Channel 2 announced plans Monday to move into a new Midtown building within a year of its 60th anniversary, featuring a high-definition television studio to serve viewers across the state.
Andy MacLeod, the station’s president and general manager, made the announcement hours after KTUU-TV’s request for a new building was approved by the board of directors at parent corporation Schurz Communications Inc.
“This is a major milestone for Channel 2,” MacLeod said. “As we celebrate our 60th Anniversary this year, there is no better time to look toward the future. This 40,000-square-foot facility is an investment in Alaska, and it will give us the unparalleled ability to grow and develop content across all media platforms long into the future.”
Neeser Construction will raise the new building on an empty lot at the intersection of 40th Avenue and Denali Street, just east of the Cuddy Family Midtown Park and about a block and a half north of Channel 2’s current location at 701 E. Tudor Rd. Texas-based Beck Associates will also be involved in the building’s construction, integration management and technical design.
MacLeod says the new structure will be about a third larger than Channel 2’s existing space, allowing it to retain a central location in Anchorage and also placing it near fiber-optic hubs that serve the entire state.
“Not only will the location be strategically advantageous for us, but the new facility with be equipped throughout with the most cutting edge technology, allowing us to modernize our daily workflow, improve efficiency and broadcast our news product with ever-increasing quality,” MacLeod said. “We are committed to delivering the highest quality product possible and continuing to push the frontier of media in Alaska.”
News Director Tracy Sabo stressed the added capabilities that the new facility, which has been in the works since August, would provide for Channel 2 to serve Alaskans.
“We’re obviously happy to be getting an upgrade, but we’re even more excited about the potential benefits for our viewers all across the state,” Sabo said. “This new facility will allow Channel 2 to deliver the finest in news content and special programming with the unrivaled quality that Alaskans demand of the state’s number one news source. That’s our focus, and that’s our mission as we strive to tell Alaska’s story as an independent news source.”
KTUU’s decision to construct a new facility comes at a time of rising stakes in the state’s media market, with cable provider General Communication Inc. announcing plans in November to buy Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA-TV and two Southeast Alaska NBC affiliates.
GCI’s plans were challenged as potentially monopolistic in a Federal Communications Commission petition by KTUU owner Northern Lights Media Inc. and other Alaska broadcasters, which cited the company’s massive reach in telecommunications and Internet service. GCI called those claims groundless in a responding FCC filing, saying the purchases would increase media competition across Alaska.
The new building is expected to become operational in the late spring of 2014.
Contact Chris Klint