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Klkn 2008.PNG
Lincoln, Nebraska
United States
ChannelsDigital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
BrandingChannel 8 KLKN-TV (general)
Channel 8 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
SloganLincoln's Own ABC (general)
Nebraska's Trusted News Source (newscasts)
OwnerStandard Media
(Paducah Television Operations LLC)
First air date
December 3, 1964 (56 years ago) (1964-12-03)[1]
(in Albion, Nebraska as a satellite of KHGI-TV, became a satellite of KCAU-TV in 1986, license moved to Lincoln and became a separate station in 1996)
Former call signs
  • KHQL-TV (1964–1974)
  • KCNA-TV (1974–1983)
  • KBGT-TV (1983–1987)
  • KCAN (1987–1996)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 8 (VHF, 1964–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 31 (UHF, 2002–2009)
Call sign meaning
LinC(K)olN (sic)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID11264
ERP25.9 kW
HAAT437 m (1,434 ft)
Transmitter coordinates40°52′59″N 97°18′20″W / 40.88306°N 97.30556°W / 40.88306; -97.30556
Translator(s)31 (UHF) Lincoln
Public license information

KLKN, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. The station is owned by Standard Media. KLKN's studios are located south of downtown Lincoln, and its transmitter is located in Utica, Nebraska.


Channel 8 was originally licensed to Albion, Nebraska, and began broadcasting December 3, 1964 as KHQL-TV, a satellite of KHOL-TV (channel 13, now KHGI-TV) in Kearney and the Nebraska Television Network (NTN, later known as NTV) owned by Bi-States Company.[2] The station served as the ABC affiliate for much of the Nebraska side of the Sioux City, Iowa market. NTV Enterprises acquired the NTV stations in 1974;[3] on June 4, the station's call letters were changed to KCNA-TV (for the largest towns in its service area, Columbus, Norfolk, and Albion).[4]

Joseph Amaturo bought the NTV stations in 1979 in a deal funded by the sale of KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri.[5] Amaturo split KCNA from NTV on November 1, 1983 and relaunched it as Nebraska's first independent station, KBGT-TV[6] (Big 8—named for the Big Eight Conference, of which the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Iowa State Cyclones were members). KBGT's programming during this time included movies, syndicated programming, newscasts (both locally produced and from CNN Headline News), and sports; it also operated 24/7, a rarity for small-market stations at that time.[6] However, Sioux City was too small at the time for an independent station to be viable. It did not help matters that KSHB-TV in Kansas City was available in most of the market on cable.

By 1986, massive financial losses compelled Amaturo to sell the station.[7] Citadel Communications then acquired KBGT[8] and turned it into a satellite of co-owned Sioux City ABC affiliate KCAU-TV;[7] in January 1987, the call letters were changed to KCAN.[9]

In the spring of 1996, Citadel moved the license to Lincoln, and on April 1, relaunched the station as KLKN. Before then, Lincoln was one of the largest cities in the country with only one commercial television station; CBS affiliate KOLN had been the sole station in the state capital for virtually all of the television era.[10] However, Omaha's WOWT-TV, KMTV and KETV had long been available on cable in Lincoln. KETV had served as Lincoln's default ABC affiliate for much of the broadcasting era, and is still carried on most Lincoln-area cable systems, including remaining the default ABC affiliate on some smaller systems.

As the move of channel 8 to Lincoln left Albion without a television station, Citadel established KLKE (channel 24) on March 30, 1996 as a satellite of KLKN.[11] KLKE was shut down on March 2, 2003 and its license returned to the Federal Communications Commission after determining that the cost of converting the station to digital broadcasting was prohibitive.[12] KLKE's vacant transmitter is located near Elgin at 41°56′25.9″N 98°16′57.4″W / 41.940528°N 98.282611°W / 41.940528; -98.282611 (KLKE). This has resulted in parts of northeast Nebraska, including O'Neill, Neligh, and Albion having no local over-the-air ABC signal; however, KLKN and KHGI remain available on cable and satellite in these areas, and KHGI currently operates a repeater in O'Neill.

