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|Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Arkansas
|Branding||Fox 24 (general)
Fox 24 News (newscasts)
KNWA (on DT2)
|Slogan||It's About Time! (general)
The Area's Only 9 P.M. Newscast (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
& KNWA-DT 50.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 24 (PSIP)
24.4 Bounce TV
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||November 12, 1978|
|Call letters' meaning||ForT Smith, Arkansas|
|Former callsigns||KLMN-TV (1978–1982)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
24 (UHF, 1978–2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1978–1980)
NBC (1980–2008; secondary from 2006)
|Transmitter power||600 kW
1,000 kW (KNWA-DT2)
267 m (KNWA-DT2)
|Public license information:||Profile
KFTA-TV, virtual channel 24 (UHF digital channel 27), is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Arkansas River Valley and Northwest Arkansas that is licensed to Fort Smith. Owned by Nexstar Media Group, the station is sister to Rogers-licensed NBC affiliate KNWA-TV (channel 51). KFTA maintains transmitter facilities located south of Artist Point. The two stations share studios on Dickson Street in Downtown Fayetteville, with a sales office and bureau on Kelley Highway in Fort Smith.
The station debuted on November 12, 1978 as KLMN-TV, the area's third television station. It took the CBS affiliation from KFPW-TV/KTVP (now KHBS/KHOG). In 1980, it swapped affiliations with KFSM-TV and became the area's NBC affiliate. Two years later, on September 22, 1982, the station changed its calls to KPOM-TV (People On the Move).
Channel 24 struggled during its early years. Besides being the area's newest station, it was hampered by the fact it was a UHF station in a market that is very mountainous. Despite its 2.5 million watt effective radiated power, it only provided a Grade B signal to Fayetteville and could not be seen at all in Rogers and points north. For most of this station's first ten years on the air, viewers in the northern part of the area had to rely on cable to watch the station. Much of the far northern part of the market got a better signal from KSNF in Joplin, Missouri (which, incidentally, switched from CBS to NBC in 1982).
In 1986, the station was sold to Oklahoma City-based Griffin Communications, owners of longtime CBS affiliate KWTV in Oklahoma City, who immediately set about solving the reception problem. It signed-on full-time satellite KFAA-TV in 1989 to provide a better signal in Fayetteville and the northern part of the market. In 2004, Griffin Television sold KPOM/KFAA to Nexstar, the stations changed their calls to KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV respectively on August 13, 2004 and the latter became the main station. The two stations' operations were merged in a new studio in the historic Campbell-Bell Building in downtown Fayetteville, with KFTA's original studio remaining as the stations' Arkansas River Valley bureau.
In 2006, Nexstar announced that KFTA would become the Fox affiliate for the area, leaving KNWA as the area's sole NBC affiliate. However, KFTA would continue to show NBC daytime programming until 2008. At the same time, Nexstar announced that KFTA would be sold to Mission Broadcasting, although it would continue to be operated by Nexstar under a local marketing agreement with KNWA. The network change took place on August 28 even though Equity Broadcasting, the owner of the former Class A Fox-affiliate KPBI-CA, challenged the sale of KFTA with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As of May 19, 2013[update], Nexstar remains the official owner of KFTA, according to FCC records, due to Nexstar's supplemental application of a clarification of waiver (which the FCC has not yet acted on).
With some programming exceptions, the two stations simulcasted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until KFTA's sale was approved. The two now air separate programming schedules.
In October 2012, KNWA/KFTA moved to its current facility on Dickson Street.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|24.1||720p||16:9||KFTA-DT||Main KFTA-TV programming / Fox|
|24.2||1080i||KNWA-DT||Simulcast of KNWA-TV|
KFTA and KNWA each carry the others signal in standard definition as subcarriers of their digital stations alongside their main signals in high definition. This is necessary because KNWA's analog signal only aired at 182,000 watts. That station has a transmitter southeast of Garfield.
KFTA-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 24, in November 2008 analog, because of an analog transmitter failure. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 27, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 24.
KPOM and KFAA relaunched a local newscast in 1999. An earlier local broadcast had aired under various titles until 1992. Currently, KFTA maintains a bureau at its original studios on Kelley Highway in Fort Smith. On October 24, 2012, KFTA and KNWA started producing its newscast in high definition. Currently, the station provides an hour-long weekday morning newscast at 7 am, a half-hour weeknight newscast at 5:30 pm and a newscast at 9 pm that is seen on weeknights for an hour-long and on weekends for a half-hour. All newscasts are produced by sister station, KNWA.