|Channels||Digital: 20 (UHF)|
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
|Branding||Wyoming's Fox TV|
|Owner||Coastal Television |
(Front Range Television LLC)
First air date
|October 31, 1984|
Former call signs
|NBC (partial, 1984–1986)|
ABC (partial, 1984-1986; primary 1986–2004)
Call sign meaning
|First National Broadcasting|
(abortive owner in the late 1980s)
|HAAT||560 m (1,837 ft)|
Public license information
KFNB, virtual and UHF digital channel 20, is a dual Fox and MeTV/MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Casper, Wyoming, United States. The station is owned by Coastal Television. KFNB's studios are located on Skyview Drive in Casper, and its transmitter is located atop Casper Mountain south of the city.
KLWY (channel 27) in Cheyenne, Wyoming operates as a semi-satellite of KFNB, which also serves viewers in Scottsbluff, Nebraska; the two stations air nearly the same programming with separate station identifications and commercials. KFNB is also commonly managed with KTWO-TV (channel 2) and KGWC-TV (channel 14), the ABC and CBS affiliates for Casper. Satellite stations at Rawlins and Riverton and a translator in Douglas extend its signal.
Early years as KXWY-TV
Channel 20 began broadcasting October 31, 1984, as KXWY-TV; transmitter delays pushed back its planned launch. The station carried partial affiliations with both NBC and ABC. The primary carrier for ABC and some NBC shows was KTWO-TV, which held first-call rights to NBC programming but did not air all of it; the new channel 20 would carry The Today Show, soap operas and game shows from NBC, among others. KXWY-TV was owned by Channel 20 Casper, Inc., whose main investor was A. J. Stanton of Orlando, Florida. The new station immediately made plans to go regional, merging with affiliated Hi Ho Broadcasting, owners of KFWY-TV (channel 10, previously KTNW) in Riverton and Thermopolis, and planning to start up a new satellite station at Rawlins. KTNW had previously opened a channel 20 translator in Casper in August 1980, which launched the same day as KCWY-TV (channel 14, not to be confused with the current KCWY-DT); both were Casper's first UHF television services. The station offered little local news at the outset, producing and airing an insert into the Independent Network News.
The new station faced financial headwinds from the start. By June 1985, it had endured the disconnection of its telephones and was in the middle of a stock ownership dispute that left it undercapitalized. In September, less than a year after starting up, KXWY-TV announced that it would be sold, along with KFWY-TV and the under-construction station at Rawlins (KRWY-TV), to a new company, First National Broadcasting. First National was a subsidiary of First National Entertainment.
While the sale itself would languish for years, First National's hand in management and resources immediately became apparent in a series of major changes that took place in 1986. Significant events started just after the new year: that January, the station relocated from its original Salt Creek Highway studio base to Skyview Drive and upgraded its Casper Mountain transmitter from 19,000 to 68,000 watts. The power increase was vital, as it allowed KXWY-TV to reach two-thirds as many homes as KCWY-TV. That meant it qualified under the 1971 "Raleigh rule" of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for an exclusive network affiliation. KTWO-TV, which was affiliated with both ABC and NBC, chose the stronger NBC network, leaving ABC to hook up with channel 20. In May, KXWY-TV began its first full-fledged local news service, replacing the INN cut-ins, which were reliant on video news releases, with 30-minute news programs seen at 6 and 10 p.m. weeknights and produced by a staff of four. The next month, it announced plans for a second transmitter power upgrade to 1.35 million watts and the addition of low-power translators in Douglas and Gillette. In time for the network change, and evidently reflecting the station's planned future ownership, KXWY-TV and its satellite stations became KFNB, KFNE (in Riverton) and KFNR (in Rawlins) in August 1986.
The long, abortive First National sale
Trouble arose again in May 1987, when 26 station employees threatened to walk out on the job; the general manager attributed the payroll issues to the lengthy close of the sale to First National. Only three, however, made good and left the station. An agreement in principle on the sale was finally reached in June; at that time, the local news was temporarily suspended.
