Tuesday, February 03, 2015

KPRC 2 to get a new station, plus secret of current building

KPRC 2 will upgrade to a new, state of the art facility; plus the secret oddity about the current building


UPDATE JANUARY 2016
KPRC 2 new studio construction begins


Rumors have been flying around that KPRC 2 (don't call it Local) is planning to build a brand new, state of the art station at its current location on 8181 Southwest Freeway.

I held off from posting about this because the details are still being finalized. For example, will the current building be torn down or will the current station, which is more than 40 years old, be upgraded?

Recently someone posted details concerning the new KPRC facility on the Houston Architecture Information Forum (HAIF). KPRC Vice President/Creative Director Mike Guerrieri told mikemcguff.com those details aren't totally correct as the station is still working on the plans, but yes, a new channel 2 building is in the works.

As a result of talking with Guerrieri, I learned something new about the station which was built in the early 1970s in what I think could be called "brutalist architecture" (aka it looks like a fortress). Guerrieri was looking at the original plans for the current building and says from above, the station was designed to look like a giant film lens. Now that makes sense for a TV station at the time. Time to rent a helicopter (or drone) and take a look. Who's with me?

Down the the freeway towards downtown, KTRK abc13's current studio looks like a little Astrodome (although with recent updates it's harder to tell). According to Wikipedia, KTRK actually pre-dates the Astrodome by 10 years. Architect Hermon Lloyd designed both buildings.


Old timers will yell at me if I don't mention that KPRC was originally on Post Oak right where the Williams Tower (UPDATE: Former 950 KPRC employee Jim Bell says the old spot was actually across the street by the lake where Hidalgo and Richmond sit today Bill Bremer sent this photo.). That works perfectly for this post because Williams Tower (or Transco as I like to call it) has a secret cat design on its corners. 

Are we on the way to figure out The Da Vinci Code with all of this or what?

If you want to learn more about the history of KPRC-TV, go check out the book The Fault Does Not Lie With Your Set: The First Forty Years of Houston Television.

Stay tuned to mikemcguff.com for more details on the new KPRC facility as they become available.

UPDATE
Gary Griffin of Retronuvo Media adds that KPRC's original building was a Quonset hut down 610 behind what is now the giant Houston Community College (HCC) building inside The Loop. He says that was when the call letters were KLEE-TV.

Former KPRC 2 sports anchor Craig Roberts added he heard the Hobby family designed The Houston Post building to look like a typewriter from the sky. The Hobby's owned both KPRC and the Post at the time.

UPDATE JANUARY 2016
KPRC 2 new studio construction begins

RELATED
KPRC Channel 2 documentary from 1965

(Thanks Bruce)


16 comments:

  1. Who needs a drone/helicopter when you have Google? https://goo.gl/maps/UQ1xA

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  2. You missed the location of the old KPRC building by a couple of blocks. Actually, it was located on the spot now occupied by that lake between Hidalgo and Richmond. I was working there for KPRC Radio News when the new building was opened at 8181 SW Fwy, Jim Bell, now retired in east Texas.

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  3. Plus, KPRC-TV used to be owned by the family of former TX Governor William P. Hobby, Sr., (D)

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  4. Another strange architectural feature of KPRC is their suspended news studios that prevent vibrations coming from the adjacent freeway. It's mentioned on KPRC 's Wikipedia page.

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  5. " In March 1972, KPRC-TV moved into a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Houston's Sharpstown neighborhood, where its operations remain to this day; the three studios located within the building are suspended from the ground to reduce vibration."

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  6. As long as the content they produce and talent they place at the anchor desk continues to be tabloidish junk, no name change or building change will make any difference.

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  7. KPRC 2 has had its current WrightSet designed news set since 2013. With Graham Media Group reportedly looking to invest in a new state-of-the-art facility for 2017-ish... not sure if KPRC 2 will relocate the current set into the newer building, or opt for something new. KTVI St. Louis and WXIA Atlanta are 2 stations I know of that relocated their news sets from previous broadcast locations, to their present day locations, and got set makeovers a little later on. Some/most TV stations these days seem to be making their news sets last longer. Some even having sets that are more than a decade old, but with some cosmetic changes in between total makeovers to keep from looking dated.

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    1. Anon, I do remember Fox 26 had their set (similar to WNYW-TV Fox 5 New York from late 1988) unveiled back in 1994, which lasted until spring-summerish of 1997 when they moved to their current studio!

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    2. That was the WNYW set FOX 26 had. I was shipped to them when WNYW began using their new set

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  8. Channel 13 originally operated from a building on Cullen that had been constructed as the studios of short-lived Channel 39, KNUZ-TV, After 13 vacated that site, it became the long time home of Channel 8. 13 moved out on Bissonnet in the early 60s.

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  9. They are getting a new building, seems like the new set they built just a few months ago was a waste. Unless, they didn't know about the new building until recently.

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    1. Pretty careless building a new set only for a short period when you're moving into a new building!

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  10. KPRC's building isn't in that bad of shape, is it? It does still have the old KPRC AM studios, though, so there's some wasted space. And, of course, needs have changed over the past 40+ years.

    KSAT, KPRC's Graham Media sister station in San Antonio, got a new building last year. (Their building was even older ... from the 1950s, I believe.) Sounds very similar to what KPRC is planning. KSAT's building went up right next to the old one, which was then razed -- except that the studio from the old building was kept and attached to the new building.

    Unless they plan to have a 24-hour shuttle, which you know they won't, it'll be interesting to see how they handle having people on the really early or really late shifts park and get to the station for the next 2 years.

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    1. Is that true? The old KPRC-AM studio is still there? What's in it?

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  11. Looking at the satellite image on Google Earth. I'm not sure how the KPRC building is supposed to look like a camera lens. I don't see it

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  12. It doesn't look like a lens, it looks like a video camera. Look at the kinda triangular part of the building closest to the SW Freeway. That's the "viewfinder." Then you have the big bulky camera body, followed by the slim "lens" pointing to Wednesdbury Lane.

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