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KOTA logo
Rapid City, South Dakota
United States
Branding KOTA Territory (general)
KOTA Territory News (newscasts)
Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 2 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Subchannels 3.1 ABC
3.2 Me-TV
3.3 This TV
Translators (see below)
Affiliations ABC (1984–present; secondary 1955–1965; joint-primary 1965–1976)
Owner Schurz Communications
KOTA-TV/KHSD-TV: (sale to Legacy Broadcasting pending)
KSGW-TV/KDUH-TV: (sale to Gray Television pending)
(New Rushmore Radio, Inc.)
Founded December 8, 1954 (1954-12-08)[1]
First air date June 1, 1955; 60 years ago (1955-06-01)
Call letters' meaning derived from former sister station KOTA radio
Sister station(s) KFXS, KKMK, KOUT, KRCS
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1955-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
CBS (1955–1970)
NBC (joint primary with ABC 1970-1976, primary 1976-1981, full-time 1981–1984)
NBC (1955–1958)
CBS (1976–1981)
Fox (1994–1996)
Transmitter power 18.2 kW
Height 174 m
Facility ID 17688
Transmitter coordinates 44°4′7.7″N 103°15′5″W / 44.068806°N 103.25139°W / 44.068806; -103.25139
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.kotatv.com

KOTA-TV, channel 3, is an ABC television affiliate based in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. The station is owned by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana. Its current slogan is "Coverage You Can Count On." Its transmitter is located in Rapid City; its studios are located on St. Joseph Street in downtown Rapid City.

Through the use of three satellite stations, KOTA-TV serves a large area in western South Dakota, eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle. It calls its vast coverage area "KOTA Territory."


KOTA-TV debuted on the air with test operations on June 1, 1955, with regular programming beginning one month later on July 1. It was the second television station in South Dakota, and the first in the western part of the state. The station was owned by Rapid City businesswoman Helen Duhamel, and was a sister station to CBS Radio Network affiliate KOTA (1380 AM). Duhamel bought a minority stake in the radio station in 1943 and gradually expanded her holdings until she bought full control in 1954. Channel 3 originally carried programming from all three networks, though it was a primary CBS television affiliate. Helen's son William (Bill) Duhamel would become KOTA-TV's president and general manager in 1976.

When KRSD-TV, the original channel 7 in Rapid City, signed on in 1958, it took the NBC affiliation, sharing ABC with KOTA-TV. In 1965, channel 3 took on an unusual "joint primary" affiliation with CBS and ABC, slightly favoring CBS. It was certainly quite a struggle to fit as many network shows as possible onto the schedule, especially in the daytime, so KRSD-TV had to take up some of the slack. But channel 7 always had a painfully weak signal which, by 1966, had deteriorated to the point of unacceptability. For this reason, and at NBC's insistence, the two stations switched affiliations on September 13, 1970, making KOTA-TV a joint-primary affiliate of ABC and NBC.[2] A year later, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would yank KRSD-TV's license due to its inadequate technical quality; that station's owner would fight the decision, but finally gave up and ceased operations on February 29, 1976.

For the next several months, KOTA-TV had only PBS station KBHE-TV (channel 9) as a competitor. But when the new channel 7, KEVN-TV, opened on July 11, 1976, it took all ABC programming; KOTA-TV kept its NBC primary afiiliation and added a secondary affiliation with CBS.[3] Meanwhile, in Scottsbluff, KSTF, along with its parent station KYCU-TV (now KGWN-TV) in Cheyenne, both had to switch their primary affiliations to ABC to make up for the loss of ABC programming on KDUH.

Channel 3 lost CBS in 1981, after the FCC authorized K15AC (channel 15), a translator of KPLO-TV from Reliance (itself a satellite of KELO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Sioux Falls), over the objections of KOTA-TV[4] (K15AC was supplanted in 1988 by KCLO-TV, a semi-satellite of KELO). KOTA-TV continued to carry NBC programming until 1984, when the network chose to part ways with the station.[5] ABC then moved its programming to channel 3 from KEVN-TV, which took the NBC affiliation;[6] this made KOTA-TV one of the few stations to be a primary affiliate of each of the Big Three television networks. KOTA added a secondary affiliation with Fox in 1994, primarily to carry the network's coverage of the National Football League;[7] this ended in 1996, when KEVN switched from NBC to Fox as part of the U.S. television network affiliate switches of 1994.

After 58 years under family ownership, Bill Duhamel announced on October 31, 2013 that KOTA-TV and its satellites would be sold to Schurz Communications, pending FCC approval. The sale separated KOTA-TV from its longtime sister radio stations (which the Duhamels retained), as Schurz already owns a group of Black Hills radio stations under the New Rushmore Radio banner.[8][9] The FCC granted the sale on March 31, 2014; and it was completed on April 28, 2014.[10][11][12][13]

