KCND-TV

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For the existing public radio station in Bismarck, North Dakota, see KCND.
KCND-TV
Kcnd-tv12-1970s.png
Pembina, North Dakota/
Winnipeg, Manitoba
United States/Canada
City Pembina, North Dakota
Slogan "Your Good Neighbor Station" ("Serving Manitoba, Minnesota and North Dakota")
Channels Analog: 12 (VHF)
Affiliations defunct
(off the air on September 1, 1975)
Owner Community Radio Corp. (1960–1962)
Pembina Broadcasting Co., a division of Polaris Corp. (1962–1966)
McLendon Corporation (1966–1975)
Founded November 7, 1960
Last air date September 1, 1975
Call letters' meaning K Canada and North Dakota
(Pembina is located near the Canada–US border)
Former affiliations ABC (secondary, 1960–1975)
NBC (secondary, 1960–1967)
Transmitter power 288 kW video, 43.6 kW audio (1975)
Height 426.7 m
Transmitter coordinates 48°59′44″N 97°24′28″W / 48.99556°N 97.40778°W / 48.99556; -97.40778

KCND-TV was a television station which broadcast from Pembina, North Dakota, USA from 1960 to 1975, targeting the Winnipeg, Canada market some 60 miles (100 kilometres) to the north. It was the forerunner of CKND-DT in Winnipeg, which remains in operation.

KCND was established by the Community Radio Corporation, the parent company of KNOX-TV and KNOX AM in Grand Forks, N.D., after being granted a construction permit by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in July 1956.[1] The station's plans were publicly announced in early 1959,[2] and KCND signed on November 7, 1960[3] on channel 12. The station's studios and master control system were located in Pembina, with Canadian sales and production facilities[4] being located at 2031 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg.

History[edit]

Startup preparations for the station began in March 1959, at an estimated cost of $150,000 according to Community Radio Corporation partner Robert Lukkason. The station was initially expected to be a semi-satellite of KNOX-TV in Grand Forks (now defunct), but would have its own studios.[5]

KCND's original construction permit was based on plans to operate from a 310-foot (94-metre) tower with a power of 21,000 watts. However, this plan changed and one of the tallest broadcast towers in North America was constructed—1,450 feet—100 feet short of the height of the Empire State Building in New York City. The tower was located seven miles west of Pembina and less than a half-mile south of the Canada/U.S. border. The station initially operated at a power of 220,000 watts,[6] later increasing power to 288,000 watts.[7]

According to the 1960 U.S. census, the population of Pembina the year KCND went on the air was a mere 625 people, making Pembina one of the smallest non-suburban municipalities in the U.S. to have its own TV station.

KCND operated as a semi-independent station. It was affiliated with both NBC and ABC for periods, but was not compensated by the networks due to the station's insignificant U.S. audience[8] and thus never showed all of either network's schedule. It carried NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson until Sept. 2, 1966, shortly before WDAZ-TV Devils Lake-Grand Forks signed on as a full-time NBC affiliate, with a signal that overlapped with much of KCND's U.S. viewing area.

In 1962, KCND was acquired along with KNOX-TV Grand Forks and KXGO-TV Fargo for $675,200 by the Pembina Broadcasting Company, a group led by Ferris Traylor, the part-owner of an Indiana TV station.[9]

In November 1963, KCND added an additional microwave relay path to Minneapolis via Fargo, to improve signal quality when the primary link was experiencing "network trouble".[10] In addition to problems with the microwave relay system that forwarded network programming to the Pembina studio, KCND also suffered from spotty reception in Winnipeg, causing the station to struggle financially in its early years.[11] At one point, prior to the establishment of a city-wide cable TV system in Winnipeg, KCND resorted to giving away free rooftop aerials to Winnipeg residents.[12]

In 1966, the McLendon Corporation of Dallas, Tex. purchased KCND from the Pembina Broadcasting Company.[13] McLendon would remain the station's owner until its assets were sold to Canwest Broadcasting in 1975.

