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KOTA-TV: Rapid City, South Dakota
KIVV: Lead, South Dakota
United States
Branding Black Hills Fox (general)
Black Hills Fox News (news)
Slogan Real People. Real News.
Channels Digital:
Subchannels x.1 Fox
Affiliations Fox (1996-present)
Owner Gray Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date KOTA-TV: January 21, 1958
KIVV: January 1960
(current licenses for both stations date from July 11, 1976)
Call letters' meaning KOTA-TV: DaKOTA
Sister station(s) KSFY-TV
Former callsigns KOTA-TV:
KRSD-TV (1959-1976)
KEVN-TV (1976-2016)
KDSJ-TV (1960-1976)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
KOTA-TV: 7 (VHF, 1959-2009)
KIVV: 5 (VHF, 1960-2009)
KIVV: 29 (UHF)
Former affiliations NBC (1959-1970, 1984-1996)
CBS (1970-1976)
ABC (1976–1984)
Transmitter power KOTA-TV: 43.5 kW
KIVV: 9.2 kW
Height KOTA-TV: 204 m
KIVV: 561 m
Facility ID KOTA-TV: 34347
KIVV: 34348
Transmitter coordinates KOTA-TV:
44°4′0″N 103°15′1″W / 44.06667°N 103.25028°W / 44.06667; -103.25028
44°19′30″N 103°50′14″W / 44.32500°N 103.83722°W / 44.32500; -103.83722 (KIVV-TV)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: / KIVV-TV Profile
Website www.blackhillsfox.com

KOTA-TV, channel 7, is a Fox-affiliated television station affiliate based in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. Owned by Gray Television, KOTA-TV has a co-located studio/office and transmitter facility located on Skyline Drive in Rapid City.

KOTA-TV also operates a full-power satellite in Lead, South Dakota, KIVV-TV (channel 5), which can also be seen over the air in Rapid City. KIVV's transmitter is located near Spearfish, South Dakota.


Channel 7 debuted as KRSD-TV on January 21, 1958. It was owned by Heart of the Black Hills Broadcasters, a company controlled by John, Eli, and Henry Daniels, along with KRSD radio (1340 AM, now KTOQ). The station was a primary NBC affiliate, sharing ABC with CBS affiliate KOTA-TV (channel 3).[1] Two years later, in January 1960, KRSD-TV started a satellite station on channel 5 in Lead, KDSJ-TV; the Daniels brothers already operated KDSJ radio (980 AM) in nearby Deadwood.[2] But NBC was apparently unhappy with the stations' technical operations and, on September 13, 1970, KRSD-TV was forced to join CBS, while KOTA-TV launched a new joint-primary affiliation with both ABC and NBC.[3]

The Federal Communications Commission denied the license renewals for KRSD-TV and KDSJ-TV in November 1971 due to the stations' unsatisfactory technical operation. In a unanimous decision, the FCC found that KRSD-TV had been out of compliance with FCC technical standards since at least 1961. As a result, its signal had deteriorated to the point of unacceptability "as early as 1965," and was so poor that it could not be carried on cable—which, then as now, was all but essential for acceptable television in much of western South Dakota. While a handful of radio stations had been ordered off the air for technical violations, it was the first time that the FCC had shuttered a television station due to technical issues.[4] Though the FCC originally ordered the stations to shut down on December 31,[4] Heart of the Black Hills fought the decision;[5] however, the denial was reaffirmed in July 1972.[6] Nonetheless, KRSD and KDSJ continued to operate under special temporary authority for another four years afterward.[7]

New construction permits for channel 7 in Rapid City and the Lead satellite on channel 5 were granted to Dakota Broadcasting Company, owned by a group of Rapid City businessmen, in April 1975;[8] that November, the stations were assigned the call signs KEVN-TV and KIVV-TV, along with a full-time ABC affiliation, at the insistence of KELO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Sioux Falls. KELO had been trying to get into Rapid City for some time and was already on all the area cable systems; KELO regarded KOTA's primary affiliation as with NBC.[8] Dakota Broadcasting soon announced a planned July 6, 1976 debut; meanwhile, Heart of the Black Hills finally shut KRSD-TV and KDSJ-TV down for good on February 29, 1976, leaving the Black Hills region without a CBS affiliate, at least over-the-air.[9] After a four-month hiatus, KEVN and KIVV came on the air July 11 as full-time ABC affiliates.[10] KOTA, which in fact had been joint-primary between ABC and NBC,[11] switched to NBC primary, CBS secondary [12] until 1981, when K15AC (channel 15), a translator of KPLO-TV from Reliance (itself a satellite of KELO-TV), was authorized[13] (K15AC was upgraded to full-power operations in 1988 as KCLO-TV, a semi-satellite of KELO).

