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Saturday, January 6, 2001

Abilene’s new Fox affiliate, KXVA, expected to broadcast next week
By Brien Murphy
Reporter-News Staff Writer

Abilene’s oft-delayed new Fox television affiliate should be on the air by Tuesday, barring unforeseen weather or technological delays.

Crews spent Thursday readjusting equipment needed to broadcast KXVA-TV on area cable systems. Other crews working on KXVA’s broadcast tower plan to spend the weekend finishing their work.

That should bring KXVA on the air within a few days. Bill Carter, general manager of both KXVA and KIDZ-TV, the current home of Fox programs, said he’s excited, but cautious.

“We’ve said this so many times, it sounds like we’re crying wolf,” Carter said. “But if the weather keeps up, we’ll be in good shape.’’

The initial plan for Sage Broadcasting, owner of both stations, had KXVA going on the air in September or October and making KIDZ a full-time UPN affiliate. But a series of weather-related delays kept crews from finishing the broadcast tower on time.

“I’m just glad I can still laugh about it,” Carter said. “The tower guys have said the same thing — they’ve never had anything like this go on for so long.”

KIDZ has broadcast Fox programs in the Big Country since 1992. For several years, KIDZ also has been the home of selected UPN shows such as “WWF Smackdown!” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”

The Fox programs now seen on KIDZ will be broadcast on both stations for a few days as equipment is tested.

When that is finished, Fox programming, including NFL football coverage, will move to KXVA. The full UPN prime-time lineup will be broadcast evenings on KIDZ. During the daytime, programs from the PAX network will be seen on KIDZ.

In addition to the network programs, Big Country sports fans will have more choices. Carter said UPN will carry games in the new XFL football league, which begins play in February. The local stations have an agreement to carry Texas Rangers baseball games, and are working on a plan to carry professional hockey games.

KXVA will be on channel 15 while KIDZ will stay on channel 54. For Cox Communications cable television subscribers in Abilene, KXVA will be on channel 6 and KIDZ will be on channel 16.

Carter said most of the almost 30 area cable systems will carry both stations. A handful may carry only KXVA. People in those areas who want to see UPN programs may watch them on channel 54 if they use a UHF antenna on their television sets.

KXVA will be a high-power station. Its tower will be near KTAB-TV’s tower southeast of Abilene, giving it a similar over-the-air broadcast radius. Viewers in towns such as Sweetwater, Brownwood, Eastland and Stamford should be able to pick up its signal.

KIDZ will continue to be a low-power station, which means people who live in low-lying areas may continue having trouble getting clear reception of the station.

Contact entertainment writer Brien Murphy at 676-6760 or murphyb@abinews.com.

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