Around the time that WDAZ-TV went on air in early 1967, KCND lost its NBC affiliation. Thereafter, it carried about half of the ABC primetime lineup (which was in those days a distant third among the U.S. networks in the ratings) and showed low-budget syndicated programming (e.g., series like Felony Squad that had run for one or two seasons years earlier) and movies the rest of the time. The station produced a modest amount of local programming out of its U.S. and Canadian studios, including a breakfast program called Good Morning, a midday current affairs show called Around the Country, and a weekly hunting and fishing series called Fin and Feather.

Relocation and rebranding as CKND Winnipeg[edit]

In early 1973, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced it had received two applications to start a new commercial television station in Winnipeg, one from Western Manitoba Broadcasters Ltd., the parent company of CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba, and the other from Continental Communications, represented by Ray Peters, the president of CHAN-TV in Vancouver, B.C.[14]

At about the same time, the Government of Manitoba was preparing an economic analysis which concluded that, with about 90 percent of KCND's estimated 1972 revenues of $1.25 million coming from Canadian advertising accounts, "it is difficult to ascertain how rapidly a new station can become viable" and that "it is likely that a new private television station in Winnipeg would not realize a profit for at least three years."[15]

The CRTC held public hearings in Winnipeg in May 1974 to determine which of the three competing applicants should be granted a licence. Though Continental Communications had withdrawn its application by this stage, Western Manitoba Broadcasters had been joined in the competition for the licence by Canwest Broadcasting, which had made an agreement with the McLendon Corporation to purchase KCND's assets and relocate the station to Winnipeg if granted the licence, and by Communications Winnipeg Co-Op, which proposed a not-for-profit, member-supported station.[16]

The Canadian government was displeased with the existence of "border stations" which, while nominally American, existed primarily to broadcast U.S. content into major Canadian markets in competition with local broadcasters (and without the Canadian content that Canadian TV stations were and are required by law to provide). Accordingly, the government amended the Income Tax Act to curtail the tax deductibility of advertising expenditures incurred by Canadian businesses in the U.S. media, while the CRTC prepared to implement a "simultaneous substitution" policy which would require cable TV systems to carry the Canadian signal on both channels whenever the same program was being shown on both a Canadian and American station at the same time.[17] In the case of KCND, this measure threatened to eliminate the significant portion of its advertising revenue that originated in Winnipeg and bring about the demise of the station.

KCND-TV full-page "farewell" in the Winnipeg Free Press, Aug. 29, 1975

Canwest also argued in its presentation to the CRTC that relocating KCND to Winnipeg would be preferable to starting a new station, as this would provide their station with a $2 million advertising base and would save $1.5 million in capital and start-up costs.[18]

Canwest was awarded the licence in September 1974[19] and took over possession and day-to-day management of KCND on March 31, 1975.[20] Under the sale agreement, McLendon agreed to sell Canwest the station's equipment and assets, and to act as a consultant until the relocation had been completed, for $774,000 (U.S.) As KCND's U.S. broadcasting licence remained under McLendon's control until after the station left the air, no FCC approval was required.[21] In the meantime, at the suggestion of KCND general manager and Canwest vice-president Jerry Johnson, Canwest had obtained approval to use the Canadian call letters CKND to emphasize continuity and prevent audience loss.[22]

Consolidation of KCND's Pembina, N.D. and Winnipeg, Man. operations at a new, larger facility at 603 St. Mary's Road in Winnipeg began in the spring of 1975.[20] Arrangements had been made by the end of May 1975 for KCND's seventeen Winnipeg-based employees to continue their employment with CKND. Few, if any, of the 22 U.S.-based employees were retained, though all had been offered employment in Canada.[23]

A CKND mobile production van functioned as KCND's master control system during August 1975, allowing the main master control system to be dismantled in Pembina and then re-assembled in Winnipeg without putting the station off the air.[24] CKND's decision to broadcast from an antenna mounted on the CBC tower near Starbuck, Man.,[24] instead of building its own tower near Sanford, Man. as originally planned,[21] also allowed for continuity during the transition.

