Flagship (television)

Flagship (television)

__NOTOC__A flagship television station is the principal station of a television network in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. [cite web | title = Jorge Delgado Named President and General Manager of Univision Flagship Station KMEX and Telefutura Station KFTR | publisher =Univision | date = February 13, 2002 | url =http://www.univision.net/corp/en/pr/Los_Angeles_13022002-1.html | accessdate = 2007-10-31 ] The term "flagship station" is also used in radio broadcasting (see radio flagship stations).

The phrase derives from the naval term "flagship", referring to the custom where the commanding officer of a group of naval ships would fly a distinguishing flag on his vessel. Thus, "flagship" in common parlance has come to mean the most important or leading member of a group.

In the late 1920s, network owned-and-operated (or "O&O") radio stations in New York City began producing live entertainment and news programs, fed by telephone lines to network affiliates. These eventually were dubbed flagship stations.

When television networks were formed in the United States in the late 1940s and grew during the early 1950s, network-owned stations in New York City became the production centers for programs originating on the East Coast, feeding affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC in the eastern three-fourths of the country. Stations in Los Angeles similarly started producing programs on the West Coast, feeding affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, Alaska, and Hawaii. Conseqently, the networks' New York stations became known as the "East Coast flagships" of their respective networks and the networks' Los Angeles stations became known as the "West Coast flagships".

ABC, CBS, and NBC are headquartered in New York, which is the largest television market in the U.S., so their respective New York radio and television stations are considered the overall network flagship stations. As programming schedules increased and modern technology improved transmission to affiliates, the networks set up operations centers in New York (for the East Coast feed) and Los Angeles (for the West Coast feed). Los Angeles is the second largest television market in the U.S., and traditional home to the motion picture industry and its pool of popular talent, one of the reasons the radio networks set up operations there in the 1930's and 1940's.

This arrangement is reversed for the Fox Broadcasting Company. When Fox was launched in 1986, it's network operations center was (and still is) based in Los Angeles. However, Fox's parent company, the News Corporation, is headquartered in New York City. Fox-owned WNYW in New York is considered the network's overall flagship, while sister station KTTV in Los Angeles is considered a second flagship station.

The term is also used for stations that operate satellite stations in other cities. For example, KSNW in Wichita, Kansas is the flagship station of the Kansas State Network, a chain of NBC affiliates in western Kansas.

While the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States does not have an official flagship television station, the television industry has long considered WNET in the New York area with that title, based on its official flagship role with PBS's predecessor, National Educational Television.

In sports broadcasting, the "flagship television station" is the sports team's primary station in the team's home market. For example, WWJ-TV in Detroit is the flagship station of The Detroit Lions Television Network, which feeds Detroit Lions pre-season football games to 6 affiliates in Michigan, so anyone in the state can view the games no matter where they live. (See also List of current Major League Baseball announcers, List of current NFL announcers, List of current National Basketball Association broadcasters, List of current National Hockey League broadcasters, List of current Major League Soccer commentators). Each article lists each team's flagship station, if applicable. However, the "sports flagship television station" is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, with the growing popularity of cable and satellite only Regional sports networks.

Flagship stations of nationwide networks

United States

Note: All flagships are located in London.

Notable former flagship stations

The nationally syndicated show Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, which was later renamed At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper (after the death of Gene Siskel) was produced at WLS-TV in Chicago from 1986 until 2008. The current incarnation with Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz is produced at KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

ee also

*Zaikyō kī kyoku (Flagship stations of Japan)


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