Why Tv13 Stockton, not Sacramento? KOVR belongs to Stockton; always has. KOVR ownership loathes Stockton, but uses it because the license is here.
Picture (left) is KOVR's test pattern. Used at the beginning and end of the broadcast day for engineering purposes. Most television stations went off the air at night and people actually slept. (right) Drawn by Disney for Mc Clatchy's KOVR Tv 13 Stockton studio. "TeeVee the Bee" was KOVR's mascot. Both are rare to find.
In May 1957, KOVR merged its operations with Sacramento's original ABC affiliate, KCCC (channel 40, which signed on a few months before KOVR). KCCC went silent, and KOVR became Sacramento's ABC affiliate. At ABC's request, the station moved its transmitter to a temporary site near Jackson to avoid interference with KGO-TV in San Francisco.
By this time, it was obvious that Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto were going to be a single television market. In 1960, KOVR teamed up with KCRA-TV and KXTV to build a new 1,549-foot tower in Walnut Grove. In 1985, KOVR and KXTV moved to their current tower while KCRA moved to its own tower; KCRA still uses the old tower as an auxiliary.
In 1959, John Kluge's Metropolitan Broadcasting (which later became Metromedia) bought KOVR and owned the station until 1964. In 1960, the station moved its general offices and news department to a new studio on Arden Way in Sacramento. In 1987 KOVR consolidated its operations into its current facility in West Sacramento.
Metromedia sold KOVR to McClatchy Newspapers in 1964. McClatchy ran the station alongside The Sacramento Bee and Modesto Bee newspapers, as well as radio stations KWG in Stockton and KFBK in Sacramento. McClatchy was able to own KOVR, KWG and KFBK because Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto are separate radio markets. McClatchy had established a trio of bee mascots (originally designed by Walt Disney, whose namesake company would eventually acquire ABC) of which Teevee the Bee was KOVR's official mascot during the years McClatchy owned the station -- short cartoons of the bee bookended KOVR's broadcast day, either ushering in or concluding the day's programming. ( )
After McClatchy sold the station to Outlet Communications in 1978, KOVR went into a gradual decline in terms of both ratings and programming quality (even as ABC became the country's highest-rated network), and has been in third place in the Sacramento ratings for most of the time since then. The station was then sold to Narragansett Television LP in 1986, then to Anchor Media in 1988. Anchor Media was merged into River City Broadcasting in 1993, and RiverCity was purchased by the Sinclair Broadcast Group three years later.
KOVR does have its high water marks in local broadcasting: it was the first station in Northern California to use videotape (rather than film) for its newscasts, and was the first station in the Sacramento/Stockton area to broadcast in stereo.
As an ABC affiliate, KOVR preempted a moderate amount of programming, even the 30 minute soap opera Loving. It also aired some ABC programming out of pattern: All My Children in the early years used to air at 11 AM. (Half the ABC affiliates air AMC at 11 AM to follow it with their noon newscasts; the timeslot is secondary compared to airing AMC at noon traditionally). In the mid-90s, KOVR moved the soap opera to air at 3 PM, a practice continued by KXTV by the network switch until the early 2000s.