Griffin Communications, 9 News moving to downtown Oklahoma City

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Oklahoma City’s KWTV will move from its current studios to a location in the heart of downtown.

Griffin Communications, the station’s parent company, has announced it will purchase Century Center, a mixed development that includes the offices and newsroom for The Oklahoma newspaper, YMCA and several restaurants. 

The company says it’s spending around $25 million to buy the building and will invest another $10 million in renovations and plans to seek some government incentives to offset some of the redevelopment costs.

Plans call to move the station’s newsroom, control rooms and other technical operations as well as sales and administrative support into the building, along with the headquarters of Griffin Communications itself.

Griffin also owns the MyNetworkTV affiliate in the city as well as CBS affiliate KOTV in Tulsa along with the market’s CW station.

Conveniently, the building already includes a curved outdoor video display perched above the corner of West Sheridan and North Broadway Avenue, and renderings of the building Griffin released indicate the station may have plans to incorporate that into its branding efforts.

According to the station’s website, Griffin is working with at least some of the existing tenants to keep them in the building, though it appears at least some of them may be have their square footage adjusted.

The station hopes to be in its new facility by summer 2022.

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In addition to the move, the company also announced it would launch the Media Innovation Collective that will bring together for-profit and non-profit news ventures.

The collective is being created along with the Inasmuch Foundation and the University of Oklahoma and will include a co-working area and conference space inside the new facility.

KWTV currently operates out of a building on Kelley Avenue, about a 15 to 20 minute drive north of downtown. It’s a relatively rural area, though the station does call Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, which operates four PBS member stations across the state, as its neighbor.

Griffin owns the land Oklahoma Educational Television Authority occupies but does not charge the organization to use it, though there’s no immediate word on what might happen with that arrangement. 

KWTV is currently using a sprawling 2006 FX Design Group set that’s been updated over the years. 

Set Design

KWTV-TV

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At the time of its installation, the set was one of the largest and most elaborate spaces on local TV, occupying some 5,000 square feet of studio space, featuring an anchor area with dual rear projection screens and faux balconies along with a partially practical stairway.

There is a separate weather center the size of some stations’ main news set with multiple venues and workspace separated from the main studio by louvered glass windows that could be opened to allow producers to shout urgent updates to on air talent during severe weather updates.

Multiple standup locations and an interview area, with another rear projection screen, completed the look.

A scaled down version of the set is used at KOTV

Both stations shoot their studios in a variety of creative ways, combining camera moves, movable monitors and on-set graphics as well as traditional one and two shots of talent. 

KWTV, 9 News, has broadcast from its Kelley Avenue facility for over 60 years. The site also housed the station’s broadcast transmission tower until its decommissioning in 2014.

In 2017, the market’s NBC affiliate KFOR moved into a new facility that was specially designed for severe weather.

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