|La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wisconsin|
|City of license||La Crosse, Wisconsin|
|Slogan||Our Community. Your Station.|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)|
|Owner||Morgan Murphy Media
(QueenB Television, LLC)
|First air date||August 8, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||The TV sibling of WKBH Radio, which shared ownership with a music store that sold Kimball Pianos (the store's slogan: Kimball Brings Happiness)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 8 (VHF)
(8/8/1954 - 2/17/2009)
Digital: 41 (UHF)
(3/28/2003 - 2/17/2009)
|Former affiliations||All secondary:
|Transmitter power||25.9 kW|
WKBT-DT is a television station owned and operated by Morgan Murphy Media and serving West Central Wisconsin, including La Crosse (its city of license) and Eau Claire. The station is primarily affiliated with CBS and airs programming from MyNetworkTV on its digital subchannel.
WKBT launched on August 8, 1954 as sister station to WKBH radio (AM 1410), a station now known as WIZM. (The "T," for "television," replaced the "H" in the call sign to differentiate the stations.) It originally carried programming from all four major networks of the day—CBS, NBC, ABC and DuMont—but has always been a primary CBS affiliate. It lost DuMont after that network shut down in 1956, and lost NBC in 1958 after La Crosse and Eau Claire were collapsed into a single market. WKBT then shared ABC with Eau Claire-based NBC affiliate WEAU-TV until WXOW signed on in 1970.
On April 16, 1965, during the worst of the famous 1965 flood, the downtown La Crosse building that housed both WKBT and WKBH burned to the ground; WKBT then rebuilt its current building on the same site.
In the 1970s, WKBT was sold to Harold F. Gross, a businessman from Lansing, Michigan who owned WJIM-AM-FM-TV in that city. WKBT and WJIM-TV were sold in the mid-1980s to Unicom Inc, a unit of Forstmann Little, d.b.a. Backe Communications, following a licensing dispute involving WJIM-TV (which changed its call letters to WLNS-TV). Unicom's ownership of the station was short-lived as in 1986 it sold WLNS and WKBT to Young Broadcasting.
In March 2000, Young sold WKBT to Morgan Murphy Media--ironically, the original owner of WEAU-TV.
In the summer of 2011, WKBT became the first station in the La Crosse/Eau Claire DMA to air newscasts in widescreen. As of December, 2013, WKBT has not broadcast its local newscasts in high definition.
In October 2012, WKBT was in the national spotlight when morning news anchor Jennifer Livingston addressed an e-mailer who criticized her about her weight, and issued an on-air commentary about bullying and being a role model.
- Total News (1971–1974)
- TV-8 Action News (1974–1976)
- Action 8 News (1976–1987)
- Newswatch 8 (1987–1994)
- Channel 8 News (1994–1995)
- NewsChannel 8 (1995-October 24, 2010)
- News 8 (October 25, 2010 – present)
- 8 Country (1970s)
- Action 8 is Total News (1970s)
- Serving the Tri-State (1980s)
- Do you watch Newswatch? (1980s-1994)
- Take Me There, Make Me Care (1994–1998)
- Coverage You Can Count On (1998–2010)
- Our Community, Your Station (June 2009 in TV ads, 2010–present)
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||WKBT-HD||Main WKBT-DT programming / CBS|
Beginning September 5, 2006, with the demise of UPN, WKBT-DT2 subchannel 8.2 became an affiliate of MyNetworkTV.
WKBT-DT went on the air with digital broadcasting on channel 41 (UHF) on March 28, 2003.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, February 17, 2009, WKBT-TV discontinued analog broadcasting on channel 8 (VHF), and the digital WKBT-DT signal was transitioned from channel 41 (UHF) to channel 8 (VHF), completing the station's digital broadcast transition.
- Lisa Klein - 5 & 6 pm co-anchor
- Martha Koloski - Noon & 10 pm co-anchor
- Jennifer Livingston - "News 8 This Morning"
- Mark McPherson - 5 pm co-anchor
- Mike Thompson - 6 & 10 pm co-anchor
- Kyle Dimke
- Kevin Hoy
- Leah Linscheid
- Brittany Schmidt
- Bill Graul - Meteorologist;"News 8 This Morning" and Noon
- Cory Malles - Chief Meteorologist; 5pm. 6pm & 10 pm
- Michelle Poedel- Weekend Meteorologist
- Kyle Deckelbaum - Weekend Sports anchor
- Gregg Wavrunek - Sports Director/Weeknight Sports
Former on-air staff
- David Bloom
- Steve Bothun--Former news and investigative reporter (won an Associated Press Award for his "Open File" special, specifically for the story of Evelyn Hartley)
- Bryan Ekern--Former sports anchor and Sports Director
- Howard Fredericks--Former news anchor and Professor at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
- Bill Hoel--Former news anchor, now working for Robert W. Baird & Company's La Crosse office
- Larry Johnson--Former weatherman
- Howard Joseph--Former weatherman
- Lou Hillman--Former news reporter and weekend news anchor
- Tim McNiff--Former sports anchor and Sports Director, now with KARE-TV in Minneapolis (anchoring KARE 11 Sunrise)
- Anne Paape--Former news anchor, now Newsroom Director
- Mark Quade--Former news anchor and Newsroom Director
- Sue Ramsett--Former news reporter and weekend news anchor, now Vice President and General Manager of KOLN-TV in Lincoln, NE with semi-satellite KGIN-TV in Grand Island, NE
- Ed Sielstad--Former sports anchor and Sports Director
- Jim Socha--Former sports anchor and Sports Director, now Viterbo University Men's Golf Coach
WKBT's transmitter is located in Galesville, Wisconsin, about 30 miles north of the actual station in order to provide their signal to the entire market - it also serves as the CBS affiliate for the Chippewa Valley.
If put up next to Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the WKBT transmitter would surpass the upper roof and fall just about 100 feet short of the highest antenna on top.
- WKBT Website
- WKBT DT2 MNTV Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WKBT
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WKBT-DT