However, channel 20 still had not actually been sold by 1988, when the Wyoming Employment Security Commission began a proceeding to obtain $66,000 in unpaid back taxes from KFNB. Early that year, Mark Nalbone became the new general manager; by that time, First National had been paying all of KFNB's expenses for more than two years to keep the station afloat. However, the sale continued to be delayed. Events came to a head when the station went dark on April 18, 1989; while KFNB officials claimed transmitter trouble, a reporter for the station announced it had laid off all of its staff. Ten days later, the state ordered the station to cease doing business for failure to pay back taxes.
Over the next several months, the station's ownership and financial disarray were laid bare in court. Channel 20 Casper, Inc., owned by Stanton, and two First National subsidiaries had received $850,000 in loans from the Marvin Engineering Co., secured by KFNB's assets, then proceeded to default on the loans on June 1. These loans were then assigned to Wyomedia Corporation several weeks later, and Wyomedia filed to foreclose on the station and have general manager Nalbone named receiver. Meanwhile, Stanton resigned from Channel 20 Casper and its sister company, Heart of Wyoming Television, which held a construction permit for channel 27 at Cheyenne. A sheriff's auction was ordered, at which Wyomedia bought the station's assets and license for $20,000.
Wyomedia era and affiliation with Fox
Under Wyomedia management, KFNB returned to the air nine months later on January 23, 1990, continuing as the local ABC affiliate. Wyomedia then applied to receive the licenses from Nalbone in his capacity as receiver; the Wyoming department of unemployment filed a petition to deny, which the FCC dismissed alongside a petition by other creditors of First National in December 1991. Free of the debt accumulated during the abortive First National sale, KFNB and its satellites were finally under stable operation, though they did not offer any local news. First National ended up with new licenses to replace those held by Stanton's interests for KFNE and KFNR; Wyomedia acquired the pair in 2007 for $30,000 in total debt forgiveness.
KFNB became a secondary affiliate of Fox in 1994, airing prime time programming in off hours and its Sunday football games. Three years later, Wyomedia acquired low-power TV station K26ES and relaunched it as "KWYF", branded as "Wyoming's Fox TV"; however, channel 20 continued to maintain a secondary affiliation with Fox.
The arrival of new television station KCWY-TV (channel 13) in 2003 brought with it a new NBC affiliate. Because of KCWY owner Sunbelt Communications's strong ties with NBC, KCWY-TV picked up the affiliation from KTWO-TV as soon as channel 2's contract with NBC expired. KTWO-TV then signed an ABC affiliation agreement in June 2003, though it was not slated to become the ABC affiliate in Casper until KFNB's ABC agreement ended on June 5, 2004. The switch was moved up to March 8, 2004; at that time, KFNB became a full-time Fox affiliate and KWYF became the new home of UPN and Pax programming in Casper. The KWYF 9 p.m. local newscast, which had been established months earlier, migrated to KFNB.
Wyomedia acquired effective operational control of KTWO-TV and KGWC-TV in 2004 when Nalbone became a consultant to KTWO-TV and KGWC-TV was sold to Mark III Media, a company 30 percent controlled by Nalbone; the stations moved into KFNB's offices.
Sale attempt and completed sale
Wyomedia Corporation agreed to sell its stations to Legacy Broadcasting on February 8, 2018. The deal would have created a duopoly between KFNB and KTWO-TV, which Legacy would have concurrently acquired from Silverton Broadcasting Company; in its filing with the FCC, Legacy stated that the duopoly was permissible because KFNB was the fifth-ranked station in the Casper–Riverton market, trailing sister station KWYF-LD as well as KTWO, KCWY-DT, and KGWC-TV. The sale was canceled on October 2, 2018.
On October 8, 2019, Wyomedia announced that it would sell its stations to Front Range Television, a subsidiary of Coastal Television Broadcasting Company (run by Bill Fielder); the sale was concurrent with Big Horn Television's purchase of KGWC-TV and Vision Alaska's purchase of KTWO-TV. Coastal Television and Vision Alaska (run by Stephen Brissette) already jointly operated stations in Alaska. The sale was completed on June 1, 2020.
