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KFIZ-TV 1970-1972.png
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
BrandingChannel 34
SloganPeople are watching (1970-1972)
ChannelsAnalog: 34 (UHF)
OwnerKFIZ Broadcasting Company
FoundedAugust 1, 1968
(defunct November 30, 1972)
First air dateAugust 1, 1968
Last air dateNovember 30, 1972
Sister station(s)KFIZ (AM)
Former affiliationsindependent station
Article featuring KFIZ-TV from an International Video Corporation Publication

KFIZ-TV was an independent television station that operated in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, from August 1, 1968, to November 30, 1972. The station operated on UHF Channel 34, and was a sister station to KFIZ-AM, which is still in existence.

Given the expense of broadcast quality equipment at the time, KFIZ-TV had to operate with severe limitations. Initially, only programming on 16mm film could be shown in color. Its three studio cameras were black and white, as was its only video tape machine. Later, two color cameras were purchased from International Video Corporation, as well as a color video tape machine (albeit in a non-standard 1" helical-scan format). Thus the only video taped programs that could be broadcast in color were locally produced.

The transmitter was located north of Fond du Lac near the unincorporated community of Johnsburg. It was operated via remote control. The tower, transmitter building, and downtown studios have since been razed. The transmitter site is now part of the Blue Sky Green Field Wind Farm.

A significant amount of local programming was produced outside of the studio (local sports, civic events, etc.). This required cameras, associated control equipment, and (later) the 1" helical-scan video tape machine to be removed from the studio and put in the station's truck.

For live remote broadcasts, the truck was equipped with a microwave transmitter. If the remote site was within the immediate Fond du Lac area, the signal could be sent directly to the downtown master control. If the site was too far away, the truck's signal would be sent to the transmitter (due to its height and height above average area terrain). An engineer would need to be posted at the transmitter to switch input between master control and the remote site.

Some of its programming was relayed from the over-the-air signal of Milwaukee stations. This was accomplished by building a private microwave relay system consisting of a tower near Slinger, WI which captured the over the air signal of the desired station. From there the signal was relayed via Microwave to a repeater tower near Bryon, WI., and finally to the KFIZ master control in downtown Fond du Lac. The motivation for this unique arrangement was two-fold. First, for sports programming (e.g. Milwaukee Brewers) and the occasional network program which had been cleared (i.e.: not broadcast) by an affiliate, KFIZ could not afford the rates then charged by AT&T for microwave relay service. Second, for syndicated programming (e.g. Kup's Show), KFIZ did not have a (then standard) 2" Quad Video Tape Machine with color capabilities. Using the over-the-air system forced KFIZ to schedule such programming at the same time as Milwaukee stations.

Fond du Lac is located equidistant from Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay, and KFIZ-TV had to compete with major network affiliates from those cities for viewers.[1]

KFIZ-AM and KFIZ-TV had the same ownership as Fond du Lac's daily newspaper, the Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter. Although this was contrary to regulations, the owners were "grandfathered" due to their cross-media ownership pre-dating the regulations. When the owners decided to sell the entire company, they were obligated to sell the newspaper and broadcast property to separate buyers. The buyer of KFIZ announced that they had no interest in operating the money-losing TV station, so it went dark before the sale closed.

In addition, a contract the TV station had to carry educational programs was in jeopardy when Wisconsin Educational Communications Board was created in 1971 and it was decided to turn Madison's WHA-TV (owned by the University of Wisconsin—Madison Board of Regents) into a statewide network now known as Wisconsin Public Television; WPNE-TV in Green Bay was the first spoke in the network, launching on September 12, 1972, two months before KFIZ-TV went dark, taking away a considerable part of the station's broadcast day and its revenue.[2] The station covered an 11-county area in east-central Wisconsin.[3]


  1. ^ "A selection from a decade of visits to tower and studio sites in the Northeast and beyond". www.fybush.com. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  2. ^ AP (1972-11-29). "Fond du Lac to Lose Station". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2018-05-26 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Broadcasting Magazine, December 4, 1972, p. 40.