The station first signed on the air on November 14, 1965, as KAAR, owned by San Diego Telecasters. It was the first television station in the San Diego market to operate on the UHF band (on channel 39) and was the market's first independent station.
Channel 39 then went dark and was subsequently sold to Western Telecasters Inc., controlled by the Texas-based Bass family, and returned to the air on February 2, 1968, as KCST (standing for "California San Diego Television").
In May 1972, the FCC revoked XETV's permission to carry ABC programming. As the only commercial station in the market other than CBS affiliate KFMB-TV (VHF channel 8) and then-NBC affiliate KGTV (channel 10), KCST took over the ABC affiliation in two stages: daytime programming moved to channel 39 in June 1973, followed by prime time programs and all other shows (including children's programs, network newscasts and sports) by July 1, 1973. Four months earlier in March, Western Telecasters agreed to sell KCST to Storer Broadcasting, which owned major network affiliates in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. The sale was completed on September 30, 1974; on January 1, 1975, Storer added a "-TV" suffix to the KCST callsign.
On June 27, 1977, in the wake of its new success as the highest-rated television network in America, ABC moved its San Diego affiliation from KCST to KGTV, causing an affiliation swap that ended with KCST taking the NBC affiliation formerly held by KGTV. KCST rebranded as 39 Alive to go with the affiliation switch.
KCST-TV "39 Alive, Just Watch Us Now" ID from late 1982
Notice that the "Alive" font used in this "39 Alive" ID was revised slightly to match the Serpentine typeface then used for the logo of NBC News at the time.
Station ID from their local "Come Home to NBC" promo (1986-1987)
KCST-TV "39 Alive" ID from late 1986
NewsCenter 39 Tonight open from late 1986
In 1985, the Storer stations were acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Two years later, KCST and the other Storer stations were sold to Gillett Communications (former Storer flagship WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, was the only station left out of the sale and was instead sold to a local employee/investor group).
On September 16, 1988, the station changed its news brand to News San Diego, and its call letters to the current KNSD to reflect the new name; it also adopted the on-air brand "Channel 7/39" (in respective reference to its cable and over-the-air channel positions). Gillett was restructured into SCI TV in 1991, after Gillett defaulted on some of his bond purchases. After SCI filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, the company's stations were sold in a group deal to New World Communications.
In May 1994, New World entered into a deal with News Corporation that would result in most of New World's television stations (which were primarily CBS affiliates, along with a few ABC and NBC stations) switching from their "Big Three" network affiliations to join Fox, causing the network's affiliations in the affected markets relocating from UHF to VHF stations. However, New World opted to exclude KNSD from the affiliation deal, since Fox's San Diego affiliation was already on the VHF band through XETV. Instead, KNSD was able to retain its NBC affiliation, and New World sold the station and WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama to NBC in May 1996; the sale was finalized that August. Following the sale's closure, in January 1997, KNSD modified its on-air branding to "NBC 7/39". In October 1997, NBC sold a 24% ownership interest in KNSD to LIN Television; in exchange, NBC acquired majority control (76%) of its Dallas–Fort Worth affiliate KXAS-TV from LIN. The deal closed on March 2, 1998, marking the official launch of the new NBC/LIN joint venture known as Station Venture Operations, LP (which was controlled by NBC).
Following the sale's closure, KNSD rebranded itself as "NBC 7/39" ("7" refers to it's cable position).
San Diego Nightly News open from 2009
KNSD station ID from late January 2011
On January 29, 2011, KNSD adopted the station branding "NBC San Diego" after 23 years of being referred to as "7/39".
On June 2011, KNSD revised its logo, adding the "7" in its branding (The "7" refers to its cable position).
Alternate logo (2013–present)
Olympics logo (2012
50th anniversary logo (2015)
This logo has been updated with the NBC generic "Look F" package. In 2017, NBCUniversal decided to launch a Telemundo O&O station for the San Diego market. The channel is known as Telemundo 20 and was launched on July 1, 2017 the same date when XHAS-TV' contract with Telemundo expired. In 2018, NBCUniversal purchased KUAN-LD from NRJ TV, LLC and Telemundo 20 programming was moved to channel 48.
TV stations in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area