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KXLF: Butte, Montana
KBZK: Bozeman, Montana
Branding KXLF: KXLF 4
Montana's News Station (newscast)
Slogan Fair. Accurate. To the Point.
Channels Digital:
KBZK: 13 (VHF)
Affiliations CBS/MTN
The CW (DT2)
Owner Cordillera Communications
(KXLF: KXLF Communications, Inc.)
(KBZK: KCTZ Communications, Inc.)
First air date KXLF: August 14, 1953
KBZK: September 1, 1987
Call letters' meaning

KXLF: XL Radio Network

KBZK: BoZeman
Former callsigns KXLF: none
KCTZ (1987-2000)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
6 (VHF, 1953-1958)
4 (VHF, 1958-2009)
7 (VHF, 1987-2009)
Former affiliations

NBC (primary, 1953-c. 1970)
DuMont (secondary, 1953-1955)
ABC (secondary, 1953-1996)

ABC (1987-1996)
Fox (1996-2000)
Transmitter power KXLF: 8 kW
KBZK: 18.9 kW
Height KXLF: 576 m
KBZK: 271 m
Facility ID KXLF: 35959
KBZK: 33756
Transmitter coordinates KXLF:
46°0′27″N 112°26′33″W / 46.00750°N 112.44250°W / 46.00750; -112.44250
45°40′22.4″N 110°52′2.4″W / 45.672889°N 110.867333°W / 45.672889; -110.867333 (KBZK)
Website www.kxlf.com

KXLF-TV is a television station in Butte, Montana, broadcasting locally as a CBS affiliate on digital channel 4-1 (VHF Ch. 5). Various programs from CBS are broadcast in high definition at 1080i. Programming from The CW is broadcast on digital channel 4-2 (VHF Ch. 5) in high definition at 720p.

The station operates a semi-satellite in Bozeman, KBZK channel 7. In 2007, KBZK launched a separate newscast from its studios in Bozeman, specifically for the Bozeman market.


KXLF was founded on August 14, 1953. It is Montana's oldest television station, and was co-owned by industry pioneer Ed Craney along with KXLF radio (AM 1370, now KXTL) In 1955, Craney sold KXLF-AM-TV to Joe Sample, president of Garryowen Corporation and owner of KOOK-TV in Billings (now KTVQ).

KXLF's first home was the second floor of a Pay 'n Save food and drug store in downtown Butte. However, the studio soon suffered heavy damages because of a burglary to the grocery store downstairs. The burglars cut a hole in the floor of the studio and used the studio camera cable to climb down and gain access to the grocery store. A few months later, the cable was replaced and the studio was up and running for good.

KXLF originally carried programming from all three networks, but was a primary NBC affiliate, like its parent radio station, which was part of the "Z-Bar Network," a regional Pacific Northwest radio network based in Portland and including affiliates in Spokane, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, and Bozeman. All local programming was done live in the studio, including shows and commercials. Some of Butte's local shows in the 1950s were "The Oldtimer," featuring John Diz, "This Afternoon with You," hosted by Darien Carkeet, "What's New?" hosted by Ed Craney and "KXLF the Clown," featuring Wes Haugen, and "Shadow Stumpers" where viewers called in to identify what object's shadow was on TV.

The year 1957 was a time of change for KXLF. A complicated operation saw a transmitter placed on top of a mountain east of Butte, subsequently dubbed XL Heights. The transmitter tower was directly positioned on the Continental Divide, thereby giving the station the moniker "The Continental Divide Station." The new transmitter location made an off-air signal available for KXLJ in Helena (now KTVH) creating the first TV "network" in Montana. That same year, KXLF found a permanent home in the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad station on Montana Street. The station was built in 1916 and features a 95-foot clock tower. In the late 1990s, the station installed a live webcam atop the clock tower, which offers a live view of downtown Butte.

In 1958, KXLF-TV and KOOK-TV, in association with separately-owned KFBB-TV in Great Falls and KMSO-TV in Missoula (now KECI-TV), formed the Skyline Network, forerunner of the Montana Television Network. KFBB was later replaced by Great Falls' other station, KRTV.

In March 1966, the Federal Communications Commission merged Butte and Missoula into a single television market. KXLF-TV became the NBC affiliate for the merged market; it kept the secondary ABC affiliation but lost CBS to KGVO-TV (as KECI was then called). In 1970, Sample expanded his Montana network by building KPAX-TV in Missoula, which operated as a semi-satellite of KXLF for several years. Sometime in the early 1970s, KXLF became a primary CBS affiliate.[1] It continued to air ABC in the off-hours until KWYB signed on in 1996.

In the 1970s, the depot became one of Butte's first major restoration projects. It continues to serve as an example of historic restoration. In 1984, Sample sold the MTN stations to SJL Broadcasting, who in turn sold them to Evening Post Publishing Company in 1994.

KXLF's newscasts at 5:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. have long dominated the market, in no small part because they are the only local newscasts in the area. In addition to local news, KXLF produces a noon news segment.

KXLF is the technical operations center for all of Evening Post Publishing Co. properties in Montana. The station operates its programming and commercials with an automated playout system and video servers. Programming and commercials are microwaved from Butte to Bozeman's KBZK.

For many years, KXLF was responsible for operating KXLH-LP in Helena. However, in late 2007, KXLH's operating responsibilities were transferred to sister station KRTV.

In November, 2011 KXLF dropped its main anchor Laurel Staples.

In May, 2012 KXLF launched an all new Butte newscast with Dennis Carlson, Mike Heard, and Ted Dawson.

KBZK was founded in September 1987 as KCTZ, and was originally Bozeman's ABC affiliate.[2] It switched to Fox in 1996. The station became KBZK and a satellite of KXLF-TV in 2000. After the DTV conversion on June 12, 2009, KXLF was one of more than 10 stations asking for a power increase because of the problems with VHF digital signals, particularly VHF-LO frequencies.[3]

Current news staff[edit]

  • Donna Kelley - weeknights at 5:30 and 10:00 p.m.; also executive producer

Notable former on-air staff[edit]



  1. ^ Listing of channel lineups in TV Guide Montana Edition
  2. ^ Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook 1989 (PDF). 1989. p. C-38. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Eggerton, John (2009-06-29). "Boise Station Gets Power Boost". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 

External links[edit]