Two full-power satellite stations rebroadcast KFNB's main subchannel (but not the KWYF subchannel), as well as a subchannel carrying co-managed KTWO-TV. They have been associated with channel 20 since 1984 and 1986, respectively. One of the stations, KFNE at Riverton, is older than KFNB by nearly 27 years, having begun operations as KWRB-TV from a base in Thermopolis in December 1957.
|Station||City of license||Channels
(RF / VC)
|First air date||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates||Public license information|
|December 22, 1957||11.3 kW||526 m (1,726 ft)||21613||Profile|
|April 16, 1986||0.978 kW||51.1 m (168 ft)||21612||Profile|
- Jessell, Harry A. (October 8, 2019). "Fielder, Brissette Buy Network Affils". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Rose, P.J. (October 31, 1984). "New TV station starts limited broadcasting". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Rose, P.J. (August 9, 1984). "New local TV station to go on air Oct. 1". Casper Star Tribune. pp. A1, A16. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Ansley, David (August 13, 1980). "'We made it': KCWY-TV is on the air". Casper Star-Tribune. pp. A1, A12. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Wheaton, John (August 14, 1980). "Don't bash your TV yet; just twist that UHF knob". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Warren, Catherine (June 29, 1985). "KXWY-TV stays on air, waits for money". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Warren, Catherine (September 3, 1985). "KXWY-TV announces new company will acquire station". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Channel 20 programs go off air to move". Casper Star-Tribune. January 4, 1986. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "KXWY scheduled to resume broadcasting". Casper Star-Tribune. January 15, 1986. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "KXWY to push for network affiliation". Casper Star-Tribune. October 25, 1985. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Njegomir, Dan (March 2, 1986). "KTWO-TV plans to switch main affiliation from ABC to NBC". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Ensor, Kendra (May 14, 1986). "KXWY adds local news programming". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "KXWY-TV looks to increase signal power". Casper Star-Tribune. June 11, 1986. p. A11. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Call Letters" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 25, 1986. p. 112.
- "Channel 20 employees threaten to quit". Casper Star-Tribune. May 20, 1987. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "KFNB-TV employees back off on walkout". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Quarterman, Emily (June 16, 1987). "Agreement reached for sale of KFNB-TV". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Quarterman, Emily (March 27, 1988). "KFNB rebuilding from money woes". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Winters, Matt (May 5, 1989). "Channel 20 stops broadcasting, lays off workers, reporter says". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Memorandum Opinion and Order". FCC Record (6 FCC Rcd No. 26). December 11, 1991. pp. 7529–7534.
- Quarterman, Emily (August 23, 1989). "KFNB-TV may be back on air soon". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Channel 20 resumed broadcasting Tuesday". Casper Star-Tribune. January 24, 1990. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Transactions". RBR. April 23, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
- Gullberg, Ron (April 29, 1994). "KNFB-TV [sic] expands presence in market". Casper Star-Tribune. pp. A1, A12. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Morton, Tom (November 29, 2002). "CBS affiliates under new ownership". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Westreicher, Tara (June 28, 2003). "KTWO TV signs ABC contract". Casper Star-Tribune. pp. A3, A4. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Burke, Brendan (February 24, 2004). "KTWO, KFNB programs to change March 8". Casper Star-Tribune. pp. B1, B2. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Van Dusen, Matthew (October 29, 2003). "Local Fox news starts Monday". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- van Dusen, Matthew (June 8, 2004). "Tumultuous times for television: FCC eyes Casper stations". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Van Dusen, Matthew (April 27, 2004). "KTWO-TV to change location". Casper Star-Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Morton, Tom (November 25, 2004). "Cable firm fights TV license transfers". Casper Star-Tribune. pp. A3, A4. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- Liberman, Howard; Buckman, Sally (October 2, 2018). "Request For Withdrawal or Dismissal of Assignment Applications" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- Learned, Nick (October 9, 2019). "21 Wyoming TV Stations to be Sold in 3 Transactions". K2 Radio. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Fielder, III, William A. (June 5, 2020). "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Notice. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Thermopolis Television Station to Open Dec. 22". Casper Tribune-Herald. Associated Press. December 16, 1957. p. 5. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- KFNB in the FCC's TV station database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KFNB-TV