Fox Dallas (KDFW), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Dallas, Texas, United States. It first aired in 1949. It shows mainly News and Weather updates on the Internet.
KDFW, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 35), is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to Dallas, Texas, United States and serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of Fox Corporation, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station KDFI (channel 27). The two stations share studios on North Griffin Street (between Patterson and San Jacinto Streets) in downtown Dallas and transmitter facilities south of the junction of Belt Line and Mansfield Roads in Cedar Hill.
As of September 2018, KDFW presently broadcasts 55 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 9½ hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and 3½ hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the largest local newscast output among broadcast television stations in both the Dallas–Fort Worth market and the state of Texas. In addition, KDFW produces the half-hour sports highlight, opinion and interview program Free 4 All, hosted by sports director Mike Doocy and co-host Sam Gannon, which airs Sundays after the 9:00&p.m. newscast and weeknights after the 10:00 p.m. newscast. The station’s Sunday 5:00 p.m. newscast is subject to preemption and the Saturday 6:00 p.m. newscast is subject to delay due to overruns by Fox Sports telecasts.
News department history
Appropriate for a station that was founded by a newspaper, local news has always had a strong presence on Channel 4. For the better part of four decades, it was part of a spirited battle for first place among the market’s news-producing stations with KXAS and WFAA. In November 1978, the station hired Clarice Tinsley (who joined KDFW from CBS affiliate and eventual sister station WITI in Milwaukee, which also became a Fox affiliate through the New World deal) to serve as anchor of its 10:00 p.m. newscast and conduct special assignment reports, the latter of which (through investigative reports and interviews on which she has been assigned) has earned her several journalism awards over her career with the station (including Associated Press, Emmy and Peabody Awards and a duPont-Columbia Citation for Excellence); as of 2016, she is currently the third longest-tenured overall and the second longest-tenured currently active television news personality in North Texas, and has had the longest tenure of any on-air staff member in KDFW’s history (in the former category, Tinsley ranks behind Harold Taft, who served as chief meteorologist at KXAS-TV from its sign-on as WBAP-TV in 1948 until his retirement in 1991, and Roberta “Bobbie” Wygant, who has served as an entertainment reporter for WBAP/KXAS since 1948). Although KDFW has experienced a relative degree of talent turnover over the years (particularly during the 1980s and early 1990s), several anchors and reporters that have been part of Channel 4’s news department staff have worked for the station for at least ten years (in addition to Tinsley, these have included Richard Ray, who joined KDFW as a reporter in 1983 and has also served as weekend evening anchor from 1995 until his retirement in 2019; Ron Jackson, who served as weekend meteorologist from 1982 until his retirement in 2014; and Becky Oliver, who served as its chief investigative reporter from 1991 until her retirement from broadcasting in 2015).
On January 6, 1980, the station debuted Insights, a weekly public affairs program featuring topical discussions and feature stories focusing on the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex’s ethnic community, focusing primarily on issues affecting African Americans. The program was originally hosted by Rochelle Brown until 2002, when she relegated herself to an executive producer role and was succeeded by longtime general assignment reporter Shaun Rabb (who also served as weekend evening anchor from 1993 to 1994) for the remainder of its run; the Emmy Award-winning Sunday morning program ended its 29-year run on June 21, 2009.
On May 12, 1986, to inaugurate the rollout of its new satellite news-gathering units, KDFW kicked off an ambitious three-week tour across Texas, in which the station conducted live remotes at different locations around the state each day for its early evening newscasts. As it was returning from Van Horn (the first site of the tour) that evening, a Bell JetRanger used by the station as its newsgathering helicopter crashed after takeoff at Guadalupe Mountains National Park while pilot Irving Patrick attempted to navigate the chopper in strong wind speeds. Patrick and news operations manager Scott “Buster” McGregor were killed on board; however in the midst of the tragedy, KDFW’s news staff chose to continue the cross-state tour as scheduled. In May 1993, KDFW became the first television station in Dallas-Fort Worth to launch a weekend morning newscast, with the debut of a two-hour Saturday broadcast from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. (the program – which, uniformally with the weekday morning newscasts, was retitled Good Day Dallas [now Fox 4 Good Day] in January 1997 – would later move to 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on April 4, 2010, and was joined by a Sunday edition in that same time period on July 10, 2011).
