DMA 45

Patriotism Key To KAUT Rebranding

KAUT plays to Oklahoma's huge population of active military personnel, their families and retirees by including programming based on their interests and conservative sensibility.

Oklahoma City’s KAUT-TV is wrapping itself in the flag as it rebrands itself as Freedom 43 on April 11. “Freedom 43 TV is for all Oklahomans who believe in faith, freedom and patriotism,” explained Jim Boyer, president and GM of the Local TV-owned KFOR-TV and KAUT-TV duopoly. “We will be using our on-air talents and abilities to salute those who proudly serve in our military, those who have served in the past, their families and friends, and those who respect their achievements.”

KAUT will continue to air My Network programming in prime time and shows like How I Met Your Mother and Friends in daytime. And M*A*S*H continues at 10:30 PM. But the station has redesigned its 7 AM and 9 PM newscasts so that they focus on local commentary “and new franchise reports that appeal to our patriotic and conservative viewers,” said Mary Ann Eckstein, SVP/news director. As part of that, there will be weather reports from areas of the world where Oklahomans serving in the military are stationed.

Oklahoma has more than 50,000 active and reserve military personnel, with almost as many civilians employed by the military. It is also the No. 2 ranked destination for military retirees, according to the station.

Comments (9)

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Roger Lyons says:

March 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm

This type of branding could work in OKC if they had the right mix of programming. Looking at their schedule, they’d need to make a few changes, because airing “Maury” contradicts everything their new branding stands for.

    Jeannine Aversa says:

    March 25, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Excellent point AZ. The often risque and adult oriented humor of “Fiends” and “How I Met Your Mother” is a very awkward fit with their brand as well.

bob tan says:

March 25, 2011 at 8:27 am

Why is Conservatism connected to Patriotism? I’m a drooling fanged east coast liberal progressive, But I’m also Patriotic. There are LIberal members of all branches of the Military. “…and new franchise reports that appeal to our patriotic and conservative viewers,” That’s not news, that’s propaganda, sounds more like the old soviet style of “News” than anything that should exist in America.

Steven Mendel says:

March 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

Bill Ritchotte… Yes, you are a typical Liberal. Always sure to voice your minority opinions that miss the big picture and destroy good ideas that promote a worthy cause. I’m sure if more of you complain there won’t be any voice for the military and they’ll all be considered “Commies” too.

Martin Crutsinger says:

March 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

Mr. Ritchotte makes a good point, and misses ours entirely. We intend to cover stories that people who consider themselves patriotic will find interesting, whatever their political leanings. It is also true that most residents of Oklahoma share traditional conservative values based on faith, family and freedom, values that reverberate through the ranks of our servicemen and women and their families. As for the non-news programming, it’s our observation that people watch programs, not stations. We’re confident that viewers who appreciate our newscasts will not abandon the station because we air other entertainment they might not find appealing.

bob tan says:

March 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

Let me just say that as a brand, considering where you are, it’s a smart move. My problem is applying the brand to your newscasts. Conservatism is an ideology and it has no more a place in newscasts than does liberalism. My second pont, which seems harder for conservatives to understand is that LIberals value freedom, family and faith as much as conservatives.

none none says:

March 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm

The conversation about ‘faith, family and freedom’ should be left to families not television stations exposing opinions. Put the news on, put “Maury” on and shut-up.

joanne gauvin says:

March 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Great job Jim for trying to connect to your community in a way they would appreciate. You know your market..

Jennifer Dahl says:

March 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I agree with those who have problems with newscasts deliberately slanting toward a particular political view. Fox News went all “patriotic” after 9/11 with their flag pins, flag graphics, and “USA USA USA” stories. It was obvious pandering and was quite sickening. That said, if KAUT does more positive stories and ones which offer solutions –as opposed to murder, crime, people hating each other, and traffic accidents– they might just have something. That said, looking at the overnights they have a long road ahead of them if they’re just going to rehash KFOR’s stuff.