About FOX13 Salt Lake CityThe station first signed on the air on October 24, 1978 under the ownership of Massachusetts-based Springfield Television, which also owned NBC affiliate WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts and ABC affiliate WKEF in Dayton, Ohio. It was the first independent station in Utah, as well as the first new commercial station to sign on in the area since KUTV (channel 2) hit the airwaves 24 years earlier.
Salt Lake City had a fairly long wait for an independent station compared to other cities of its size; it had been big enough on paper to support one since the early 1960s. However, the Salt Lake City market is one of the largest and most mountainous markets in the country, covering all of Utah and large slices of Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming. The market's three commercial stations, as well as PBS members KUED and KBYU-TV, all needed massive networks of low-power translators to cover it. Additionally, at the time the only available allocations were on the UHF band, and UHF stations have never covered mountainous territory very well. The expense associated with building a translator network, combined with the limitations of UHF, most prospective investors until the 1970s. By the mid-1970s, however, cable television—a must for acceptable television in much of Utah, even in today's digital era—had gotten enough penetration in the market to lessen the need for translators and make an independent station viable.