This year, NewsChannel 21 turns 45 years old! We hit the airwaves at noon on Sunday, November 6th, 1977 as Central Oregon's first television station.
Since then, NewsChannel 21 (KTVZ) has worked to provide Central Oregon with accurate, reliable and essential media that connects to the people in our community.
Over the decades, that work has taken many shapes and reached countless people and places.
Some of the top stories we have covered over the years include the building of Bend's first sewer system, the dramatic events at Indian guru Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh's commune, the mill closures and the Old Mill's rebirth in a tourism-dependent economy, and the economic ups and downs of recession, recovery -- and some of the hottest growth in the nation.
In the 1990s, the Awbrey Hall Fire destroyed homes, threatened Bend and brought new attention to the threat of wildfires and the term "defensible space."
The 2000s brought the debate and reality of the Bend Parkway, Ochoco Creek flooding, a sheriff (Greg Brown) going to prison and several years of destructive wildfires, as well as the first visit by a sitting president, George W. Bush.
There was also the fun and offbeat stories, from Bend lawn chair balloonist Kent Couch flight of nearly 200 miles, and when Bend’s ‘pregnant man’ gave birth to a baby girl. Bend made a big splash with its in-town whitewater park and kept making lists of every kind for everything from its brewpub culture to the entrepreneurial spirit.
We cheered along with the rest of the U.S. as Central Oregon's own Ashton Eaton won his first Olympic gold, world decathlon title -- and then, another!
We reported as more than one wicked winter (Snowmageddon!) buried the region and collapsed roofs, and the drier years that brought drought and trouble for farmers and ranchers.
And then, there's 2020 -- a year like no other, on the High Desert and around the world -- tumultuous, dramatic, even exhausting, but with much to keep everyone informed about. Followed, as we all know, by the stressful drama of the pandemic.
If it's news that matters, we've been there and will be there, covering the pulse of Central Oregon. And we were glad you've been with us, day in and day out, as we brought you the news you can depend on, as well as inspiring stories of caring people and the highs and lows of lives well-lived!
Central Oregon has changed a lot since our first broadcast in 1977, but one thing has not: NewsChannel 21 remains viewers #1 choice. We have a legacy to uphold, and we care a great deal about what we put into the news on a daily basis. Thanks for letting NewsChannel 21 be a part of your lives for more than four decades!
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