May 7, 2015 11:11 AM

KLAF-TV is making the switch to primetime, joining the NBC Network in the Lafayette market later this summer.

According to an announcement by Nexstar Broadcasting, KLAF’s parent company, the switch to NBC will bring Lafayette viewers a combination of both NBC’s popular primetime offerings as well an assortment of locally produced programming.

“We are looking forward to launching the market’s first NBC affiliated station on KLAF-TV, which reflects our commitment to providing viewers with the most relevant, compelling and informative content and community-focused programming,” Tom Poehler, KADN and KLAF’s vice president and general manager, said in a press release.

“For many years NBC programming has been segmented with three different signals that come from outside of our market,” Poehler continues. “We are excited to announce this relationship with NBC and expand our commitment to all viewers in the Lafayette, Acadiana community by bring an uninterrupted HD signal of NBC’s exceptional array of primetime programming, high-quality sports and entertainment offerings on KLAF-TV. In addition, to address the needs of our local viewers, plans are underway for KLAF-TV to debut entirely new, innovative local news programming in early 2016. We look forward to updating the local community on this initiative in the coming months.”

Julie Pruett, senior vice president and regional manager of Nexstar Broadcasting, said in the press release that KLAF-TV will be the company’s second local NBC affiliate in the state. The company also owns WVLA in Baton Rouge.

KLAF, however, won’t be the first NBC affiliate based in the Lafayette market, according to sister station KADN’s Wikipedia page, which notes that KADN Channel 15 “was originally home to KLNI-TV, which operated as an NBC affiliate beginning on September 16, 1968.” With ABC affiliate KATC-TV and CBS station KLFY-TV already in the market, Lafayette at the time was too small to support three TV stations, according to the Wiki page. After suffering financial difficulties, KLNI ceased operations on Feb. 21, 1975, leaving WBRZ — and later WRBT, now WVLA — from Baton Rouge and KPLC from Lake Charles as the region’s de facto NBC affiliates, the Wiki page continues. (WBRZ is now an ABC affiliate.)

The page notes that the allocation for Channel 15 in Lafayette as a commercial TV station remained after the demise of KLNI, but the frequency stayed dark for the next five years.

Starting July 1, KLAF will make the switch to NBC official when it begins airing the new programming (the station is currently broadcast on Cox Channel 13 and LUS Fiber Channel 13).

It’s unclear what the new Lafayette-based NBC station will mean for the other NBC affiliates with a presence in this market: KPLC out of Lake Charles, KLAF sister station WVLA out of Baton Rouge and Alexandria’s KALB. KPLC and WVLA are both carried on Cox, and LUS Fiber offers KPLC.

“That remains to be determined, in terms of our carriage on local cable systems,” KPLC Vice President and General Manager Jim Serra tells ABiz. “But we are still available for free over the air throughout much of Acadiana (including metro Lafayette) with an outdoor antenna. And of course we live stream all of KPLC’s newscasts on kplctv.com and our mobile apps.”


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