El Dorado, Arkansas
|Channels||Digital: 11 (VHF)|
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||11.1: MeTV (2015–present)|
11.2: Heroes & Icons
11.4: Start TV
|Owner||Legacy Broadcasting, LLC|
|Founded||November 25, 1996|
|First air date||December 10, 1998|
|Call letters' meaning||KMLU = airport code for Monroe Regional Airport|
|Former callsigns||KAQY (1998–2014)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
11 (VHF, 1998–2009)
57 (UHF, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (1998–2014)|
|Transmitter power||25 kW|
|Height||518 m (1,699 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KMLU, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is a MeTV-affiliated television station licensed to Columbia, Louisiana, United States and serving the Monroe, Louisiana–El Dorado, Arkansas television market. The station is owned by Legacy Broadcasting. KMLU's transmitter is located in Columbia, and its studios are located in Monroe.
The station launched in December 1998 as KAQY, the new ABC affiliate for the market. The station was taken over by Hoak Media and KNOE-TV in 2008 following its sale to Parker Broadcasting; as a result of recent scrutiny towards joint sales agreements by the FCC, new owner Gray Television (who acquired the station as part of a deal with Hoak) elected to shut down KAQY, move its programming to a digital subchannel of KNOE, and sell KAQY's license to the minority-owned Legacy Broadcasting.
KMLU signed on December 10, 1998, as ABC affiliate KAQY, returning that network to the market after its previous affiliate, KARD, became a Fox affiliate in April 1994. After KARD switched to Fox, cable providers began importing KLAX from Alexandria for ABC programming in Monroe proper and KTBS from Shreveport for parts of the western Monroe DMA, with certain programs carried by other stations based in Monroe being replaced due to syndex laws; satellite systems in the area piped in the national feed of the network via its two flagship stations. It was owned by businessman Charles Chatelain, who owned Fox affiliate KADN-TV in Lafayette and several other small TV stations in south Louisiana, via Monroe Broadcasting.
On June 23, 2008, original local owner Monroe Broadcasting filed an application with the FCC to sell KAQY to Parker Broadcasting for $10 million. Included in the application were proposed agreements to allow Hoak Media, then-owner of KNOE-TV, to operate the station. The sale was completed on October 9, 2008. As a result, all four major network affiliates in the Ark-La-Miss became operated by two companies: Hoak Media and Nexstar Broadcasting Group. During its tenure as a standalone ABC affiliate, even after becoming a sister station to KNOE, the station served as a pass-through with ABC programming while airing syndicated programming in the off-hours. It did not air a newscast but carried weather forecasts from Edward St. Pé's WeatherVision service during commercial breaks.
On November 20, 2013, Gray Television announced it would purchase Hoak Media and Parker Broadcasting in a $335 million deal. KAQY was to be acquired by Excalibur Broadcasting, and remain under an LMA with KNOE's new owners. However, upon the closing of the sale on June 13 and the FCC scrutinizing joint sales arrangements, Excalibur would later abandon its plans to acquire the station. Gray would continue to operate KAQY in the interim, at which it would later move its programming to a subchannel of KNOE. KAQY would then be spun off to minority interests pending approval from the FCC, which under this arrangement would allow the station to continue operating on the conditions that it would continue to operate the station independently and not make any partnerships or sharing arrangements with other broadcasters.
On August 27, 2014, Gray announced that it would sell KAQY's license, along with KHAS-TV in Hastings, Nebraska, KNDX in Bismarck, North Dakota, and KXND in Minot, North Dakota, to Legacy Broadcasting, a new broadcasting company controlled by Sherry Nelson and daughter Sara Jane Ingram. A month later, KAQY signed off, and its programming was moved to KNOE's digital subchannels, KNOE-DT2. On November 28, 2014, the station's call letters were changed to KMLU. The sale was completed on December 15.
Channel 11 remained silent for approximately one year. On September 15, 2015, KMLU returned to the air as the new MeTV affiliate for the Monroe–El Dorado area, taking the affiliation from KWMS-LP, which subsequently affiliated with sister network Heroes & Icons for two years before ceasing operations in 2017. KMLU has also engaged in some community affairs programming recently by broadcasting brief segments during commercial breaks of various events around the Ark-La-Miss. During January 2018, KMLU brought Heroes & Icons programming back to the Ark-La-Miss by launching that network on its second subchannel. It also launched the network Movies! on its third subchannel at the same time.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.2||4:3||HNI 2||Heroes & Icons|
KAQY shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 11.
- "Gray Buying Hoak, Prime Stations For $342.5M". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Gray closes Hoak deal; completes refinancing., rbr.com, Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Gray retains MMTC as broker for former SSA’d stations, rbr.com, Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Gray Sets Buyers For Its Six SSA Stations". TVNewsCheck. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- Consummation Notice. CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KMLU
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.