KIVI TV invites you to the party

Channel 6 is celebrating its 50-year anniversary
Posted at 2:28 PM, Nov 16, 2023

NAMPA, Idaho — 2024 will be a special year for us at Idaho News 6, and we want to bring you along for the ride.

KIVI-TV signed on the air in early 1974, and in the next few months, our news teams will take you down memory lane culminating in February when we begin to look forward to the next 50 years.

We kick things off from our studios in Nampa.

To say it is an unusual building would be a big understatement, Chief Engineer Jeff Hoffert put it this way. "Cause it was a unique design and they built the structure. A lot of stuff is a facade, but it's essentially a concrete bunker."

Local broadcast and historian and former Channel 6 employee Steve Bertel says you'll be hard-pressed to find another building like it. "I certainly haven't worked in a building that is uniquely shaped as this," comments Bertel.

And yes there was a Channel 6 sign on the building that had a bit of a disco look to it. Hoffert explains, "[Originally], The 6 would change colors with the temperatures."

You can't make that up. An entertainment writer for the Idaho Statesman said the building looked like a dismantled pyramid. Steve Bertel remembers it well, "There was a lot of mystery about the new building until the Statesman started publishing articles that this would be the new ABC affiliate for the Treasure Valley."

Former General Manager Ken Ritchie was here from the very beginning. "When I came out here to interview for the job I interviewed in this building," he recalls.

Ritchie remembers how big of a deal it was to get an ABC station that had Monday Night Football, Happy Days, Three's Company, and the Brady Bunch. "For a new station to ride on that wave of some of the popular programming ... it was a huge boom to get the station established off the ground," says Ritchie.

And how did the community respond to having a brand new station in the valley? "There was an overwhelmingly positive response to it because people had another choice, and ABC had some quality programming that people wanted to watch," answered Ritchie.

Once the station was up and running, 1974 brought its fair share of big stories, both locally and nationally. In Washington, the Watergate hearing got underway, eventually leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Locally, all eyes were on Twin Falls where Evil Knievel attempted (and failed) to jump over the Snake River.

More on those stories and others that have shaped our state, the Treasure Valley, and our station will be coming up over the next couple of months.