When KDFW became a Fox affiliate on July 2, 1995, the station sharply expanded its emphasis on local news programming. It retained a news schedule similar to the one it had as a CBS affiliate, while increasing its news output from about 25 hours a week to nearly 40 hours (with its weekday news schedule expanding from 3½ hours to seven hours per day). In its early years with Fox, local news programming on the station ran on weekdays from 5:30 to 9:00 a.m., 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday mornings, and nightly from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. The weekday morning newscast’s expansion from 1½ to three hours – with the addition of a two-hour extension from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.—and the consolidation of its half-hour weeknight 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts into a single 90-minute block—although both programs were respectively structured as separate one-hour and half-hour broadcasts—filled timeslots vacated by the removals of CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News from its schedule as Fox, unlike CBS, does not have daily national newscasts. Since Fox does not provide a third hour of network programming within its evening schedule, Channel 4 also added an hour-long prime time newscast at 9:00 p.m. to lead into its existing 10:00 p.m. newscast (KDFW is one of several Fox stations that offer newscasts in both the final hour of prime time and the traditional late news time slot—Fox Television Stations started to push news expansion into the latter in 2006—and one of ten that continued its Big Three-era late-evening newscast after switching to Fox; in contrast, Austin sister station KTBC aired syndicated programming as a lead-in for its existing 10:00 p.m. newscast after it switched to Fox before it moved its late newscast to the 9:00 p.m. hour in August 2000, that station would restore a late newscast in the former slot in September 2014).
On the date of the network switch, KDFW also debuted a daily local sports news program within its 9:00 p.m. newscast, Sports 4 Texas, which also served as a generalized branding for its sports segments until January 1997; the program—which ran for 20 minutes on Monday through Friday nights (as well as Saturdays, with the exception of the NFL season, when the prime time newscast was abbreviated by a half-hour to air the Cowboys magazine show The Aikman-Summerall Report), and for a half-hour on Sundays—eventually evolved into its present weekly half-hour format as Fox 4 Sports Sunday in September 1997, when KDFW discontinued the weekend editions of its 10:00 p.m. newscast, relegating that newscast to Monday through Friday evenings (Fox late night programming airs on Saturdays at 10:00 p.m., while Free 4 All—which launched as a weeknight-only program on September 4, 2018, and replaced Sports Sunday as part of a reformatting into a six-night-a-week, Sunday-through-Friday program in March 2019—airs Sundays in that time slot). In advance of the switch, KDFW station management offered news department employees a one-month pay bonus as an incentive to agree to stay until or after the affiliation switch. Because Fox did not have a news division – and by association, an affiliate news service – at the time KDFW joined the network (Fox News Channel and the Fox News Edge video service would not launch until August 1996), the station’s news department initially relied on external video feeds from CNN Newsource for coverage of national and international news stories; the station also increased its news staff from 80 to 120 employees, through the hiring of 40 additional employees in both on-air and behind-the-scenes roles.
