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Channel 3, Omaha

City of License: Omaha, NE

First Air Date: September 1, 1949

Operating Power: 8.4 kw aural, 16.7 kw visual

Original Call Letters: KMTV TV

Network Affiliation: CBS, secondary with ABC and DuMont

General Manager: Owen Saddler

Chief Engineer: R J Schroeder

Issued To: May Broadcasting of Shenandoah

Through the Years

  • 1949

    September 1, 1949-  Station signs on, followed WOW TV channel 6 by just days.  Owner:  May Broadcasting of Shenandoah, IA, Edward L. May, President 75%, Palmer Broadcasting ( WOC Davenport, WHO Des Moines) 25%.   Studios, transmitter and tower (550 feet) were located at 2615 Farnam Street in Omaha

    The original calls were to be KMA-TV, as a sister station to co-owned KMA Shenandoah, IA, but the FCC objected because Omaha was a separate market.  The calls were changed to KMTV just before sign on.
    Network affiliation was with CBS, while secondary affiliations were contracted with ABC and the DuMont Television Network.

  • 1950

    26 year-old Floyd Kalber is hired as the station’s first newsman, making it a newsroom staff of one.  Kalber alternates as on-air talent, control room director and studio production man.  (Kalber will move to NBC in Chicago and later to NBC’s Today Show in 1975,)  Kalber would be inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1972.

  • 1952

    Power increase to 100kw visual, 50 kw aural.

  • 1953

    ABC as a secondary network, was briefly dropped when KFOR TV, Lincoln signed on.  The network returned to KMTV a year later when the FCC separated Lincoln to form its own market.

    KMTV begins broadcasting in color, though limited to a few network offerings.

  • 1954

    KMTV swapped affiliates with WOW-TV, becoming an NBC affiliate while WOW joined CBS.  This was part of a CBS multi-year, five-station affiliation deal with Meredith Corporation.  (The stations switched back in 1986).

  • 1955

    KMTV drops DuMont as a secondary network upon the network ceasing operations.

    KMTV buys two color television cameras an a color film chain to begin Omaha’s first color broadcasts.  Begins image liner “Color Television Center.”

  • 1957

    Station drops ABC as a secondary network upon KETV Channel 7 sign on.

    May Broadcasting buys 49% of KFAB  radio from the Sidles Company.  The move was a show of commitment to the Omaha market by the Shenandoah company as NBC was showing interest in KETV during its approaching sign on.  May’s commitment along with his heavy investment in color television gear was enough to keep NBC.

  • 1958

    KMTV airs the Aksarben coronation in color.

  • 1960

    April 1960-  A one-time event, KMTV airs the first All-Day Color schedule by any station in the U.S.

  • 1961

    Miss Jean’s Storytime, a long-running children’s show debuts.  The show ended in September 2011, after a 50-year run.

  • 1962

    Tom Brokaw joins the station as a reporter.  Mentored by Floyd Kalber. Brokaw will leave for NBC by 1965.   Brokaw is later inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

  • 1966

    KMTV along with WOW TV and KETV move to new 1300-foot towers near 78th and Crown Point Rd in Omaha.  The downtown tower and transmitter remains as an auxiliary backup.  The tower farm will eventually host most of the Omaha FM stations as well.

  • 1971

    Creature Feature consisting of horror and sci-fi films debuts and becomes a Saturday night fixture hosted by Dr. Sanguinary.   The Doctor is John Jones, who joined KMTV in 1965 as a floor manager and later a producer.  The show ran until the summer of 1982, and also featured KMTV weather girl, Carol Scott from time to time.  Sanguinary also made 17 local appearances over the years on the Labor Day MDA Telethon carried by KMTV>

  • 1975

    Chuck Roberts joins the news staff on the same day as the Omaha tornado and gets a quick introduction to spot news.  He leaves for CNN in 1981 and is the first face seen on the cable news network when it signed on.

    Mary Hart arrives as news anchor, staying one year.  She leaves for the co-anchor position at syndicated entertainment news show, Entertainment Tonight.

  • 1978

    Studio facilities move to 108th and Mockingbird Drive.  The auxiliary transmitter remains at the station’ former studio location.

  • 1985

    May sells both of its television station, KMTV and KGUN-TV in Tucson, AZ, to Lee Enterprises after 37 years of ownership.   Lee brings in Howard Kennedy, an Omaha native, as General Manager of the station.  Lee had a long career with Lee, having joined them in 1965.  Kennedy ran the station until his retirement 12 years later, but remained with Lee as a special advisor for several years.   Kennedy was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

  • 2000

    October, 2000-Lee sells its entire broadcasting division, including KMTV, to Emmis Communications. (Indianapolis, IN, Jeff Smulyan, President.)

  • 2005

    Emmis announced its exit from television station ownership to concentrate on its radio station properties, selling most non-licensed assets of KMTV as well as outright ownership of KGUN to the Journal Broadcast Group.  The sale closed in late December of that year.  At that point, Journal took control of KMTV through a time brokerage agreement.

  • 2007

    Journal announces the sale of radio station KOMJ (1490 AM) to Cochise Broadcasting LLC, allowing the purchase of KMTV.  Journal had owned the maximum number of broadcasting properties in the Omaha market permitted by the FCC, requiring the AM station spinoff.  Sale and purchase is completed on March 27, 2007.

  • 2009

    June 12, 2009-  KMTV shut down its analog signal, over VHF Channel 3 as part of the transition from analog to digital television,  Keeps digital Channel 45 that had been on since 2003.  The station uses PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) to display KMTV’s virtual channel as 3 on digital television receivers.

    June 19, 2009-  Although KMTV never had a “-TV” suffix affixed to its call sign from the beginning, it officially added one to the call sign on this date.  Listed in FCC records as KMTV-TV.

    July 11, 2009-  KMTV becomes the first commercial television station in Omaha to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.  Only KOLN and PBS member station NET, both in Lincoln began earlier.

  • 2011

    KMTV was the last television station in the market to begin carrying a digital subchannel, channel 3.2.

  • 2013

    July, 2013- A dispute between Journal and Time Warner Cable results in KMTV being removed from the Time Warner system in Lincoln.  KOLN Lincoln Channel 10 was solidified as the only CBS affiliate on that system.

    The MDA Labor Day Telethon affiliation with the “Love Network” ends as the organization moves from a syndicated broadcast to a network telecast on ABC.  The telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis, began in the mid-1960s,

  • 2014

    E.W. Scripps Company announces acquisition of Journal Communications in an all-stock transaction on July 30 2014.  The combined firm will retain their broadcast properties, including KMTV, and spin off their print assets as Journal  Media Group.  The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014.  It was approved by the shareholders on March 11, 2015.  The merger was completed  on April 1, 2015.

  • 2019

    To transmit Channel: 31 572-578 MHz, 652 kw ERP at 1349 feet.