KDNL-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for St. Louis, Missouri. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 31 from a transmitter in Shrewsbury. The station can also be seen on Charter channel 12 and in high definition on digital channel 780. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, KDNL has studios on Cole Street in the Downtown West section of St. Louis. Syndicated programming on the station includes: The Simpsons, Judge Mathis, Maury, and Swift Justice with Nancy Grace. The station broadcasts in stereo and features a Secondary Audio Program channel used mainly for Descriptive Video Service.
|St. Louis, Missouri|
|Branding||ABC 30 (general)
|Slogan||St. Louis' Leader in Entertainment Programming|
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)Virtual: 30 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||30.1 ABC30.2 TheCoolTV30.3 The Country Network|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group
(KDNL Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||June 8, 1969|
|Former channel number(s)||30 (UHF analog, 1969-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1969-1986)Fox (1986-1995)UPN (secondary, 1995-1998)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|30.1||31.1||720p||16:9||main KDNL programming/ABC HD|
|30.3||31.3||480i||4:3||KDNL-DT3 The Country Network|
The station started broadcasting on June 8, 1969 as the first UHF television station in the St. Louis market. It began as an independent station owned by Evans Broadcasting. KDNL ran a format of business news, religious shows, rejected network programming from KSDK and KTVI, and old movies. Several years later, it offered Japanese live-action and cartoons dubbed into English including: Johnny Sokko, Speed Racer, Marine Boy, and Ultraman.
By 1976, the station ran religious shows in the early-morning, rejected network shows in the late-morning, and business news in the early-afternoon. This was followed by a couple of cartoons in the late-afternoon, westerns and some old sitcoms in the evening, and a few older movies during prime time and late night. Also in 1976, KDNL began televising St. Louis Blues hockey games for five seasons.
In 1977, the business news was gradually eliminated and made way for a few more second-hand classic sitcoms. The Japanese English dubbed shows were phased out as well. The station finally moved to a more conventional independent station but far behind KPLR (channel 11). Its big disadvantage was that the station was on UHF. Evans sold the station to Cox Enterprises in 1981. Programming continued to consist of classic sitcoms, a couple rejected network shows, and some religious programs during the day. Some of the shows during this time included The Brady Bunch, The Little Rascals, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Good Times, What's Happening!!, and The Honeymooners.
Beginning on June 1, 1982, Preview Subscription Television ran on KDNL during the nighttime hours leaving KPLR as the only full-time independent station in the St. Louis market. Nine months later, Preview was dropped and the station resumed running the usual primetime fare of movies and classic sitcoms until 1 or 2 a.m. KDNL regained the rights to the Blues games in 1983 for an additional three seasons. In 1984, cartoons had been added to the lineup and the station cut back on the religious shows. Also under Cox ownership, the station won bids for stronger off-network sitcoms. On October 6, 1986, KDNL joined Fox as a charter affiliate (after KPLR turned the network affiliation down), going under the brand name "Fox 30". With the network affiliation, KDNL managed to get closer to KPLR in the ratings after being well behind the station for its entire tenure as an independent. In 1991, Cox sold KDNL to St. Louis-based River City Broadcasting.
In 1994, New World Communications bought St. Louis' longtime ABC affiliate KTVI (channel 2) and three other stations from Argyle Television. New World had made an affiliation deal to switch all of its stations, including KTVI, to Fox. ABC originally wanted to affiliate with longer-established KPLR. However, that station turned the network affiliation down, opting instead to affiliate with The WB. More or less by default, ABC cut a deal to affiliate with KDNL and moved its programming there on August 7, 1995. Soon after joining the network, KDNL began showing UPN programming during ABC programming off-hours. Despite its size, the St. Louis market did not have enough willing commercial stations at the time to support a full-time UPN affiliate.
After becoming an ABC affiliate, KDNL also began to air more first-run syndicated programs and reduced its reliance on older sitcoms. In 1996, the Sinclair Broadcast Group bought River City Broadcasting. KDNL dropped UPN programming in 1997, and religious station KNLC (channel 24) and KPLR began sharing programming from the network. St. Louis did not have a full-time UPN affiliate until WRBU (channel 46) in East St. Louis, Illinois took on the affiliation in April 2003. In 2004, KDNL preempted the movie Saving Private Ryan following the lead of other Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates. The company had refused to allow Charter to carry KDNL's high definition signal being the longest hold out in the area (not counting CBS affiliate KMOV (channel 4)'s pulling of its HD signal in January 2007), until April 2007 when Sinclair and Charter came to a national retransmission agreement for three years until 2010. Subsequently, KDNL-DT began airing on digital channel 780 on Charter systems on April 19, 2007.