The expansion of the news department as well as other programming changes that occurred when Channel 4 switched to Fox were the subject of a scathing article by writer Brad Bailey in the October 1995 issue of D Magazine, criticizing the news department for a perceived incorporation of sensationalistic reports to fill time within its expanded newscasts and KDFW as a whole for adopting a syndicated programming lineup consisting largely of tabloid talk shows (such as The Maury Povich Show, Geraldo and Jerry Springer, following suit with other New World-owned Fox stations that acquired such programs to bulk up their syndication lineups after joining the network), referring to the station’s decision to maintain its status as a “big, legitimate news operation” while operating as a Fox affiliate as conflicting and incompatible courses (before New World started switching most of its stations to Fox in September 1994, Fox stations tended to focus predominately on first-run and off-network syndicated programs and movies, with limited to no local news programming; Miami affiliate WSVN’s decision to adopt a news-intensive programming format after switching from NBC to Fox in January 1989 served as the template for the New World and SF Broadcasting stations that switched to Fox between 1994 and 1996, a format that was gradually adopted by many heritage Fox stations that had existing or launched upstart news departments in subsequent years). The article was criticized by KDFW president/general manager David Whitaker, and main evening anchors Clarice Tinsley and John Criswell, the latter of whom (who left KDFW in 1997, after a seven-year tenure at the station) stated that Bailey could not have “accomplished a more reprehensible mass assassination of character with a machine gun or bomb”. Although ratings for its newscasts declined in the first couple of months after it joined Fox due to viewer confusion over the switch (which Whitaker acknowledged had also resulted in ratings losses at its competitors at that time), KDFW began regaining some of its news audience starting in the fall of 1995; it has since often beat its English-language competitors in the demographic of adults between 25 and 54 years old in certain time slots, particularly in the morning and at 9:00 p.m.
Starting in 2006, the Fox-owned stations began revamping their sets and graphics to be more closely aligned visually with Fox News Channel, along with the adoption of standardized “kitebox” logos. KDFW debuted the new logo, set, graphics and theme music on September 20, 2006, beginning with its 9:00 p.m. newscast. The station also relaunched its website under the “myfox” branding and interface developed by Fox Interactive Media, incorporating more news and video content (the Fox O&O sites have since been migrated to the WorldNow web platform). On July 30, 2007, a Bell JetRanger helicopter leased by KDFW from CBS Radio crash-landed in a heavily wooded area near the Joe Pool Lake spillway (south of Camp Wisdom Road) in Grand Prairie, while it was making an emergency landing after the aircraft’s engine lost power (which the National Transportation Safety Board determined was caused by the failure of one or more of the compressor blades for the fifth stage compressor) en route to a breaking news story in Fort Worth that morning. The out-of-control chopper skidded and rolled before stopping near the spillway, shearing off the tail rotor from the main body of the helicopter. Chopper pilot Curtis Crump, KDFW traffic reporter Chip Waggoner and KRLD and KVIL (103.7 FM) radio traffic reporter Julie DeHarty survived the accident, with the latter two transported by ambulance to Methodist Dallas Medical Center for treatment.
On February 18, 2009 beginning with its noon newscast, KDFW became the fifth television station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. On April 5, 2010, the station expanded its weekday morning newscast to 4½ hours, with the addition of a half-hour at 4:30 a.m. Good Day was eventually expanded to 4:00 a.m. on May 9, 2018, extending it into a five-hour broadcast; subsequently on September 4, the station expanded Good Day to the 9:00 a.m. hour, resulting in KDFW becoming the second-to-last remaining Fox-owned station to expand its weekday morning newscast into the slot (which, since the program – as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee – moved to KDFW from KTVT in September 1993, has long been ceded to Live! with Kelly and Ryan and its previous incarnations; that program was moved to 10:00 a.m. as a result; WJZY in Charlotte remains the last station to end its morning newscast at 9:00 a.m.). To accommodate the expansion (which placed Good Day in direct competition with WFAA’s news/talk program Good Morning Texas), Hanna Battah (who joined KDFW from CBS affiliate KBAK-TV and Fox affiliate KBFX-CD in Bakersfield in June to serve as weekend anchor of Good Day) was added as co-anchor of the first two hours of the program with a co-anchor to be named later, while Tim Ryan (who has anchored KDFW’s morning newscast since joining the station shortly after the 1995 affiliation switch) and Lauren Pryzbyl (who joined KDFW in September 2009) being shifted to the 6:00-10:00 a.m. portion of the broadcast.