On June 24, 1984, NBC moved its programming to KEVN; [14] that network was fed-up with the pre-emption practices of KOTA-TV,[15] which took the ABC affiliation.[14] The swap brought KEVN in line with Sioux Falls sister station KDLT-TV;[14] that station had been purchased by KEVN's owners in 1982 and made its own move from ABC to NBC in 1983. In 1985, Dakota Broadcasting sold KEVN/KIVV and KDLT to Heritage Communications for nearly $20 million.[16] In 1987, following Tele-Communications Inc.'s purchase of a majority interest in Heritage Communications, the company spun off its television and radio stations to Heritage's management under the Heritage Media banner.[17][18]

Heritage Media announced in September 1995 that it would sell KEVN-TV and KIVV-TV to Blackstar, LLC, a minority-controlled company in which nonvoting equity interests were held by Fox Television Stations and Silver King Communications, for $14 million;[19][20] the deal was completed on February 7, 1996.[21] Blackstar immediately announced that KEVN would drop NBC and join Fox.[19] the affiliation change happened in July 1996.[22] Prior to that, cable systems piped in the National Foxnet service or Fox's Denver affiliate, KDVR, although KOTA-TV had had a secondary affiliation with Fox since 1994, mainly for NFL games. The move left the Black Hills without an NBC affiliate,[19] and the region did not get another NBC affiliate until Rapid signed on KNBN (channel 21) in May 2000. In the interim, cable systems in the market piped in NBC's Denver affiliate, KUSA-TV.

USA Networks (the former Silver King Communications), through its USA Broadcasting subsidiary, acquired Blackstar, LLC outright in 1998 as part of a larger deal between USA and Paxson Communications that saw USA take control of Atlanta's WNGM-TV from Paxson and Paxson buying Portland's KBSP-TV from Blackstar.[23] USA mainly acquired Blackstar in order to incorporate its Orlando station, WBSF, into its planned "CityVision" group of independent stations, and soon sold KEVN-TV and KIVV-TV to Mission TV, LLC, an independent private company led by California attorney William Reyner, who at that time held partial stakes in fellow Fox affiliates KKFX-LP in Santa Barbara, California and Smith Broadcasting-owned WFFF-TV in Burlington, Vermont.[24] (Mission TV was not related to Mission Broadcasting, a holding company whose stations are controlled by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.)

KEVN filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 20, 2003 to prevent Finova Capital Corp., the station's largest creditor, from taking legal action to acquire control of the station; KEVN's programming and operations were not affected by this move,[25] and the station emerged from bankruptcy in July 2005.[26] In January 2007, after having been branded as "KEVN Fox 7" for its first 11 years as a Fox affiliate, the station changed its branding to "Black Hills Fox," removing the over-the-air channel number from KEVN's brand identity.

On December 18, 2013, it was announced that Mission TV, LLC would sell KEVN-TV and KIVV-TV to Gray Television for $7.75 million.[27] The sale was completed on May 1, 2014. KEVN is Gray's first standalone full power Fox affiliate.[28][29] On September 14, 2015, Gray announced that it would purchase the television and radio stations owned by Schurz Communications, including KOTA-TV and its satellites and the Rushmore Media Company group of radio stations, for $442.5 million. Gray intends to consolidate KOTA's operations with those of KEVN;[30][31] in announcing the sale of most of KOTA-TV's assets to Legacy Broadcasting on October 1, Gray announced that KEVN-TV would inherit KOTA's ABC affiliation following the deal's completion.[32]

On February 1, 2016 KEVN-TV changed their call letters to KOTA-TV.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[33][34]
x.1 720p 16:9 KEVN-DT
Main programming / Fox

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

Four months before the official date of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on February 17, 2009, both stations shut down their analog signals:[35]

  • KEVN-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to VHF channel 7 for post-transition operations.
  • KIVV-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 5; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 29 to VHF channel 5 for post-transition operations.

Mission TV submitted an application to the FCC in 2007 asking to defer further construction of the station's digital transmitter (which was not yet operating at full-power due to financial problems) until the end of the digital television transition, indicating that its owners were the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding at the time and to expand the funds necessary to complete construction of its full-power digital television facility "could be fatal."[36]

News operation[edit]

KOTA-TV presently broadcasts a total of 9½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 1½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). The station is among the few Fox affiliates to carry a 6:00 p.m. newscast and one of the only Fox stations to offer a newscast in that timeslot, that does not also produce a 5:00 p.m. newscast. The station also does not produce any newscasts during morning or midday timeslots, although KEVN rebroadcasts its hour-long 9:00 p.m. news program at 6:00 a.m. on weekday mornings.

