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Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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Pasco / Richland / Kennewick, Washington United States
CityPasco, Washington
ChannelsDigital : 18 ( UHF ) Virtual : 19 ( PSIP )
BrandingKEPR (general) KEPR Action News (newscasts) (pronounced "keeper") CW 9 Yakima/Tri-Cities (on DT2)
SloganTaking Action for You
Affiliations19.1: CBS 19.2: CW+ 19.3: Stadium ( O&O )
OwnerSinclair Broadcast Group (Sinclair Yakima Licensee, LLC )
Sister stationsKIMA-TV , KLEW-TV , KVVK-CA/KORX-CA
First air dateDecember 28, 1954 (65 years ago) ( 1954-12-28 )
Former channel number(s)Analog: 19 (UHF, 1954-2009)
Former affiliationsNBC (1954-1965) ABC (1954-1970) both secondary
Call sign meaningKE nnewick P asco R ichland
Technical information
Licensing authorityFCC
Facility ID56029
ERP83 kW
HAAT367 m (1,204 ft)
Transmitter coordinates46550N 1191133W / 46.09722N 119.19250W / 46.09722; -119.19250
Public license informationProfile LMS
Websitekeprtv .com

KEPR-TV went on air for first time on December 28 1954, as a satellite of KIMA-TV. It was owned by Cascade Broadcasting Company, which also owns 40 percent of KWIE in Kennewick. Cascade bought the remaining 60 percent of KWIE in 1956 and changed its call letters to KEPR, matching television station, following year. A few years earlier, Federal Communications Commission collapse all of central Washington into one giant television market. However, this market was designated UHF island due to being sandwich between Seattle to the West, Spokane to the east and Portland to the south. It soon became apparent that one full-power UHF station would not nearly be enough for adequate coverage of this vast and mountainous area. KEPR-TV thus signed on as the first station in the United States to be a satellite of another. Original plans call for it to be a straight repeater of KIMA-TV, apart from station identifications. However, it soon became apparent that Tri-Cities residents wanted more local station. Monte Strohl, who until then had been radio salesman at KIMA, was instal as first manager-salesman of KEPR-TV. The station also added a separate news department. Like its parent station, KEPR-TV carries programming from all three networks, but was the primary CBS affiliate. It lost to NBC in 1965 when KNDU followed the lead of parent station KNDO and became a full-time NBC affiliate, and lost to ABC when KVEW signed on along with parent KAPP in 1970. During the 1970s, two stations co-brand as Cascade TV. KEPR produces Community Health Journal with Jim Hall, former anchorman for the station who is now with Kadlec Medical Center in Richland. The program has aired for 15 years, making it one of the longest-running magazine programs on the market. Filmways agreed to purchase Cascade Broadcasting for 3 million in 1968; sale was approved the following year. Cascade's previous owners retained the company's radio stations, which by this point also include KEPR-FM, under the name Yakima Valley Communications; KEPR radio stations then changed their call letters to KONA and KONA-FM. Filmways sold KEPR-TV, KIMA-TV, and KLEW-TV to NWG Broadcasting for 1 million in 1972. Retlaw Enterprises acquired NWG stations for 17 million in 1986; stations were operated as part of Retlaw Broadcasting division. Fisher Communications purchased KEPR-TV along with other Retlaw own stations in 1999. In 2000, KEPR became the first station in Tri-Cities to broadcast digital signal with activation of low-power, standard-definition signal on channel 18; This was upgraded to full-power, high-definition signal in 2007. Digital signal remain on channel 18 following the end of analog broadcasting in 2009, using PSIP to display its virtual channel as 19. On March 30 2009, KEPR launched a digital subchannel affiliate with CW, filling the void left by KCWK going dark at the end of May 2008 due to Pappas Telecasting bankruptcy. Subchannel subsequently took KCWK's former channel 9 position on local cable systems.

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