KCND-TV's signal on Winnipeg's cable systems went off for the final time on August 31, 1975 at 8:30 p.m., following the 7 p.m. movie, The Thrill of It All. The transmitter remained on the air, simulcasting CKND, until 5:30 p.m. the following afternoon. CKND-TV signed on for the first time at 9:00 p.m. on over-the-air channel 9 and cable channel 12 with the program Introducing CKND,[25] followed by the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which began at 9:30 p.m. and was shown until Monday September 1 at 5:30 p.m.[26]

This was the beginning of Israel Asper's career as a media mogul of the Canwest empire, which culminated in his owning most of the large daily newspapers in Canada and TV stations in nearly every province.

Subsequent Pembina station[edit]

In May 1974, John Boler, the founder and then-owner of Valley City-Fargo, N.D. CBS affiliate KXJB-TV informed both the FCC and the Winnipeg newspapers that he intended to apply for a new channel 12 licence if KCND-TV went off the air, or make his own offer to purchase the station if the McLendon-Canwest agreement fell through.[18] Boler's first application for the licence, filed in April 1978, was either withdrawn or denied.[27] A second application, filed in November 1979, resulted in Boler (who, by this time, had sold his interest in KXJB) and fellow investors J. L. Wood and Robert Alphson being awarded a licence in 1981 to start a new channel 12 station at Pembina.[28] In issuing the licence, the FCC dismissed a formal objection filed by Canwest, which opposed the establishment of a new Pembina station.[29]

The new station, using the call letters KWBA, was originally expected to begin broadcasting in the summer of 1982, operating as a conventional television station during the day and as a pay-TV station offering commercial-free full-length movies after 7 p.m.[30] The introduction of pay-TV in Canada at about the same time, and poor consumer uptake for early Canadian pay-TV outlets such as the short-lived C Channel, convinced the investors that a pay-TV station broadcasting into Canada from Pembina, N.D. would not be viable.[31] Consequently, the construction permit was transferred to the Boler-owned Fargo Broadcasting Corporation, operators of Fargo, N.D. independent station KVRR, in mid-1985,[32] and the proposed call letters were changed from KWBA to KNRR that September.[33]

KNRR signed on Jan. 1, 1986, using a tower built at the same location and to approximately the same height as the by-then dismantled KCND-TV tower.[34][35] It was and remains a satellite of KVRR Fargo,[36] which was an independent station when KNRR began broadcasting, but became a founding Fox television network affiliate later in 1986.

Canadian broadcast regulators, concerned that KNRR planned to compete directly with Canadian TV stations for audience share and local advertising dollars as KCND had done, refused to authorize either KNRR or its sister stations for distribution on Canadian cable systems, limiting KNRR's reach to a very small Canadian audience.[37][38]

Surviving Recordings[edit]

Since October 2011, several brief audio recordings, including a station identification, promotional announcements and at least one commercial, have been available on YouTube.[39]

As videotape recorders were not yet commonplace when KCND-TV left the air in 1975, no video recordings of the station's programming are known to survive.

Logos[edit]

KCND-TV personalities[edit]

