BOISE -- KTVB is celebrating six decades of news, weather, and faithfully covering the Gem State's unique people and places.
Idaho's News Channel 7 was born on July 12, 1953 when television broadcasting was a new business. The fledgling company -- originally named KIDO-TV -- was Idaho's first television station. All programming was broadcast in black and white.
However, the early 50s was a time of intense growth and expansion for TV across the nation, including Idaho. In 1955, KIDO-TV began airing some network programming in color. At that time there were still only about 350 television sets in the treasure valley's entire broadcasting area.
In comparison, today there are 260,000 television homes in the Boise designated market area, and 99 percent of homes here have TV.
Also back then, there was a fine line between news and commercials, with many anchors doing double duty between the news and advertising.
KTVB's first and longtime general manager Bob Krueger started with the company in 1956. Krueger Climbed his way all the way up the corporate ladder to be the station's president, and saw a great deal of change over his decades with channel 7 -- including its transition to KTVB Idaho's News Channel 7.
Current president and general manager Doug Armstrong, only the second in KTVB's history, says the station is highly unique in having only two people to have held his position. He also says there's a some the public may not know about how KTVB has continued for so long.
"You know, it is a complex business. The public sees our news. They see that in their living rooms. They see it on their iPads and on their computer desktop. But it takes a lot to bring that to the public," Armstrong said. "But I think the thing that we're most proud of is that we care about this community and make the bottom line of this organization all about building a stronger community, and if we get that right, everything else will take care of itself."
Anchors Carolyn Holly and Dee Sarton and meteorologist Rick Lantz have all worked at KTVB for 30 years. On the 60th anniversary, Holly talked about how much things have changed, especially since she anchored and produced KTVB's very first morning show.
"It was fabulous. It was only a 15 minute show called Idaho at Sunrise, and I shared the other 15 minutes of the half hour with Ann Curry of NBC News," Holly said. "As far as behind the scenes, I ran my own teleprompter with a foot teleprompter. And the janitor in between dumping the garbage would come in here and run my camera. We've come a long way since then."
John Ptacek, a production director at KTVB, started at the station 37 years ago as a news photographer and directed the first Idaho at Sunrise program.
"When I started we had the only video camera in the market, but it wasn't portable. You had about 50 pounds in a cart that you had to drag around with you," Ptacek said. "The quality was good on a sunny day, marginal on a cloudy day, and if you went inside, you couldn't take enough lights to light up the inside of a building. :Now what everybody has on their cell phone is a 100 times better than what we called television back then."
Former news director Sal Celeski poses in this undated promo photo
Krueger says things really got serious in 1970, when KTVB broke ground on its current studio location at Fairview Avenue and Curtis Road.
In the early 80s, some very familiar faces made their debut on Idaho's News Channel 7. They include Dee Sarton, Carolyn Holly, Rick Lantz and Mark Johnson, all of whom still bring you the news today.