For most of its tenure as an ABC affiliate, KDNL has been among the weakest affiliates in the nation. In stark contrast, KTVI was one of ABC's strongest affiliates. This has been especially pronounced since the end of local newscasts. For the better part of a decade, KDNL's schedule has more closely resembled that of an independent station than that of a Big Three network affiliate in a major market. Due to the lack of any local news presence, a schedule heavy on mainstays of syndication seen more on netlet stations such as The Simpsons, along with a heavy schedule of paid and religious programming, KDNL does not provide the ABC schedule many lead-ins. Several ABC shows, such as Good Morning America and World News with Diane Sawyer, garner ratings so low in the St. Louis market that A.C. Nielsen can't rate them due to a sample too small to classify with a ratings number. The station also has a habit of preempting ABC prime time programming for paid programming.  As a result, it regularly rates fifth in the St. Louis market behind KPLR. 
There has also been regular talk of Tribune Broadcasting pursuing the ABC affiliation for KPLR after KDNL's affiliation agreement expired due to that station's management agreement with Local TV, LLC-owned KTVI and their playing down of The CW as part of the branding, along with experimentation with The CW schedule to maximize ratings. However, the network did extend their affiliation agreement with KDNL and Sinclair's other ABC affiliates for five years on March 26, 2010 which will keep KDNL affiliated with ABC until at least August 2015.
The station terminated regular analog programming on February 17, 2009 and offered nightlight programming for two weeks before it permanently shut-off analog service. Beginning on October 1, 2010, KDNL began carrying TheCoolTV on digital subchannel 30.2. The service is a 24-hour channel broadcasting in 480i standard definition featuring an all-music video lineup interrupted only by three hours per week of FCC-required E/I children programming on Saturday mornings. By October 28, Sinclair had reached an agreement with The Country Network to broadcast country music videos on company-owned stations. KDNL began airing this service on digital subchannel 30.3 in standard definition as well.  
News operationEditStarting at its sign-on as an Independent, the station produced various newscasts. Shortly after the Fox affiliation was announced in October 1986, KDNL established a full news department. Initially, local news was offered every night at 9 p.m. like other stations affiliated with the network. Although at the time, fewer Fox stations carried newscasts than in the present day.
As an ABC affiliate, the 9 p.m. newscast was moved to 10 and additional early evening newscasts on weeknights were added. Although ratings were initially good, KDNL was never competitive with KMOV, KSDK (both have had at least 20% shares over the years), or even KTVI. The early evening newscast on weeknights had its time slot fluctuate between 5 and 6 and was even canceled for a time. Turnover in the newsroom was very high and this showed in the ratings.
In spring 2001, a transmitter failure left KDNL off-the-air for a number of days (or at least broadcasting at lower power than normally). What little audience there was for its newscasts switched to other sources and never returned. The station finally dropped its news department altogether on October 12, 2001. For the next nine years, KDNL was one of the very few major network affiliates that did not have a local news operation. Although KDNL did not carry local shows, it continued to air national news programming from ABC News. Until January 2011, the station had been the largest (in terms of DMA) of any major network affiliate without local newscasts (CBS O&O WWJ-TV in Detroit was the largest until May 5, 2009 when it launched a weekday morning show produced in partnership with the Detroit Free Press). Most major network affiliates are contractually obligated to air local news but KDNL's affiliation agreement does not have such a clause.
KDNL occasionally employs its former news set for commentary on sporting events. It also has local weather cut-ins on weekday mornings during Good Morning America. These updates were formerly compiled and presented by meteorologist Tony Pagnotti at Sinclair's News Central headquarters on Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The forecasts are now compiled and presented from Columbus, Ohio sister operation WSYX/WTTE by those station's evening meteorologists.