Early in KEVN's Fox affiliation, the station produced an hour-long morning newscast at 7 a.m., as well as half-hour newscasts at noon, 5:30 p.m., and 10 p.m. (a holdover from its NBC affiliation); on weekends, KEVN only aired its late newscast.[37] In 1998, the station moved the late newscast to 9 p.m., making it the first Rapid City station to produce a primetime newscast;[38] KCLO-TV also airs a newscast at that time, but it is a simulcast of KELO-TV's Sioux Falls-based 10 p.m. newscast. Around the same time, the morning and midday newscasts were discontinued.[39] By 2001, KEVN expanded the weeknight 9 p.m. news to an hour;[40][41] the weekend edition of the newscast would be expanded to an hour as well on November 2, 2013.[42][43] The station moved the early evening newscast to 6 p.m. on March 31, 2008 and relaunched it as The Six; station management stated that airing a newscast at that slot would allow KEVN to attract viewers unable to view the 5:30 newscasts on KOTA-TV and KNBN.[38]


  1. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1959 (PDF). 1959. p. B-76. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1960 (PDF). 1960. p. A-88. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ "CBS and NBC trade places" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 17, 1970. p. 33. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "It was a bad day at Black Hills" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 8, 1971. p. 48. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Asking for a second look" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 6, 1971. p. 10. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ "FCC reaffirms denial for South Dakota TV's" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 31, 1972. p. 38. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 11, 1973. p. 47. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 5, 1975. p. 7. Retrieved February 10, 2015.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "b-kevngranted" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  9. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 1, 1976. p. 23. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ "ABC-TV adds two" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 28, 1976. p. 50. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1975 (PDF). 1975. p. B-129. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 (PDF). 1978. p. B-128. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 31, 1981. p. 53. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 14, 1984. pp. 114–5. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Tale of two cities" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 20, 1984. p. 35. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 18, 1985. p. 86. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  17. ^ Smith, Greg (June 30, 1987). "Heritage Stockholders Approve Buyout By Tele-Communications Inc.". Associated Press. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Heritage's Hoak and his vision of success" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 14, 1988. pp. 64–5. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c Flint, Joe (September 11, 1995). "Blackstar gets affil.". Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 25, 1995. pp. 37–8. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Silver King Communications, Inc. Form 8-K". July 2, 1996. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Careers". Black Hills Fox. Archived from the original on September 8, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ Paxman, Andrew (March 12, 1998). "Paxson, Diller shop & swap TV outlets". Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ Morgan, Richard (May 28, 1998). "USA sells two S.D. stations". Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  25. ^ Daly, Dan (November 25, 2003). "KEVN files for bankruptcy". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  26. ^ "KEVN emerges from Chapter 11". Rapid City Journal. July 19, 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  27. ^ Gray Buying South Dakota Duo for $7.75M, TVNewsCheck, 18 December 2013
  28. ^ Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access Federal Communications Commission, 1 May 2014, Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  29. ^ Gray Adds North And South Dakota TVs, TVNewsCheck, 1 May 2014, Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Schurz Communications to sell WSBT and other TV, radio stations". South Bend Tribune. September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  31. ^ Kuperberg, Jonathan (September 14, 2015). "Gray Acquiring TV, Radio Stations from Schurz for $442.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Gray Television Sells Some, Buys Some". TVNewsCheck. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  33. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KOTA
  34. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KHSD
  35. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  36. ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-90A1.pdf
  37. ^ "KEVN FOX7 Program Schedule for the week of May 19, 1997". KEVN FOX7 OnLine. Archived from the original on May 29, 1997. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  38. ^ a b "Fox to move local newscast to 6 p.m.". Rapid City Journal. March 25, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  39. ^ "KEVN FOX7 Program Schedule for the week of January 25, 1999". KEVN FOX7 OnLine. Archived from the original on January 28, 1999. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  40. ^ "KEVN FOX7 Program Schedule for the week of October 16, 2000". KEVN FOX7 OnLine. Archived from the original on October 17, 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  41. ^ "KEVN FOX7 Program Schedule for the week of April 16, 2001". KEVN FOX7 OnLine. Archived from the original on April 18, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  42. ^ Rapid City FOX Affiliate Expands Weekend Newscast TVSpy, November 4, 2013.
  43. ^ KEVN Expands It's Weekend News To One Hour TVNewsCheck, November 4, 2013.

External links[edit]