Collaborative, inclusive, focused and passionate are just a few of the culture attributes Griffin Communications works hard to reflect in our day to day actions and behaviors.
As a growing media company, Griffin Communications understands the importance of building a company around talented, skilled people and giving them plenty of room to do their jobs. We work hard to personally know our team members and strive to create and maintain a work environment that empowers each employee to contribute in ways that fulfill and propel their overall job satisfaction as well as Griffin business objectives.
Using multiple communication methods, Griffin companies work hard to share information and utilize all available resources across the state to help accelerate the creation of news stories, act on smart business opportunities and create shared learning opportunities.
At the heart of our company and culture is a deep-rooted love for Oklahoma... its people, its resources, its aspirations and its proven ability to weather tough storms and continue moving forward.
Griffin Communications has been serving Oklahoma communities for more than 55 years, since KWTV/News 9 signed on in Oklahoma City in late 1953. In fact, Griffin family members have a long, successful history of ownership in Oklahoma electronic media starting in the early 1930s when J.T. Griffin, grandfather of current owners, David and John Griffin, became fascinated by new radio technology. He first launched a radio station in Tulsa, KTUL, and in late 1938, purchased a second radio station, KOMA, in Oklahoma City.
Fifteen years later, J.T.'s son, John, would enter the broadcasting business, in the emerging technology of television. John and his brother-in-law, Jimmy Leake, were half of a partnership that was awarded FCC permission to put KWTV, Channel 9, in Oklahoma City on the air. KWTV went on the air December 20, 1953, initially broadcasting from the KOMA radio tower while its own tower was under construction. On April 5, 1954, KWTV's tower—then the world's tallest tower, 1,565 feet high—was inaugurated. It was a huge media event, attracting, among other national publications, such magazines as TV Guide, Popular Science, and Time.
The two men expanded their Oklahoma broadcasting properties when they signed on KTUL, Channel 8, in Tulsa. With more and more of their time devoted to their television stations, the pair decided to sell their radio assets in 1956 and, a few years later in 1963, bought out their KWTV partners to gain full ownership of what is today called News 9.
As the businesses evolved, John Griffin and Jimmy Leake determined they should split control of the properties they owned, with John Griffin retaining News 9 and continuing to invest in new technologies and growing station staff.
Their total focus on the television stations resulted in a number of "firsts." Under John Griffin's leadership, News 9 installed the first weather radar in the country in 1959. When color radar became available, News 9 was the first station in the state to unveil the new technology to viewers. As it became best known for its severe weather coverage, the station invested even more in new technology in 1981 when Gary England brought the first commercial Doppler radar to Oklahomans. As the station expanded its news coverage, it acquired the first helicopter in Oklahoma to be used as a news-gathering source. The chopper was dubbed Ranger 9.
John Griffin's sons, David and John, took over leadership of News 9 in 1990. Under their direction, the station continued to innovate and grow. News 9 introduced the first broadcast automated weather warning system in the country and was the first station to gather video from cellular telephones, capturing pictures of a large tornado east of Enid. During coverage of the 1995 Murrah Building bombing, News 9 aired continuous coverage of the tragedy and its aftermath and raised tens of thousands of dollars for victims. That coverage earned the station a market shared Peabody, a National Edward R. Murrow award, and several other national honors.
In 1998, Griffin Communications was instrumental in crafting a partnership between News 9, Learfield Communications and Renda Broadcasting to gain marketing rights to OU Athletics. The joint venture, Sooner Sports Properties, is now enjoying its second decade of success.
In 2000, Griffin Communications purchased KOTV/News On 6 in Tulsa, a highly successful CBS affiliate, from the Belo Corporation. With the acquisition of KOTV, combined with the established reach of KWTV/News 9, Griffin stations now reached over 75 percent of Oklahoma television households. As the company nearly doubled in size with the acquisition of News On 6, David Griffin relinquished his role as President and General Manager of News 9 and became President of Griffin Communications.
Also in 2000, Griffin Communications established a convergence relationship between News 9 and The Oklahoman, resulting in joint ownership of a common website, NewsOK.com. That partnership was dissolved in 2007. Griffin New Media (created in 2005) launched new station websites in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa in early 2008: www.News9.com and www.NewsOn6.com. These two television station websites, consistently achieve more than 8 million page views each month, providing immediate, easy access to news and information to more than 1.1 million unique users.
In 2001, Griffin Communications expanded into the radio network business with Quinstar Radio in Enid, creating the Local News Network, providing news from News 9 and News On 6 anchors and distributed by Quinstar Radio Network. In 2006, the radio network was renamed the Radio Oklahoma Network, producing news, agriculture, sports, energy and weather information for more than 40 radio affiliates across the state. In 2007, Radio Oklahoma Network moved its offices and studio to the News 9 complex of Griffin Communications in Oklahoma City. In 2008, the satellite uplink for Radio Oklahoma Network was relocated from Enid to Oklahoma City, consolidating the agricultural broadcast operations in the Radio Oklahoma Network studios.
In 2005, Griffin Communications purchased the WB television affiliate in Tulsa from Cascade Broadcasting. KWBT was among the highest rated WB affiliates in the country. When the WB and UPN networks merged, KWBT was awarded the new CW network affiliation, creating The Tulsa CW. The CW is America's fifth broadcast television network and provides entertainment especially popular with young adult viewers. News On 6 airs daily from 8-9AM and at 9PM on The Tulsa CW.
Griffin Communications developed a partnership with Cox Communications in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City to produce an all news cable channel, News9 Now and News On 6 Now. Newscasts from News 9 and News On 6 are simulcast, then replayed on the cable news channels.
In 2006, Griffin added SKYNEWS 9, the first full HD news-gathering helicopter in the country, to its fleet. The Bell 407 helicopter is equipped with state-of-the-art high definition cameras. That same year, SKYNEWS 6 in Tulsa, equipped with SteadiZoom 360, made its debut at News On 6.
Recently Griffin Communications has expanded to continue serving the needs of its viewers and advertisers with the addition of Griffin Digital Solutions, which provides audience extensions and targeting on the internet, and with digital outdoor boards in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that feature content from Griffin Stations and offer unique advertising opportunities.