On November 11, 2010, KDNL announced NBC-affiliate KSDK (owned by Gannett) would begin producing half-hour newscasts weeknights at 5 and 10 through a news share agreement that began January 3, 2011. All broadcasts air in high definition from a virtual set in front of a green screen at KSDK's studios on Market Street in Downtown St. Louis and required the hiring of additional personnel.  KDNL General Manager Tom Tipton stated that the station did not want to run simulcasted or re-purposed newscasts in its efforts to return daily news broadcasts to the station.
The KSDK-produced newscasts on KDNL are pre-taped in advance.  There is no sports report given. The news share agreement between the two channels is quite unusual given the rarity of a big three network affiliate producing newscasts of another big three station. In this case, KDNL and KSDK actually compete against one another. There is still no local news on weekends, but the station airs replays of KSDK's entertainment/features program Show Me St. Louis.
- TV-30 Newswatch (1970s)
- TV-30 News (1980s-1994)
- News 30 Now (1995)
- News 30 (1995–1997)
- ABC News 30 (1997–1999)
- ABC 30 News (1999–2001)
- STL Now on ABC 30 powered by NewsChannel 5 (2011-present)
- "It's on Us" (late 1980s-early 1990s)
- "It's the News That Matters Most" (1998–1999)
- "You Get More" (1999–2000)
- "Bringing News Home" (2000–2001)
- "St. Louis' Leader in Entertainment Programming" (2006–present)
News music packagesEdit
- "Advantage by Frank Gari" (1995)
- "KOVR 1995 News Theme" (1995–1998)
- "Counterpoint" by Stephen Arnold Music (1995–1999)
- "Finale" by Stephen Arnold Music (1999–2000)
- "Third Coast" by Stephen Arnold Music (2000–2001)
- Jerry Martz - rotating weekday morning meteorologist (WSYX/WTTE)
- Dana Turtle - rotating weekday morning meteorologist (WSYX/WTTE)
- Courtney Gousman - weeknight news anchor (KSDK)
- Cindy Preszler - chief meteorologist; seen weeknights (KSDK)
- Leslie Faus - weeknight news reporter (KSDK)
- Wendy Erikson - Show Me St. Louis host (KSDK)
- Dana Hendrickson - Show Me St. Louis reporter (KSDK)
Former on-air staffEdit
- Andy Banker: reporter (1995–2001; currently at KTVI)
- Paul Brown: reporter
- Maurice Drummond: sports reporter (currently at KTVI)
- Rick Edlund: anchor ( -2001)
- Patrick Emory: anchor (1999–2000)
- Trish Gazall: traffic reporter (now with KTRS Radio)
- Dilva Henry; reporter
- Derrin Horton (news reporter)|Derrin Horton]]: reporter
- Kelley Hoskins: feature reporter (currently at KTVI)
- Steve Jerve: meteorologist (1995–1998; currently at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida)
- Ric Kearbey: meteorologist (1997–2001; now at WHOI-TV in Peoria, Illinois)
- Darren Kramer: anchor (1995- )
- Gina Kurre: anchor (1997–2001)
- Leslie Lyles: anchor (1995–1998)
- Don Marsh: anchor (1995-c.1998)
- Rick Powers: sports reporter (1997–2001)
- Grant Rampy: reporter (currently Washington, DC correspondent for Tribune Broadcasting)
- Mitch Roberts: sports reporter (1995–1997)
- Phil Rozen: anchor
- Keryn Shipman: chief meteorologist (1998–2001, later at KPLR c.2003-2008)
- Kevin Slaten: sports reporter (currently at KFNS (AM))
- Joby Smith: sports reporter (1995–1996)
- Jean Jackson: anchor
- Jim Wicks: anchor (1995-1995)
- ^ http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/0/7581C32D04894AF4862572BC000AABEC?OpenDocument
- ^ http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/tube-talk/tube-talk/2009/06/couldnt-make-todays-tv-chat-heres-what-you-missed-5/
- ^ http://blog.kareemjohnson.us/2009/05/26/may-2009-sweep-ratings/
- ^ 
- ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118016982.html?categoryid=14&cs=1
- ^ http://www.musicrow.com/2010/08/the-country-network-to-air-via-sinclair/
- ^ http://www.tcncountry.com/
- ^ http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=226560&catid=3
- ^ http://www.bnd.com/2010/11/13/1474799/local-newscasts-will-return-to.html