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|Lake Charles, Louisiana|
|Branding||KPLC 7 (general)|
KPLC 7 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||7 at Your Service|
|Channels||Digital: 7 (VHF)|
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
7.3 Bounce TV
(Raycom Media Licensee, LLC)
|First air date||September 29, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||Port of|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
7 (VHF, 1954–2009)
8 (VHF, until 2009)
|Transmitter power||62 kW|
|Height||451 m (1,480 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile|
KPLC is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and VHF channel 7 from a transmitter in Fenton, Louisiana. The station is owned by Gray Television, which also operates dual Fox/ABC affiliate KVHP (channel 29) under a shared services agreement with owner American Spirit Media. The two stations share studios on Division Street in downtown Lake Charles.
KPLC-TV signed on September 29, 1954. Owner T.B. Lanford of Shreveport had previously signed on KPLC radio (1470 AM, now KLCL, and 99.5 FM, now KNGT) and was eager to expand into television, giving the new station the same callsign as their radio sisters.
The station was a major beneficiary of a quirk in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s plan for allocating stations. In the early days of broadcast television, there were twelve VHF channels available and 69 UHF channels (later reduced to 55 in 1983). The VHF bands were more desirable because they carried longer distances. Since there were only twelve VHF channels available, there were limitations as to how closely the stations could be spaced.
After the FCC's Sixth Report and Order ended the license freeze and opened the UHF band in 1952, it devised a plan for allocating VHF licenses. Under this plan, almost all of the country would be able to receive two commercial VHF channels plus one noncommercial channel. Most of the rest of the country ("1/2") would be able to receive a third VHF channel. Other areas would be designated as "UHF islands" since they were too close to larger cities for VHF service. The "2" networks became CBS and NBC, "+1" represented non-commercial educational stations, and "1/2" became ABC (which was the weakest network usually winding up with the UHF allocation where no VHF was available).
However, what would become of the Lake Charles market was sandwiched between Houston (channels 2, 8, 11 and 13), Beaumont–Port Arthur (channels 4, 6, and 12) and Lufkin (channel 9) to the west, Lafayette (channels 3 and 10), Baton Rouge (channels 2 and 9) and New Orleans (channels 4, 6, 8 and 12) to the east, and Alexandria (channel 5), Shreveport (channels 3, 6, and 12) and Monroe (channels 8, 10, and 13) to the north. This created a large "doughnut" in Southwestern Louisiana where there could only be one VHF license. KPLC-TV was fortunate to gain that license, and eventually became the only station to be based in Lake Charles when the market's original TV station, KTAG-TV (channel 25), went off the air due to being on the UHF frequency (before all-channel tuning was made mandatory on TVs in 1962) and unable to compete with KPLC in 1961. This changed in the early 1980s when LPB outlet KLTL (channel 18) signed on in 1981, and independent-turned-Fox affiliate KVHP (channel 29) signed on a year later.
In 1964, Lanford sold KPLC to a St. Louis group headed by investor Elliot Stien. He visited KPLC frequently along with his friend, St. Louis Cardinals baseball legend Stan Musial. Lanford continued to own fellow NBC affiliate KALB of Alexandria until 1993.
In 1970, G. Russell Chambers purchased KPLC-TV from the St. Louis group and dramatically increased the station's coverage by adding a 1,500-foot (460 m) tower, providing a quality signal for the NBC affiliate as far north as Leesville, as far east as Lafayette and to the Gulf of Mexico. FCC regulations required that the radio stations be sold. Perry Sanders purchased the AM/FM combo and changed its call letters to KLCL.
On August 9, 1983, Chambers, acting both in his individual capacity and on behalf of CTR, entered into a purchase agreement to sell the station's facilities and broadcast license to respondent NASCO, Inc., for a purchase price of $18 million. The agreement was not recorded in the parishes in which the two properties housing the station's facilities were located. Consummation of the agreement was subject to the approval of the FCC; both parties were obligated to file the necessary documents with the FCC no later than September 23, 1983. By late August, however, Chambers had changed his mind and tried to talk NASCO out of consummating the sale. NASCO refused. On September 23, Chambers, through counsel, informed NASCO that he would not file the necessary papers with the FCC.
In 1986, Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Liberty Life Insurance Company, took over. Within the next two years, the station adopted a circle 7 logo and its current slogan "7 at your service." KPLC was one of the first television stations in the U.S. to launch its own website in the 1990s.
In 2004, KPLC began broadcasting in digital as well as analog with the launch of KPLC (DT). Later in the year the station launched its first local 24-hour weather channel, "KPLC WeatherPlus." Simultaneously, the station launched a service specifically for cellphones and PDAs, "7 On Your Cell."
In March 2004, while workers were installing a new transmission tower in high winds, the old transmission tower fell, causing a service disruption lasting about two weeks to over-the-air viewers in Southwest Louisiana. Service to cable customers was not interrupted due to the station's signal being delivered by fiber lines. A lower-power temporary tower was erected on top the station's broadcast studios a couple of days after the tower fell, allowing viewers within a few miles of the station to again receive the signal over-the-air. KPLC was also simulcast on KJEF-CA in Jennings.
In August 2012, KPLC started broadcasting in HD with a new HD studio.
Until 2015, KPLC doubled as the default NBC affiliate for the Lafayette market, since that market did not have an NBC affiliate of its own. Prior to its purchase by Raycom, it even included Lafayette as one of the cities it served in station identifications. It operated a "virtual station" for Acadiana cable systems and sold advertising in the area. On July 1, 2015, KLAF-LD became Lafayette's first locally based NBC affiliate since KLNI's shutdown in 1975, and local cable providers removed KPLC and Baton Rouge NBC affiliate WVLA from channel lineups.
On August 31, 2017, KPLC-DT2 became the market's CW affiliate. Virtual sister KVHP, which formerly operated as an affiliate of The CW Plus on its DT2 subchannel, launched a new station, "SWLA ABC" on that day over KVHP-DT2, carrying ABC and syndicated programming. Grit, which formerly occupied DT2, was subsequently moved to a new fourth subchannel. By September 2017, the over-the-air signal of KPLC-DT2 had been upgraded into 720p 16:9 HD.
On June 25, 2018, Gray Television announced its intent to acquire Raycom for $3.65 billion, pending regulatory approval. The sale was approved by the FCC on December 20. The sale was completed on January 2, 2019.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|7.1||1080i||16:9||KPLC-DT||Main KPLC programming / NBC|
|7.2||720p||THIS TV||CW Lake Charles|
KPLC shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 8 to channel 7 for post-transition operations.
During Hurricane Rita, which struck in September 2005, the station delivered around-the-clock news from a temporary, makeshift studio in a safer location than its normal studios in downtown Lake Charles.
Notable former on-air staff
- Rob Marciano - chief meteorologist (1994–1997; later Entertainment Tonight co-host; now meteorologist at ABC News)
- Bonnie Schneider - meteorologist (now meteorologist at CNN)
- Miller, Mark (23 August 2017). "KVHP Launching ABC Feed On Subchannel". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KPLC
- Miller, Mark K. (June 25, 2018). "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- Hufford, Austen (2018-06-25). "Gray TV to Buy Raycom in $3.65 Billion Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
- Hayes, Dade (2018-06-25). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
- "FCC OK with Gray/Raycom Merger", Broadcasting & Cable, 20 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Gray Completes Acquisition of Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, 2 January, 2019, Retrieved 2 January, 2019.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KPLC
- "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.