On September 14, 2015, Schurz announced that it would exit broadcasting and sell its television and radio stations, including KOTA-TV and its satellites, to Gray Television for $442.5 million. Gray already owns KEVN-TV in Rapid City, and intends to consolidate the two stations' operations.[14][15] In its original filing with the FCC, Gray said that it would either sell or surrender the license for KOTA-TV, while retaining its three present satellite stations. KHSD-TV (channel 11) in Lead and KSGW-TV (channel 12) in Sheridan, Wyoming were proposed to become satellites of KEVN-LD (channel 23), a new low-power station in Rapid City owned by Gray, while KDUH-TV (channel 4) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska would be converted to a satellite of KNOP-TV, a Gray-owned NBC affiliate in North Platte.[16] On October 1, Gray announced that the KOTA-TV license would be acquired by Legacy Broadcasting for $1; while Gray will retain the ABC affiliation and transfer it to KEVN-TV, most of the station's other assets, including its present subchannel affiliations with Me-TV and This TV, will be transferred to Legacy as part of the deal.[17] The KHSD license will also be acquired by Legacy.[18] In a subsequent filing with the FCC, Gray disclosed that it now planned to convert KSGW-TV to a semi-satellite of NBC affiliate KCWY-DT in Casper, Wyoming, while KDUH-TV will change its call letters to KNEP following its conversion to a KNOP-TV satellite; Gray will also propose to change KDUH/KNEP's city of license to Sidney, Nebraska (which will move it from the Cheyenne-Scottsbluff market to the Denver market, eliminating an ownership conflict with KSTF in Scottsbluff).[19]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[20]
3.1 720p 16:9 KOTA-DT Main KOTA-TV programming / ABC
3.2 480i 4:3 KOTA-D2 Me-TV
3.3 KOTA-D3 This TV

In 2009, KOTA-TV and its satellite stations added the Retro Television Network and This TV on their digital subchannels. In 2011, Retro Television was replaced by Me-TV on KOTA-TV and its satellite stations.[21]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KOTA-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 2.[22] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.


KOTA-TV's programming is also shown on a network of three satellite stations.

Station City of license Channels
First air date ERP HAAT Transmitter Coordinates Facility ID Public license
KDUH-TV Scottsbluff, Nebraska 4 (PSIP)
7 (VHF)
March 5, 1958 32 kW 475 m 41°50′27.7″N 103°4′28.8″W / 41.841028°N 103.074667°W / 41.841028; -103.074667 (KDUH-TV) 17683 Profile
KHSD-TV Lead, South Dakota 11 (PSIP)
10 (VHF)
November 2, 1966 34.8 kW 576 m 44°19′35.1″N 103°50′9″W / 44.326417°N 103.83583°W / 44.326417; -103.83583 (KHSD-TV) 17686 Profile
KSGW-TV Sheridan, Wyoming 12 (PSIP)
13 (VHF)
December 28, 1977 50 kW 372 m 44°37′23″N 107°7′2.3″W / 44.62306°N 107.117306°W / 44.62306; -107.117306 (KSGW-TV) 17680 Profile

KDUH and KSGW are semi-satellites of KOTA-TV, airing separate commercials from studios in Scottsbluff and Sheridan. KDUH once produced its own full-length newscasts as well. However, due to recent cutbacks, KDUH's newscasts have been reduced to inserts in KOTA-TV's weeknight newscasts with a few personalities locally based in Scottsbluff. KSGW has a reporter who produces local news stories that periodically air on the main network-wide newscast, and also airs local weather inserts on KOTA-TV. KHSD is a full-time repeater of KOTA-TV.

KDUH-TV is one of two ABC affiliates on Dish Network's Cheyenne-Scottsbluff local feed. The other is KTWO-TV in Casper, which is carried on Fox affiliate KLWY's digital subcarrier.

When KHSD was being launched, KOTA-TV contracted with KDIX-TV in Dickinson, North Dakota (now KXMA-TV) to provide programming for that station, as KDIX was close enough to KHSD that its engineers would be able to pick up KHSD's signal. Consequently, KDIX was practically a satellite of KOTA from November 1966 until September 1970.

KOTA is also operating a fill-in translator on channel 18 that serves the immediate part of the Rapid City area.[23]

KOTA-TV also operates the following low-power translators:


  1. ^ "Tupelo, Rapid City TVs granted by Commission." Broadcasting - Telecasting, December 13, 1954, pg. 80.
  2. ^ "CBS and NBC trade places" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 17, 1970. p. 33. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 (PDF). 1978. p. B-128. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 31, 1981. p. 53. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Tale of two cities" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 20, 1984. p. 35. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 14, 1984. pp. 114–5. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ McClellan, Steve (April 18, 1994). "Fox's latest four add up to 96%" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. p. 16. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.kotatv.com/story/23843835/kota-tv-sold-to-schurz-communications-inc
  9. ^ Malone, Michael (October 31, 2013). "Schurz to Acquire KOTA Rapid City". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ http://www.kotatv.com/story/25133718/fcc-approves-sale-of-kota-tv
  11. ^ Notice, Federal Communications Commission, 31 March 2014, Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  12. ^ FCC approves sale of KOTA Territory TV, KOTA-TV, 1 April 2014, Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  13. ^ Consummation Notice, CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, 28 April, 2014, Retrieved 30 April, 2014.
  14. ^ "Schurz Communications to sell WSBT and other TV, radio stations". South Bend Tribune. September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ Kuperberg, Jonathan (September 14, 2015). "Gray Acquiring TV, Radio Stations from Schurz for $442.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Comprehensive Exhibit" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Gray Television Sells Some, Buys Some". TVNewsCheck. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Summary of Interrelated Transactions" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 8, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Comprehensive Exhibit" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  20. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KOTA
  21. ^ Where to Watch Me-TV: KOTA-TV
  22. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  23. ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101414421&formid=346&fac_num=17688

External links[edit]