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Channel 42, Omaha

City of License: Omaha, NE

First Air Date: August 6, 1986

Operating Power: 5000kw visual,500kw aural

Original Call Letters: KPTM TV

Network Affiliation: Independent

General Manager: Harry J. Pappas, GM, Gary Nielsen VP-Station Manager

Sales Manager: Neil Schwartz

Chief Engineer: Gregory Buzzell

Issued To: Pappas Telecasting of the Midlands ( a California Limited Partnership)

Through the Years

  • 1986

    April 6, 1986- KPTM signs on from a tower located on Pflug Road in Sarpy County, NE, south of Gretna and I-80.  Studios- 4625 Farnam St, Omaha.   Pappas eschewed the North Omaha tower farm for a spot between Omaha and Lincoln that required a court fight and historic legal decision resulting in a court-granted special use permit.

    The license was awarded to Pappas four times, the first three decisions were appealed resulting in delays since the first application was filed in 1979.  Selected calls KPTM were based on “Pappas Telecasting of the Midlands.”

    In the July 1986 ratings, KPTM was the highest-rated independent station in the country in prime time and the third-highest in total-day audience share.

  • 1987

    1893 foot Construction Permit was granted.  KPTM’s 1500-foot tower was designed so that its height could be increased to over 1800 feet, but construction did not take place.

  • 1988

    September, 1988- KPTM joins the Fox Network.  Pappas originally sat out the network’s launch in October 1986.  With its strong evening lineup already in place, waiting may have been a good negotiation tactic.

  • 1990

    June 14, 1990- 30 minute local Nine O’Clock Nightly News was launched.

  • 1995

    October, 1995- Nine O’Clock Nightly News expands to one hour.

  • 1998

    The KPTM news department expands with the launch of 3.5 hours morning newscast, Good Day, as well as an 11 a.m. newscast.  Pappas invested $1.5 million in new equipment including two mobile units, a new news set, and doubled the news staffing.

  • 2000

    March, 2000-  Good Day is canceled for economic reasons resulting in 28 employees being laid off.

  • 2007

    A 4 p.m. newscast is added in 2007.

  • 2008

    May, 2008- Harry Pappas and his station group are forced into bankruptcy that leads to a fire sale of TV stations that took four decades to accumulate.  Thirteen of Pappas’ stations file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, including KPTM and KXVO.  The company reported in court filings that it had more than $536 million in debt and $460 million in assets.  Problems that led to the bankruptcy included poor performance of the CW network, the failed attempt to launch a Spanish-language network Azteca America, and preparations for the 2009 analog shutdown.  It was later ordered in September that the affected stations must be sold off by February 14, 2009.

  • 2009

    January, 2009-  It was announced that several Pappas stations, including sister station KPTM would be sold to New World TV Group, after the sale received United States bankruptcy court approval.  The LMA between KXVO and KPTM continued after the deal was finalized.

    The 4 p.m. newscast is canceled.  KPTM lays off 22 staffers due to economic conditions.

  • 2010

    July 6, 2010-  Station Manager Jeff Miller announced it would cease presenting the newscast in Omaha and outsourced production of the 9 p.m.  newscast to the Independent News Network of Davenport, IA, starting September 6.  A minimum staff is kept locally for “On the Street” packages to be inserted into the show.  The move allowed KPTM to convert its newscasts to high-definition production but resulted in layoffs in Omaha.  In a 2011 interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Miller credited the outsourcing to INN with allowing KPTM to “stay in the news game.”

  • 2013

    June,2013-  Sinclair Broadcasting buys KPTM from Titan Television Broadcast Group (the renamed New World TV Group) in a deal that includes KPTH Sioux City, IA and two stations in Fresno, CA for $115.35 million.  The package includes the rights to operate KXVO 15 in Omaha and KMEG TV in Sioux City.

    July, 2013- After the announcement that KPTM would be acquired by Sinclair, the station announced it would discontinue its agreement with INN and return production of the 9 p.m. newscast in-house, with station management citing viewers’ dislike of the outsourced production model.  At the outset, the “On the Street” concept would be retained, but the newscasts would be produced with the assistance of KPTM’s Fresno sister station, KMPH TV.

  • 2023

    May 12, 2023-  Sinclair shuts down the Fresno-produced KPTM, making Omaha one of five markets where all newscasts on the Sinclair-owned stations were discontinued in favor of The National Desk, a daily news program produced by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.  As a result, the remaining employees of the KPTM news department were let go.