Looking back on Channel 17’s 60 years in Bakersfield


Bakersfield, Calif. (KGET)— Friday marks the 60th anniversary of Channel 17’s debut on the air in Kern County.

Back then the station was not yet called KGET nor affiliated with NBC. Then an ABC affiliate- Channel 17’s first broadcast was november 8, 1959 as KLYD. The call letters changed KJTV in 1969. Then KJTV swapped affiliations from ABC to CBS in 1973.

After another call letter change to KPWR in 1978, a new transmitter was installed, raising the signal from 12 kilowatts to an unheard of 55 kilowatts.

In 1984, the station was purchased by The Ackerley Group.
The call letters were finally changed to the current KGET – TV, coinciding with an affiliate swap with KERO to become Bakersfield’s NBC affiliate.

In 1990, KGET aquired the building adjacent to the news studio and formed Eye Street Productions, a full service, state of the art video production facility to facilitate the growing need of all the video production in the Bakersfield area.

KGET continued to grow, and through hard work and dedication from the entire staff, over the next decade, KGET became a trusted leader in the community.

In 1997, KGET decided to move from its 13,000 square foot location on Eye street to a 34,000 square foot building, once owned by Pacific Bell at 2120 L St., as part of the downtown redevelopment project.

Eleven months, 60 miles of cable and 26,450 connectors later, the massive project was complete and would combine KGET and Eye Street Production into one beautiful facility in the heart of downtown Bakersfield.

With the added space and technology, the already-active KGET was able to grow its commitment to the community by leaps and bounds.

The corner of 22nd and L streets became host of so many fundraisers and charitable events, it quickly earned the nickname “compassion corner.”

In 2003, the now Clear-Channel-Owned KGET became transmitting in digital and in 2004 built and launched KKEY, the area’s first local Spanish newscast.

In March 2008, KGET and KKEY were purchased by Newport Television.

In September 2008, KGET shut down its analog transmitter.

Later in 2009, the KKEY trasmitter was shutdown and Telemundo was put on KGET’s digital signal as 17.3.

In 2010, KGET began the massive construction of the new state of the art HD broadcast studio and in January 2011, launched its first newscast in full high definition

In March 2013, KGET and KKEY were purchased by Nexstar Broadcasting Group Incorporated.

There have been many changes through the years, but KGET’s original commitment to serve this community has remained the same.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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