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Helena, Montana
United States
Branding Beartooth NBC (general)
Beartooth News (newscasts)
Slogan News For You
Channels Digital: 12 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Subchannels 12.1 NBC
Affiliations NBC
Owner Intermountain West Communications Company
(sale to Gray Television pending)
(Beartooth Communications Company)
First air date January 1, 1958 (1958-01-01)
Call letters' meaning TeleVision Helena
Sister station(s) KMTF
Former callsigns KXLJ-TV (1958-1962)
KBLL-TV (1963-1975)
KTCM (1975-1980)
KTVG (1980-1985)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (VHF, 1958-2009)
Digital: 14 (UHF)
Transmitter power 17.5 kW
Height 713.2 m
Facility ID 5290
Transmitter coordinates 46°49′35″N 111°42′37″W / 46.82639°N 111.71028°W / 46.82639; -111.71028
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.beartoothnbc.com

KTVH-DT is a full-service television station serving Helena, Montana and the surrounding area as an NBC affiliate, broadcasting on digital channel 12. The station ceased its analog broadcasts on November 10, 2008. The station is owned by Beartooth Communications Company, a subsidiary of Intermountain West Communications Company of Las Vegas, Nevada. The station brands as Beartooth NBC. KTVH is simulcast on KBGF-LP channel 50 (Bresnan cable 6) in Great Falls.



KTVH was the first television station in Helena, Montana, signing on the air on January 1, 1958 as KXLJ-TV, a semi-satellite of KXLF-TV in Butte. It has always been an NBC affiliate. In December 1962, Bob Magnus and two partners bought the station, weaned it from KXLF, and changed the call letters to KBLL-TV. In 1969, former Montana Governor Tim M. Babcock bought the station and changed the station's call letters to KTCM (Television for the Capitol of Montana). In 1976, KTCM built a new tower and expanded its coverage to include Missoula, Butte, and Great Falls; until 1986, it was effectively the default NBC affiliate for a large portion of Montana. Babcock sold the station to Lynn Koch in 1979, and the station changed call letters again, this time to KTVG. A few years later, Koch sold the station to Don Bradley, who again changed the call letters to KTVH (TeleVision for Helena - the calls were previously used on a Wichita, Kansas station now known as KWCH-DT), which remain to this day. By 1988, the station was in financial trouble and Bradley sold it to John Raddeck and Big Sky Broadcasting Limited Partnership. Big Sky Broadcasting restored the station's financial health and in 1997, sold KTVH to Beartooth Communications Company, a subsidiary of Sunbelt Communications Company. On May 7, 2014, Intermountain West Communications Company (the former Sunbelt Communications) announced that it would sell KTVH-DT to Gray Television; Gray will also purchase Helena CW affiliate KMTF, which has long been operated by KTVH, through a failed station waiver. Gray will take over KTVH's operations through a local marketing agreement on June 1.[1]


An original construction permit was granted on November 16, 2004 to Charles C. Townsend, III of Aloha Partners, to build a low-power television station serving Great Falls, Montana. The station being constructed on channel 50 was given call letters K50IQ. In April 2005, Townsend sold the permit to Beartooth Communications, who immediately changed the call letters to KBGF-LP. The station was licensed on December 5, 2005 and is a translator for KTVH. KBGF had its own office in Great Falls, but it has since closed. KBGF-LP was included in the 2014 sale of KTVH-DT to Gray Television.[1]


On December 8, 1997, Sunbelt Communications Company obtained an original construction permit to build a full-service television station in Havre, Montana. KBBJ channel 9 became the first television station for Havre and north central Montana on December 5, 2001 when it was licensed as a satellite of KTVH. Sunbelt assigned the station's license to subsidiary Beartooth Communication Company in 2005. KBBJ went silent in 2008. On July 8, 2009, Sunbelt requested that the license for KBBJ be cancelled.[2]


Beartooth Communications Company was granted an original construction permit on December 12, 1997 to build a full-service television station to serve Lewistown and surrounding areas in central Montana. On July 18, 2001, KBAO channel 13 was licensed as a satellite of KTVH, and as Lewistown's first television station. The station expanded its reach when the four translator television stations serving Phillips County in northern Montana became repeaters for KBAO. KBAO went silent in 2008. On July 9, 2009, Sunbelt requested that the license for KBAO be cancelled.[3]


The following stations were rebroadcasting the signal of KBAO prior to going silent:

News operation[edit]

KTVH-DT runs a news operation out of its studios in Helena, with newscasts weekdays at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. Unlike most NBC affiliates, KTVH does not run morning or weekend newscasts.


Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[4]
12.1 1080i 16:9 KTVH-DT Main KTVH programming / NBC

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KTVH shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on November 10, 2008. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 14 to VHF channel 12 for post-transition operations.[5][6] KTVH is the first station in Helena to broadcast programming in High Definition.


External links[edit]