San Diego has changed a lot since KNSD broadcasted its first newscast, but our commitment to telling stories through quality journalism hasn’t. Join us as we journey back through the decades this November to remember and honor past milestones while ushering in the future for many more years to come.
The station first signed on the air November 14, 1965 as KAAR on Channel 39 in San Diego. It was the first independent television station in the market. The station originally operated from a building that was once occupied by the National Pen Company, located in the neighborhood of Kearny Mesa. In 1966, a fire destroyed the KAAR transmitter, and the station was knocked off the air for more than a year. Channel 39 was sold to Western Telecasters Inc. and returned to air in January 1968 as KCST.
Between 1972 and 1973, KCST took over the ABC affiliation from XETV. At the time KGTV was the NBC affiliate. Within that transition, Western Telecasters sold KCST to Storer Broadcasting. The sale was completed on September 30, 1974. The switch and sale transformed the small independent into a major player in the market.
On June 27, 1977, ABC moved its San Diego affiliation from KCST to KGTV, causing an affiliation swap where KCST took the NBC affiliation and rebranded as "39 Alive."
In 1985, the Storer stations were acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.. Two years later, KCST was sold to Gillett Communications. On September 16, 1988, the station changed its call letters to KNSD, and adopted the on-air brand "Channel 7/39" (7 being the cable channel positon and 39 being the over the air channel position). In 1992, the station was sold to New World Communications.
NBC acquired KNSD in 1996, making it the only network owned station in San Diego. KNSD modified its on-air branding to "NBC 7/39" and later changed its brand promise to "Coverage You Can Count On."
In 2001, KNSD left the old National Pen Company in Kearny Mesa and moved into the renamed “NBC Building” in downtown San Diego. The offices were completely redeveloped to include a state-of-the-art street side studio in the heart of downtown. The high-rise would be KNSD’s home for the next 15 years.
In 2011, Comcast Corporation purchased NBCUniversal from General Electric Co.. The new owners believed strongly in the local television business and made significant investments in their newly-acquired local stations around the country, including in San Diego. KNSD rebranded as NBC 7 San Diego dropping the over-the-air channel number as more homes were migrating to cable and satellite services. KNSD evolved into “Coverage You Count On,” dropping the “can” and symbolizing that we’ve been here for our community… it's more than a station you “can” count on… it’s the station you count on.
In June 2014, KNSD announced the purchase of a two-story, 50,000 square foot building back in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood where it began. Fifty years later, the station may be going back to its roots location wise, but it’s being built for the future.
“The move is an opportunity to build the newsroom our quickly-evolving industry demands,” said NBC 7 San Diego President and General Manager Richard Kelley, “It allows for growth and the tools needed to provide the best local news coverage that our community expects and deserves.”
KNSD plans to start broadcasting from the new studios in early 2016.
From humble beginnings, KNSD is now a media powerhouse in the San Diego market. The station broadcasts 34 hours of local news each week on NBC 7 while simultaneously providing news and content 24/7 on NBC7.com (the #1 media website in San Diego), the NBC 7 App for iPhone and Android and all NBC 7 social pages (which have the largest social audience in San Diego). After 50 years of service, KNSD is the “Coverage You Count On."