iowa City/Dubuque, Iowa
|City||Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
|Branding||KCRG-TV 9 (general)|
KCRG-TV 9 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your 24-Hour News (and Weather) Source|
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)|
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
9.3: Antenna TV
9.4: Heroes & Icons
9.5: Start TV
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||October 15, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||K-Cedar|
(former sister newspaper)
|Sister station(s)||Quad Cities: KWQC-TV|
Madison, WI: WMTV
La Crosse/Eau Claire, WI: WEAU
|Former callsigns||KCRI-TV (1953–1954)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
9 (VHF, 1953–2009)
52 (UHF, 2003–2009)
|Transmitter power||18 kW|
|Height||607 m (1,991 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°18′58.4″N 91°51′31.1″W|
|Public license information||Profile|
During the late 1940s, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, then-owners of KCRG-AM 1600, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a TV station license. At the time, the FCC had a backlog of over 200 applications and had decided not to proceed with action on further applications until the backlogged requests could be filled.
After the backlog was cleared, many applications were filed for licenses. The Gazette Company didn't want to compete for a license and decided to withdraw the initial application. Instead, it joined with a number of other investors as Cedar Rapids Television Company (CRTV), which was granted a license for channel 9. The station began broadcasting October 15, 1953.
Initially, the station was known as KCRI because the other investors didn't want the new television station so closely identified with the Gazette newspaper. The radio station also took the KCRI call sign because one of the television station's managers suggested that every mention of "KCRG" on-air was a promotion for the newspaper—one for which the Gazette would have to pay each time. After about a year of operation, the Gazette bought out its partners in CRTV and the station was renamed KCRG-TV in 1954.
From 1954 to 2015, the station remained under the ownership of Gazette Communications, which was renamed the SourceMedia Group in mid-2010. After the 1996 sale of WHO-TV in Des Moines, KCRG-TV was the only locally owned and operated television station left in Iowa. KCRG started broadcasting in high definition television in January 2003. The station also had the first news helicopter in Iowa, "NewsCopter 9".
KCRG's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009. The station had attempted to convert on February 17, 2009 with the majority of other Cedar Rapids stations, but the FCC requested they maintain one analog commercial network signal for the market for the remaining four months. Upon KCRG-TV's digital transition completion in June 2009, the "KCRG-TV" callsign was legally transferred from the now-defunct analog channel 9 to the new digital channel 9 with the "KCRG-DT" callsign being permanently discontinued.
In September 2015, Atlanta-based Gray Television and Gazette Communications announced they had an agreement where Gray Television would buy KCRG-TV for $100 million, with the transfer taking place on October 1. The sale was completed on November 1.
KCRG became a sister to KWQC-TV in nearby Davenport after Gray purchased the NBC affiliate as a condition of its owner, Media General, merging with Nexstar Broadcasting Group (now Nexstar Media Group), parent of rival WHBF-TV. In 2019, Ottumwa station KYOU-TV came under common ownership with KCRG when Gray completed its merger with Raycom Media, acquiring the Fox/NBC-affiliated station outright from American Spirit Media.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|9.1||720p||16:9||KCRG-D1||Main KCRG-TV programming / ABC|
|9.4||KCRG-D4||Heroes & Icons|
KCRG has a digital subchannel called "KCRG 9.2" at channel 9.2, which originally aired a wheel schedule of local news, weather and features. The remainder of the screen had a news ticker, current weather conditions, rotating weather images and program listings. Over time, syndicated and locally produced programs were added, culminating in the addition of MyNetworkTV to the subchannels in October 2011, one month after KWKB dropped the service and became a sole CW affiliate. However, MyNetworkTV's programming runs as a late night offering on 9.2, airing from 12:05–2:05 a.m., five hours later than its usual primetime running time. Subchannel 9.2 is also used to air ABC network programming pre-empted on the main signal for breaking news coverage; a prime example was during the Great Iowa Flood of June 2008, when 9.2 carried ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals while 9.1 devoted full coverage of the disaster.
The schedule of 9.2 prominently features live and taped local sports coverage, including regular season and state championship coverage of volleyball, wrestling, soccer, baseball, football, and basketball (the latter two sports are broadcast on Friday evenings). Also featured are coverage of the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL hockey), Cedar Rapids Kernels (Midwest League baseball), and University of Northern Iowa athletics. The subchannel also airs Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox telecasts originating from WGN-TV. Ancillary sports programming includes the discussion show On Iowa Live and the Zach Johnson Foundation pro-am golf tournament.