KLKN's digital signal signed on August 31, 2002, operating on UHF channel 31 until the end of the station's analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009. It was the first digital television station in Nebraska.[13] KLKN started airing its newscasts in high-definition on October 26, 2010.

The Lincoln market is one of three in the country (Grand Rapids, Michigan and Tampa Bay, Florida being the others) where there are two separately-owned ABC affiliates in the market, as the western portion of the market (Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney) continues to be served by NTV. Both KLKN and NTV are carried on the Lincoln Dish Network and DirecTV local feeds.

Until 2011, KLKN did not carry ABC's World News Now. Instead, the station joined its fellow Citadel stations in signing off every night, making it one of the few remaining stations in the country to do so. However, many Lincoln area viewers could still receive World News Now via either KETV over-the-air or on cable, or NTV via satellite.

After the sale of WOI-DT, WHBF-TV and KCAU-TV to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group was completed on March 13, 2014, KLKN and ABC affiliate WLNE-TV in Providence, Rhode Island would become the only stations with a major network affiliation still owned by Citadel; the company also owns a news-intensive independent station, WSNN-LD/Suncoast News Network in Sarasota, Florida.

On May 16, 2019, it was announced that Standard Media would acquire KLKN and WLNE for $83 million. Its leader, former Young Broadcasting and Media General executive Deb McDermott, had begun her career in the Lincoln market at CBS affiliate KOLN.[14] The sale was completed on September 5.[15]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[16]
8.1 720p 16:9 KLKN-TV Main KLKN programming / ABC
8.2 480i KLKNGRI Grit
8.3 KLKNESC Court TV Mystery
8.4 KLKNLAF Laff

On December 1, 2008, KLKN launched an affiliation with Retro Television Network on its DT2 subchannel and Time Warner Cable channel 82 and Charter digital 398, alongside former sister stations WOI-DT in Des Moines and WHBF-TV in the Quad Cities. On January 16, 2012, KLKN, along with all Citadel stations (including WLNE-TV in Providence and KCAU-TV in Sioux City), began carrying Disney/ABC's Live Well Network, replacing the Retro Television Network on its subchannel and cable channels.[17] In June 2014, it was announced that the Live Well Network would shut down in January 2015. On August 18, 2014, KLKN replaced the network with two networks geared towards two genders. Male-oriented Grit took over Live Well's space on 8.2 and female-oriented Escape was added to 8.3.[18]

A KLKN live news truck parked at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KLKN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 31 to VHF channel 8.[19] KLKN was one of about 30% of TV stations in the United States to broadcast its digital signal on high VHF channel assignment.


  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says December 3, while the Television and Cable Factbook says December 5.
  2. ^ "New TV station" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 14, 1964. p. 45. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Changing hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 25, 1974. p. 34. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 24, 1974. p. 70. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  5. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 11, 1979. p. 39. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "On its own" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 17, 1983. p. 76. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Memorandum Opinion and Order". Federal Communications Commission. November 13, 1986. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 28, 1986. p. 89. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "Call Letters" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 19, 1987. p. 282. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "Channel 8 KLKN-TV celebrates 15th anniversary". KLKNTV.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  11. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. B-48. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  12. ^ "NEBRASKA: Citadel Broadcasting turned off KLKE/24...", NorthPine.com Broadcasting News, March 2003.
  13. ^ "KLKN Pioneers Digital TV in Nebraska". KLKNTV.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  14. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (May 16, 2019). "McDermott In The Station Game With WLNE, KLKN". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Consummation Notice", CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  16. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KLKN
  17. ^ Malone, Michael (January 9, 2012). "Citadel Communications Stations Grab Live Well". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  18. ^ Weiss, Jim (August 18, 2014). "Press Release: The Nation's First-Ever, Over-The-Air Broadcast TV Networks For Women & Men Are Born: Escape (For Women) & Grit (For Men) Are Now On-The-Air". klkntv.com. PRNewswire. Katz Broadcasting. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.

External links[edit]