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Current Duluth CW logo.png
Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin
United States
CityDuluth, Minnesota
ChannelsDigital: 33 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
BrandingDuluth CW
Affiliations3.1: CW+
3.2: True Crime Network
3.3: Laff
3.4: Court TV
3.5: Court TV Mystery
3.6: Quest
OwnerGray Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date
March 14, 1954 (67 years ago) (1954-03-14)
Former call signs
KDAL-TV (1954–1979)
Former channel number(s)
3 (VHF, 1954–2009)
NBC (1954–1955)
CBS (1955–2016)
ABC (1954–1966)
NTA (1956–1961)
Fox (1996–2000)
WB 100+ (1998–2006)
CW+ (2006–2016; now on DT1)
Call sign meaning
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID4691
ERP381 kW
HAAT310.2 m (1,018 ft)
Transmitter coordinates46°47′21.1″N 92°6′51.4″W / 46.789194°N 92.114278°W / 46.789194; -92.114278
Translator(s)see article
Public license information

KDLH, virtual channel 3 (UHF digital channel 33), is a CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Duluth, Minnesota, United States, serving northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the far western portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Superior, Wisconsin-licensed dual NBC/CBS affiliate KBJR-TV, channel 6 (and its Chisholm, Minnesota-licensed semi-satellite KRII, channel 11). The two stations share studios on South Lake Avenue in Canal Park, downtown Duluth; KDLH's transmitter is located west of downtown in Hilltop Park.

Throughout most of the station's history, KDLH had long been the Twin Ports' CBS affiliate. In its latter years, it was operated by Quincy through a shared services agreement (SSA) with then-owner SagamoreHill Broadcasting, making it sister to KBJR and KRII. Following the end of KDLH's SSA on August 1, 2016 (resulting from the station's sale from Malara Broadcast Group, concurrent with the sale of KBJR by Granite Broadcasting), CBS programming was moved to KBJR-DT2 and KDLH switched exclusively to The CW.


KDLH began broadcasting on March 14, 1954 as KDAL-TV and aired an analog signal on VHF channel 3. It took its calls from the initials of its founder, Dalton Alexander LeMasurier, who owned the station along with KDAL-AM 610. It switched affiliations with WDSM-TV (now KBJR) in 1955 and joined CBS. It also aired some ABC programs in off-hours, splitting them with WDSM-TV, until WDIO-TV signed-on in 1966. The station's original studio facilities were located with KDAL Radio in the Bradley Building (demolished) moved to West Superior Street in downtown Duluth in the mid-1960s. During the late-1950s, KDAL was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. The LeMasurier family sold KDAL-AM-TV to what eventually became Tribune Broadcasting in 1960. KDAL began broadcasting in color in 1965. In 1979, Tribune sold the station to Palmer Broadcasting, who changed the call letters to the current KDLH-TV on February 21. Palmer Broadcasting then sold KDLH to Benedek Broadcasting in 1985. The station dropped the -TV suffix in 1991.

Former KDLH logo (circa 2010).

Benedek went bankrupt in 2002, and most of the company merged with Gray Television in 2001. However, KDLH was not included in the merger and was sold to Chelsey Broadcasting instead. New Vision Television bought the station in 2003.

In March 2005, the Malara Broadcast Group purchased channel 3 from New Vision and outsourced most of the station's operations to longtime rival KBJR, who was owned by Granite Broadcasting. Under this agreement, KDLH laid off most of its staff. Filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) showed Malara could operate KDLH with as few as two people on the payroll.

KDLH's digital transmitter had been operating at reduced power with a substitute side-mounted antenna after a May 18, 2008 fire that severely damaged its main digital antenna. It returned to full power on UHF channel 33 by June of that year. In February 2009, Malara Broadcasting announced that KDLH would not make the switch to all digital later in the month due to the fire. With that announcement, the station was the only one in the area still broadcasting in analog after February 19 as KBJR, WDSE, WDIO, and KQDS-TV all went digital-only on that date. On June 12 at around 7 p.m., KDLH ceased normal broadcasting operations on its analog signal. At that time, the analog station began a nightlight signal consisting of a ten-minute digital television informational video on a constant loop.

On June 26, two weeks after regular broadcasts had ended, the nightlight signal was terminated with the help of Bob Peterson (a former engineer at the station who helped launch KDLH in 1954) bringing an end to all full-power analog broadcasting in the area. In November 2009, the station re-branded from "CBS 3" to "KDLH 3". This brought a new logo to the station for the first time since it merged with KBJR.