  • Dick Vincent – on-air host during the whole history of the station. He would later move to CKND along with the station. Previously worked as an announcer on CJOB.
  • Sharon McRae - on-air announcer and weather girl during the Johnny Carson Show, hostess with Dick Vincent, on "Around The Country." Previously worked at CKRC Radio, and was married to Bill Edmondson, the drummer of "The Squires" formed by Neil Young in the 1960s.
  • Boyd Jerome (Boyd Christenson) - Pembina-based announcer, program host and manager, 1960-64. Known by his first and middle names while at KCND, as it was thought that "Christenson" might be too difficult for Canadian viewers to pronounce.[11] Later known by his full name during his years at WDAY-TV Fargo, Prairie Public Television and KFGO Fargo.
  • Terry Stouffer - Around the Country co-host and Farm Service Director, late '60s.
  • Wendy Wallace - KCND "weather girl", early '60s.
  • Joe Cooke - Around the Country co-host, late '60s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1959 Broadcasting Yearbook, p. B-62
  2. ^ "Outside aerial needed". Winnipeg Tribune. February 20, 1959. 
  3. ^ "Pembina on the air". Winnipeg Tribune. November 7, 1960. 
  4. ^ Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 10, 1966, p. 33
  5. ^ "TV Shows Soon From Across Border". Winnipeg Tribune. March 13, 1959. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Broadcasting, Vol. 61 No. 3 (July 17, 1961), p. 103
  7. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1966, p. A-40
  8. ^ "CKND's five-year record". Winnipeg Free Press - TV Times. August 9, 1980. 
  9. ^ Broadcasting, Vol. 63, p. xlviii
  10. ^ Noble, Bob (November 16, 1963). "KCND Trouble Shooting". Winnipeg Free Press - TV-Radio. 
  11. ^ a b Winnipeg Free Press, Oct. 2, 1981, p. 22
  12. ^ Winnipeg Free Press, July 8, 1967
  13. ^ Ronald Garay, "Gordon McLendon: The Maverick of Radio". Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, p. 98.
  14. ^ Financial Post, Feb. 17, 1973, p. C5
  15. ^ Government of Manitoba, "Broadcasting and Cable Television: A Manitoba Perspective" (Winnipeg: Government of Manitoba, 1974), p. 67.
  16. ^ Winnipeg Free Press, May 15, 1974
  17. ^ "Culture war sees cable stripping U.S. ads", Regina Leader-Post, Nov. 14, 1975, p. 6
  18. ^ a b Winnipeg Free Press, May 16, 1974
  19. ^ "Challenges face new station", Winnipeg Tribune, Sept. 21, 1974, p. 5
  20. ^ a b "1st TV Independent Goes On Air Sept. 1", Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1975
  21. ^ a b Broadcasting Magazine, Jan. 20, 1975, p. 19
  22. ^ Chris Wood, "Live to Air: The Craig Broadcast Story" (Douglas & McIntyre, 2000), p. 63
  23. ^ "Canadians promised jobs", Winnipeg Tribune, May 28, 1975
  24. ^ a b Winnipeg Free Press, Aug. 30, 1975, p. 12
  25. ^ Radio-Info: "Retro: Winnipeg • Sunday, August 31, 1975", July 17, 2010. (Source: Winnipeg Free Press (August 30, 1975 Edition))
  26. ^ Dulmage, Bill (January 2007). "Television Station History:CKND". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  27. ^ Broadcasting, Apr. 17, 1978, p. 95
  28. ^ Broadcasting, Vol. 101 No. 3 (July 20, 1981), p. 61
  29. ^ Broadcasting, Aug. 24, 1981, p. 60
  30. ^ Regina Leader-Post (April 1, 1982). "More TV for southern Manitoba". p. C4. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  31. ^ Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 21, 1985, p. 21
  32. ^ FCC File BAPCT-19850513KE, disposed July 19, 1985
  33. ^ FCC call sign history search for "KNRR", accessed 2010-12-31
  34. ^ FCC station profile: KNRR, Pembina, N.D., accessed Jan. 1, 2015
  35. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation Geodetic Data Sheet, Neche KCND TV Mast, GSID Station # 35913
  36. ^ "New U.S. station riles CKND". Winnipeg Free Press. July 20, 1985. 
  37. ^ Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Decision 86-1006, dated Oct. 9, 1986.
  38. ^ Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Decision 94-793, dated Sept. 29, 1994.
  39. ^ "TonyHill55414's YouTube Channel". Retrieved January 1, 2015.