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|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)|
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
|Translators||KFTU-CD 34 (18 UHF) Tucson|
KUVE-DT 46.2 (34.2 UHF) Green Valley
KUVE-CD 42.2 (36.2 UHF) Tucson
|Affiliations||3.1: UniMás (O&O)|
|Licensee||UniMas Partnership of Douglas|
|First air date||June 20, 2001|
|Call sign meaning||TeleFuTUra (former affiliation) |
|Former call signs||KBGF (2001–2002)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
3 (VHF, (2001–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (June–September 2001)|
|Transmitter power||5 kW|
|Height||685 m (2,247 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KFTU-DT, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 36), is a UniMás owned-and-operated television station serving Tucson, Arizona, United States that is licensed to Douglas. The station is owned by the Univision Local Media subsidiary of Univision Communications, as part of a duopoly with Green Valley-licensed Univision owned-and-operated station KUVE-DT (channel 46). The two stations share studios on Forbes Boulevard in Tucson; KFTU's transmitter is located on Juniper Flats Road northwest of Bisbee.
KFTU-CD, virtual channel 34 (UHF digital channel 18), is a low-power Class A television station licensed to Tucson that rebroadcasts KFTU-DT's signal to the city, as KFTU's coverage area falls well short of Tucson proper. KFTU-DT is also rebroadcast on KUVE-DT's second digital subchannel in order to reach the entire market; this signal can be seen on UHF channel 34.2 (or virtual channel 46.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop Mount Bigelow. Likewise, KUVE is rebroadcast on KFTU's second digital subchannel. Master control and most internal operations for KFTU-DT and KUVE are based at the facilities of sister station KTVW-DT on 30th Street in southern Phoenix.
The station was granted its original construction permit on April 8, 1998, and took the call letters KBGF in June 1998. Initially owned by Winstar Broadcasting Corp. of New York City, it was sold in December 1999 to Douglas Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Equity Broadcasting of Little Rock, Arkansas. Douglas Broadcasting completed building the station and filed for a license to cover the construction permit in April 2001. At the same time, they took KBGF on the air under Program Test Authority as an independent station. In October 2001, Douglas Broadcasting sold the station to Univision, who changed its call letters to KFTU in January 2002 to coincide with the launch of its new network, Telefutura (now UniMás), and added the "-TV" suffix two years later (after the end of analog broadcasting in June 2009, KFTU and all other Univision-owned stations switched to the "-DT" suffix). The station obtained its license to cover construction on February 4, 2004, after nearly three years operating under Program Test Authority.
KFTU-CD began with an original construction permit granted on August 26, 1991 to Ponyland Broadcasting (later Venture Technologies) for a low-power television station to serve Tucson on UHF channel 25 with the callsign K25EA. Delays building the station caused the permit to lapse and the FCC to delete the callsign in 1993, but the station was restored and came on the air in August 1994, with the initial license granted August 29, 1994. The station changed its callsign to KTAZ-LP (for Tucson AZ) on December 18, 1996. In April 2001, Venture Technologies sold the station to Douglas Broadcasting, who, in turn, sold the station to Univision in September 2001. After the Telefutura network launched in January 2002, Univision dropped the station's Home Shopping Network affiliation in favor of its new network. About the same time, KTAZ was granted Class A status, and changed its call letters to KTAZ-CA on March 1, 2002. KTAZ found itself displaced when Fox affiliate KMSB (channel 11) neared launch of its digital television station on UHF channel 25, and in May 2002, applied to move to UHF channel 34. The application was granted in June, and by December 2002, the station was at its new broadcast channel. Univision changed the station's call letters to KFTU-CA on November 6, 2004, establishing brand identity with its principal station in Douglas. The station's call sign was changed again on March 19, 2012, concurrent with its transition to digital broadcasting.
The KTAZ call letters would resurface in Phoenix in 2006, when the Telemundo station there began branding itself as Telemundo Arizona.
Because it was granted an original construction permit after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalized the DTV allotment plan on April 21, 1997 , the station did not receive a companion channel for a digital television station. Instead, on June 12, 2009, which was the end of the digital TV conversion period for full-service stations, KFTU-TV was required to turn off its analog signal and turn on its digital signal (called a "flash-cut").
However, since its analog channel position was in the low-VHF range, 2 - 6, KFTU-DT was allowed to select a different channel to use after the conversion. KFTU-DT selected UHF channel 36 and began operations on that channel once the digital transition was complete.
KFTU-CD did not apply for a companion channel for the digital conversion; as a low-powered television station, it was exempt from the 2009 analog shutdown. The station began was issued a digital license to cover on March 19, 2012.
KFTU-DT previously had another repeater station in Tucson, K48GX (analog channel 48), that provided over-the-air coverage to areas to the northwest of Tucson that are shielded by terrain from the KFTU-CD signal. The station has since been taken off the air, with no FCC information available.