|Rapid City, South Dakota
|Branding||KOTA Territory (general)
KOTA Territory News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Coverage You Can Count On|
|Channels||Digital: 2 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
3.3 This TV
|Affiliations||ABC (1976-present; secondary 1955-1965; joint-primary 1965-1976)|
(New Rushmore Radio, Inc.)
|Founded||December 8, 1954|
|First air date||June 1, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||South DaKOTA (pronounced as "kota")|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
3 (VHF, 1955-2009)
NBC (1955-1958, 1976-1984)
|Transmitter power||18.2 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KOTA-TV, channel 3, is an ABC television affiliate based in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. The station is owned by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana. Its current slogan is "Coverage You Can Count On." Its transmitter is located in Rapid City, while its studios are located on St. Joseph Street in downtown Rapid City.
Through the use of three satellite stations, KOTA-TV serves a large area in western South Dakota, eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle. It calls its vast coverage area "KOTA Territory."
From 1955 to 2014, the station was locally-owned by the Duhamel Family of Rapid City. On October 31, 2013, the Duhamel family announced it would sell KOTA-TV and its satellite stations to Schurz Communications;  the sale was approved on March 31, 2014.
KOTA-TV debuted on the air with test operations on June 1, 1955, with regular programming beginning one month later on July 1. It was the second television station in South Dakota, and the first in the western part of the state. The station was owned by Rapid City businesswoman Helen Duhamel, and was a sister station to CBS Radio Network affiliate KOTA (1380 AM). Duhamel bought a minority stake in the radio station in 1943 and gradually expanded her holdings until she bought full control in 1954. Channel 3 originally carried programming from all three networks, though it was a primary CBS television affiliate. Helen's son William (Bill) Duhamel would become KOTA-TV's president and general manager in 1976.
When KRSD-TV, the original channel 7 in Rapid City, signed on in 1958, it took the NBC affiliation, sharing ABC with KOTA-TV. In 1965, channel 3 took on an unusual "joint primary" affiliation with CBS and ABC, slightly favoring CBS. It was certainly quite a struggle to fit as many network shows as possible onto the schedule, especially in the daytime, so KRSD-TV had to take up some of the slack. But channel 7 always had a painfully weak signal which, by 1966, had deteriorated to the point of unacceptability. KRSD-TV finally gave up and ceased operations on December 31, 1971.
Fortunately for KOTA-TV, the original Prime Time Access Rule had taken effect by this time, which made it easier for the station to clear shows from both CBS and ABC. From January 1972 until June 1976, KOTA-TV had only PBS station KBHE-TV (channel 9) as a competitor; NBC had to be piped in on cable from KOA-TV (now KCNC-TV) in Denver.
The coverage of KOTA-TV satellite KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska clashed with the coverage of KSTF, a satellite of KYCU-TV (now KGWN-TV) in Cheyenne, especially with CBS programs. In February 1976, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded a channel 7 license to KEVN-TV, in order to relieve KOTA of its heavy network load and to end the duplication problem in Scottsbluff. When KEVN opened on July 11, 1976, it took all CBS programming. As consolation, both stations took secondary NBC affiliations. But in 1984, KOTA and its satellites switched to ABC full-time, leaving KEVN to have to cram in programs from both CBS and NBC.
Then in November 1988, KELO-TV in Sioux Falls put a Rapid City satellite of its own on the air, KCLO-TV on channel 15, which took the CBS affiliation, leaving KEVN with NBC; KEVN switched to Fox in 1996 as part of the U.S. television network affiliate switches of 1994.
After 58 years under family ownership, Bill Duhamel announced on October 31, 2013 that KOTA-TV and its satellites would be sold to Schurz Communications, pending FCC approval. The sale will separate KOTA-TV from its longtime sister radio stations (which the Duhamels will retain), as Schurz already owns a group of Black Hills radio stations under the New Rushmore Radio banner. The FCC granted the sale on March 31, 2014; and it was completed on April 28, 2014.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.1||720p||16:9||KOTA-DT||Main KOTA-TV programming / ABC|
In 2009, KOTA-TV and its satellite stations added the Retro Television Network and This TV on their digital subchannels. In 2011, Retro Television was replaced by Me-TV on KOTA-TV and its satellite stations.
KOTA-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 2. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.
KOTA-TV's programming is also shown on a network of three satellite stations.
|Station||City of license||Channels
TV / RF
|First air date||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter Coordinates||Facility ID||Public license
|KDUH-TV||Scottsbluff, Nebraska||4 (PSIP)
|March 5, 1958||32 kW||475 m||17683||Profile
|KHSD-TV||Lead, South Dakota||11 (PSIP)
|November 2, 1966||34.8 kW||576 m||17686||Profile
|KSGW-TV||Sheridan, Wyoming||12 (PSIP)
|December 28, 1977||50 kW||372 m||17680||Profile
KDUH and KSGW are semi-satellites of KOTA-TV, airing separate commercials from studios in Scottsbluff and Sheridan. KDUH once produced its own full-length newscasts as well. However, due to recent cutbacks, KDUH's newscasts have been reduced to inserts in KOTA-TV's weeknight newscasts with a few personalities locally-based in Scottsbluff. KSGW has a reporter who produces local news stories that periodically air on the main network-wide newscast, and also airs local weather inserts on KOTA-TV. KHSD is a full-time repeater of KOTA-TV.
When KHSD was being launched, KOTA-TV contracted with KDIX-TV in Dickinson, North Dakota (now KXMA-TV) to provide programming for that station, as KDIX was close enough to KHSD that its engineers would be able to pick up KHSD's signal. Consequently, KDIX was practically a satellite of KOTA from November 1966 until KEVN signed on nearly a decade later.
KOTA is also operating a fill-in translator on channel 18 that serves the immediate part of the Rapid City area.
KOTA-TV also operates the following low-power translators:
- K09YI-D Gillette, Wyoming (repeating KSGW)
- K08IP-D Baker, Montana (repeating KHSD)
- K13WT-D Plevna, Montana (repeating KOTA)
- "Tupelo, Rapid City TVs granted by Commission." Broadcasting - Telecasting, December 13, 1954, pg. 80.
- Malone, Michael (October 31, 2013). "Schurz to Acquire KOTA Rapid City". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Notice, Federal Communications Commission, 31 March 2014, Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- FCC approves sale of KOTA Territory TV, KOTA-TV, 1 April 2014, Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, 28 April, 2014, Retrieved 30 April, 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KOTA
- Where to Watch Me-TV: KOTA-TV
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Official website
- KDUH-TV website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOTA-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KDUH-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KHSD-TV
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KSGW-TV