About KMTR - NBC16The station began broadcasting on October 4, 1982, after former NBC affiliate KVAL-TV began selectively omitting certain NBC prime time broadcasts from its evening lineup, replacing them with alternate programming from rival network, CBS. The resulting conflict over this programming decision preceded the introduction of KMTR to the media market, and a switch of KVAL's affiliation from NBC to CBS. The Columbia Empire Broadcasting Corporation of Yakima, Washington acquired the station in 1984.
In late 1995, the station was bought by the Wicks Broadcast Group of New York City. In March 1996, Wicks Broadcast Group named Brian Benschoter the station's new GM; he started shaking things up immediately for the third-place Eugene-based station. On May 21, 1996, he abruptly fired longtime sports anchors Brian Lamb and Steve Freedman without warning. Lamb, an 11½ year veteran of the station, and Freedman, an 8½ year employee, introduced the "Prep Athlete of the Week" segment that became an immensely popular weekly honor. The award is still considered by locals as the top media honor one can receive for high school sports in the Eugene/Springfield area. Lamb and Freedman were replaced by Joe Giansante, a sports talk radio host on KUGN AM 590.