Arizona’s only locally owned television station now is carried by all cable and satellite providers across the Valley. Last week, DirecTV added KAZ-TV (AZ-TV) to its channel lineup, making it available to at least 200,000 more households.
In all, the station that began broadcasting in spring 2002 is now available in more than 1.6 million households in Arizona.
AZ-TV has been carried by agreement for DirecTV to carry AZ-TV, Hagerty said.
"The cable and satellite companies are filling up," he said. "Space is becoming less and less available. There are more cable channels and more spinoffs of networks. So as a result, it is harder and harder to get clearance on these cable systems and satellite systems."
AZ-TV is now Channel 7 on DirecTV, between KPHO-TV on Channel 5 and KAET-TV on Channel 8.
"It ensures further momentum because, when you have that thousands more homes carrying your signal, you can’t help but grow," said Ron Bergamo, Cox since 2002, and has been available to Dish Network customers for more than a year.
"This (DirecTV) is something that we’ve been after since Londen Media Group acquired this television station in 2002 and relaunched it as AZ-TV," said Michael Hagerty, director of programming and promotion.
"This was for 20 years KUSKTV in Prescott and the previous owners had not negotiated an arrangement for carriage on DirecTV.
Federal Communications Commission "must-carry" rules, which mandate that cable and satellite companies carry various local and public television stations within the provider’s service area, facilitated an general manger. "Satellite is in about 25 percent of the homes and cable is in about 60 percent. So satellite is growing dramatically and the combination of satellite and cable is a big percentage of the viewing public."
AZ-TV’s programming includes a mix of classic and contemporary sitcoms, local programming and sports, including such original, local programming as "The Pat McMahon Show," "AM Arizona," "AZ-TV Auto Show" and "JobingTV."
"We are also transitioning out of the . . . old, stereotypical image of AZ-TV as the black-and-white rerun station," Hagerty said. "The timing couldn’t be better. We began four years ago with programs like ‘The Honeymooners’ and ‘My Three Sons,’ and in two months we will be picking up ‘Frasier.’ ‘My Wife and Kids’ launched in syndication on our air in September and ‘According to Jim’ begins syndication with us in September. ‘George Lopez’ comes the following autumn."
AZ-TV is in a good position to compete for viewers with other local channels on DirecTV, Bergamo said.
"We had great ratings success without DirecTV so we anticipate we’ll have even more ratings success with it because a number of Nielsen meters are in the DirecTV homes," he said.