In late August 2011, KCRG added a third subchannel, 9.3, branded "WXNow" and featuring local forecasts and looping conditions originated locally from station weather computers. On October 1, 2013, the WXNow loop was moved to an online-only streaming channel on the station's website and replaced on 9.3 by the lifestyle-oriented Live Well Network. With Live Well slated to discontinue programming in January 2015, subchannel 9.3 joined Antenna TV that month, taking over the network's Eastern Iowa affiliation from KWKB (subchannel 20.2).
At the start of March 2019, KCRG added two more subchannels on 9.4 and 9.5, carrying Heroes & Icons and Start TV respectively, as part of a multi-station deal with Gray and Weigel Broadcasting, which owns H&I and Start TV. The new subchannels were made possible with a multiplexer upgrade which also resulted in KCRG-DT2 being upgraded to an HD presentation.
KCRG airs America This Morning at 4 a.m. due to the 4:30 a.m. start of their newscasts. Syndicated programs on KCRG include Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Big Bang Theory, The Dr. Oz Show, and Rachael Ray. TV-9 also carries games for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team selected for broadcast by ABC.
The station also produces PowerHouse TV, a program about energy efficiency and safety, for local utility Alliant Energy, which airs on KCRG and stations throughout Alliant's service area in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and small portions of Illinois and Missouri.
Currently, KCRG-TV broadcasts a total of 31 hours of local newscasts each week (with 5 hours on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays, and three hours on Sundays). In addition to its main newsroom at its Cedar Rapids studios, the station also operates satellite newsrooms in Dubuque and Iowa City. It previously operated a news bureau in Waterloo.
KCRG-TV is one of three remaining broadcast television stations in the United States employing the "24 Hour News Source" format, which it began using in 1990. The other stations are, as of November 2014: NBC affiliate WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan and CW affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis.
Upon retirement, Meteorologist Denny Frary was the station's longest-running on-air personality, working for KCRG from 1974 until he retired November 17, 2006. Sports director John Campbell, who had also been with the station since the 1970s, retired in 2012. News reporter Dave Franzman also has been with the station since the 1970s, while Bruce Aune started anchoring at KCRG in 1986.
KCRG's first use of a satellite to broadcast 'live' (local) news was December 31, 1982 when Sports Director John Campbell reported the Iowa Hawkeyes had defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 28-22 to win the 1982 Peach Bowl at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. Use of satellite 'air time' was reported to be $3,000.00 a minute.
On January 21, 2012, KCRG-TV became the second station in the Cedar Rapids/Waterloo/Dubuque/Iowa City market to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. The switch to HD came with brand-new logo, graphics, news set and a new 113-inch (290 cm) interactive touch screen that will be used for weather and other interactive storytelling. It is the largest interactive touch screen of its kind in the United States and the third largest in the world.
Notable current and former on-air staff
- Bruce Aune - (1986–current); appears as KCRG-TV newscaster in The Crazies
- Dick Fletcher - (1960s?–1970s?); died in 2008
- Liz Mathis - anchor (1998–2007); then Horizons, Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, now State Senator for Iowa's District 18
- Curt Menefee - sports reporter (1984–1988); now co-host of Fox NFL Sunday
- Tom Pettit - news reporter (1950s); NBC News correspondent (1960s–1995); died in 1995
- "KCRG-TV9 sold to Gray Television", KCRG.com, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Gazette Communications, September 1, 2015, archived from the original on September 3, 2015, retrieved September 1, 2015
- Consummation Notice CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved November 3, 2016.
- Carros, Adam (June 3, 2016). "KCRG parent company buys Quad Cities station". KCRG-TV. Gray Television. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "ABC to Discontinue Live Well Network," from Broadcasting & Cable, September 6, 2014
- "KCRG Cedar Rapids To Launch Antenna TV," from TVNewsCheck, March 12, 2014
- "KCRG-TV9 adds new channels starting Friday". KCRG-TV. March 1, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- KCRG-TV9 Staff (November 12, 2015). "Denny Frary keynote speaker at Red Kettle kick off". The Gazette. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Where are they now?: Dennis (Denny) Frary, class of 1970" (PDF). The Lincoln Log: Fall/Winter 2009. p. 14. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "John Campbell". kcrg.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Dave Franzman". kcrg.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Bruce Aune". kcrg.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Eastern Iowa stations plan plenty of Peach Bowl coverage". The Des Moines Register. December 26, 1982. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Into the Outback…: TV9 Team". kcrgsports.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Into the Outback…: Final Outback Bowl Thoughts". kcrgsports.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- KCRG Sets Alarm Clock for 4:30 A.M., TVNewsCheck.com, December 22, 2010.
- Winters, Joe (January 16, 2012). "Your New Nine: The Winds of Change Are Blowing Through KCRG-TV9". kcrg.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012.
- "Bruce Aune". IMDb. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)