On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Quincy Newspapers would acquire KBJR-TV and KRII from Granite Broadcasting. Malara initially planned to concurrently sell KDLH to SagamoreHill Broadcasting;[1] however, that November, the deal was reworked to remove SagamoreHill from the transaction, and as a result KDLH would remain with Malara.[2] Quincy would continue to provide services to KDLH.[1][2]

In July 2015, the deal was reworked yet again; it returned to its previous structure, with SagamoreHill acquiring KDLH and being operated under an SSA by Quincy. However, the SSA was wound down on August 1, 2016: at this time, CBS programming was moved to a subchannel of KBJR, and KDLH began operating independently as a CW affiliate.[3] The sale was completed on November 2.[4] The move ended KDLH's 61-year association with the CBS network.

On May 21, 2018, it was announced that Quincy Media would acquire KDLH outright for $792,557.[5] While the FCC normally prohibits one company from owning two television licenses in the same market when both are among the top four rated stations, Quincy submitted a filing saying that during the November 2017 "sweeps" period, KBJR-TV was the top ranked station while KDLH placed fifth.[6] The sale was completed on August 1.[7]

On February 1, 2021, Gray Television announced its intent to purchase Quincy Media for $925 million.[8] The acquisition was completed on August 2,[9] making KBJR and KDLH sisters to Gray stations in nearby markets, including CBS/Fox affiliates KEYC-TV in Mankato and WSAW-TV/WZAW-LD in Wausau, and NBC affiliates WLUC-TV in Marquette and WEAU in Eau Claire, while separating from their former Wisconsin sister stations which were divested in order to complete the purchase.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
3.1 720p 16:9 KDLHCW Duluth CW
3.2 480i Justice True Crime Network
3.3 Laff Laff
3.4 720p CourtTV Court TV
3.5 480i Mystery Court TV Mystery
3.6 Quest Quest

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KDLH discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[11] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33, using PSIP to display KDLH's virtual channel as 3 on digital television receivers.

News operation[edit]

While operating its own news department, KDLH was the last of the big three stations in Duluth to have a weeknight 5 o'clock broadcast. It aired Judge Judy in the time slot instead. In 2004, it debuted a 5 p.m. show that featured anchor Amy Rutledge and meteorologist Phil Johnson. This was replaced along with its 6 o'clock show with the current one at 5:30 when KDLH merged with KBJR in March 2005. Jeopardy! has since reclaimed the 5 o'clock spot on channel 3 and the CBS Evening News airs at 6.

After the buyout, the station had its news department closed and merged with KBJR. To maintain a separate identity, there were some channel 6 personalities that were also seen on KDLH. However, due to KBJR's existing newscasts, not all of that station's personnel were seen on channel 3.

KDLH's Northland's NewsCenter at 5:30 had been anchored by Pat Kelly who was the only channel 3 news team member remaining after the KDLH sellout. Its weeknight 10 o'clock newscast, which continues to be a separate production, was known as Northland's NewsCenter Express and consisted of a ten-minute news "capsule". The other 25 minutes was a Seinfeld rerun. After thirteen months of mediocre ratings, KDLH changed the 10 o'clock show to the traditional 35 minutes and re-branded it to Northland's NewsCenter Tonight.

KDLH and KBJR began broadcasting their local newscasts in 16:9 widescreen on May 4, 2009. They were the first television stations in the market to do so. Although not true high definition, the format matches the ratio of HD televisions. As of November, this station has now begun to brand its separate weeknight shows as KDLH 3 News. These broadcasts air from a secondary set. On January 11, 2010, KDLH began airing the area's only weeknight 6:30 newscast.

In the fall of 2014, KDLH 3 partnered with Midwest Communications' station KDAL-AM to produce a unique simulcast broadcast airing KDAL AM's Cadigan and Kelly. KDLH 3 installed cameras and switching gear so each member of the KDAL team could be seen on air.

KDLH's intellectual unit was re-located to KBJR-DT2 on August 1, 2016.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Quincy Buying Stations From Granite, Malara". TVNewsCheck. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Amendment to Agreements and Description of Transaction (KBJR-TV)" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Amended Description of Agreements, Description of Transaction, and Request for Temporary Waiver". Quincy Newspapers, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  4. ^ Quincy Newspapers Inc. acquires four TV stations Archived 2015-11-07 at the Wayback Machine Quincy Herald-Whig, Retrieved 2 November 2015
  5. ^ "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Exhibit 18 - Multiple Ownership
  7. ^ "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (February 1, 2021). "Gray Television Acquires Quincy Media For $925 Million In Cash". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  9. ^ Howell Jr., Hilton (August 2, 2021). "Gray Television Closes Quincy Acquisition". Gray Television. Globe Newswire. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KDLH
  11. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]