Flagship (broadcasting)

In broadcasting, a flagship (also known as a flagship station or key station) is the broadcast station which originates a television network, or a particular radio or television program that plays a key role in the branding of and consumer loyalty to a network or station. This includes both direct network feeds and broadcast syndication, but generally not backhauls. Not all networks or shows have a flagship station, as some originate from a dedicated radio or television studio.

The term derives from the naval custom where the commanding officer of a group of naval ships would fly a distinguishing flag. In common parlance, "flagship" is now used to mean the most important or leading member of a group, hence its various uses in broadcasting. The term flagship station is primarily used in TV and radio in the United States and Canada, while the term key station (キー局, kī kyoku) is primarily used in TV in Japan (and formerly in the United States).


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