Channel 11 Goes On The Air – Tacoma News Tribune – March 4, 1953: KTNT TV Channel 11 – Tacoma

Here is the 47-page introduction to KTNT Channel 11, owned by the Tacoma News Tribune…

Click on the following pages to ENLARGE

Supplemental information from earlier posts:

1949 FM




KTNT Grant St

March 4, 1953 – The battleship Missouri was steaming into Wonson Harbor, Pres. Eisenhower was facing up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy and a U.S. Senate committee was examining campaign finances by a young vice president named Richard Nixon.
And Seattle-Tacoma got its second television station.
KTNT TV celebrates its 20th anniversary of telecasting this month. The station signed on March 1, 1953.
Max Bice was then chief engineer and now is vice president and general manager of the broadcast division of the Tribune Publishing company. He will reminisce with Len Higgins, also a KTNT pioneer, on Scenario, at 10 o’clock this morning and 9:30 tonight on Channel 11.
Initially, KTNT TV was the CBS affiliate for the area. It became an independent station when the last station to enter the market, KIRO TV, affiliated with CBS in 1958. That affiliation fight was bitter and only now has healed over enough that Channel 11 carries two CBS programs that Channel 7 has not cleared.
1960_ktnt_contestAs an independent, KTNT gained national stature for its early concept of “strip” programming. KTNT had affiliated with Tele-Rep, a New York advertising representative. The station and the rep firm developed a counter-programming device — youth-oriented rerun programs offered almost daily.
Programs like Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason, and Star Trek were placed up against the newscasts on network affiliate stations and things happened. The youngsters took control of the TV set. Today, a traveler can visit dozens of cities with stations offering programming almost identical to that on Channel 11.
Bice is one of the few engineering-inspired television executives in the country to advance to station management. His initiative developed early.
In 1952, the Federal Communications Commission broke out of its backlog of TV allocations and issued KTNT’s construction permit ahead of schedule. Bice had to scramble to find an antenna. Through his engineering friends he found one in Syracuse, New York. It was unused because a Milan, Italy station had changed plans. Bice “conned” a railroad line into taking the stalls out of an extra-lomg padded unit designed for expensive race horses. The 2,650-lb six-bay super turnstile antenna came across country without incident.
The initial programming day was from 5 o’clock until 11:30 p.m. The television programs included City Doctor, the Arthur Godfrey Show, Toast of the Town, and Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.
In those days the official TV test pattern was an Indian profile. After weeks of testing, the station signed on with the superimposed Irish profile of Len Higgins in full headgear.
Len Higgins KTNTHiggins, now 63, is the station’s public affairs director. He confides he will stay at the station until he is shoved out the door.
Bice’s office, in a house-grown-into-a-TV-station atop Tacoma’s business district, continues to reflect the 1950s. The walls are half-panelled in knotty pine. Fixtures and lamps are post-war, but just barely. A labyrinth of stairwells, attics and dank basement areas surround the television control room with its modern control panels casting oscilloscope green and monitor blue.
“In 1954 we moved the transmitter to View Park, near Olalla — opposite West Seattle.” Ted Knightlinger, promotion director, said. “The tower you see at 11th and Grant is used for FM broadcasting.”
KTNT FM was the Tribune Publishing Company’s first venture into broadcasting. It began in 1948 and was followed in 1952 with KTNT AM. Tribune Publishing Company also owns The Tacoma News Tribune and a cable TV system in Tacoma.
To mark the two decades of telecasting, KTNT TV will release next week a new “spring schedule” of programs. It’s primary feature? Star Trek six times a week, again.

1956 coverage map




1959 talk shows



Broadcast every afternoon on KTNT TV 11. Between Woody Woodpecker and PopEye cartoons, Brakeman Bill & Crazy Donkey interviewed kids, aided local charities and kept kids entertained after school and before supper time.



1960 Broadcasting Magazine


1961 line-up



KTNT 1962

1962 dance show

1962 KTNT Dance show

1968 variety



Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of QZVX, former broadcaster at KTOY FM/Tacoma, KVAC/Forks , KDFL/Sumner, KTTX & KWHI FM/Brenham (TX), KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KJUN/Puyallup, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KAMT/Tacoma, KASY/Auburn, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KTAC/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. -- Airchecks

7 thoughts on “Channel 11 Goes On The Air – Tacoma News Tribune – March 4, 1953: KTNT TV Channel 11 – Tacoma

  1. Also the games were simulcast from KOMO 1000 at that time with the late Bob Blackburn announcing. The 58 point game by “Downtown” Freddie Brown was against Golden State and was televised on KTNT 11, March 23, 1974 and for years I wonder if that tape still exists cause my father told me he saw the game. He told me it was a thriller when Fred scored the game winning shot at the buzzer!

  2. They were also the flagship station of the Sonics back in the early 70’s, we lived in the Rainier Valley neighborhood of Seattle at that time and the reception was bad because Tacoma was 30 miles away and had to use a rabbit ears antenna to watch the game. Do know why they went to that station at that time when KING 5 used to carry their games before moving to KTNT.

        1. Kitsap County Assessor has the finished square footage as 2,107 square feet. Assessors records can be more accurate than “Z.” 🙂

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