Three stations in Topeka — ABC affiliate KTKA, NBC affiliate KSNT and Fox affiliate KTMJ — have combined resources to form a virtual triopoly in the market, called Kansas First News. The switch became official with the first broadcast Saturday evening.
KSNT and KTMJ are owned by New Vision Television; KTKA was recently purchased, over strong protests by local cable operators, by PBC Broadcasting. New Vision and PBC entered into a shared services agreement to combine operational power of the three stations, similar to arrangements the two companies have in Savannah, GA and Youngstown, OH.
Staffers for KTKA, KSNT and KTMJ will share one newsroom and plan to expand news coverage to additional broadcasts that will debut this fall. “By combining resources, we will have more photographers and reporters in the field, along with three live mobile newsrooms, to provide the most comprehensive news, weather, and sports information in the market,” news director Nate Hill said in a statement.
Local cable operators were vocal in their opposition to the KTKA sale, saying a shared services agreement between PBC Broadcasting and New Vision Television will lead to higher retransmission fees in Topeka.