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Missoula, Montana
United States
ChannelsDigital: 23 (UHF)
Virtual: 23
BrandingABC Montana (general)
ABC Montana Local News (newscasts)
Fox Montana (on DT2)
Subchannels23.1: ABC
23.2: Fox/MyNetworkTV[1]
23.3: SWX Right Now[2]
OwnerCowles Company
(Cowles Montana Media Company)
FoundedApril 12, 1989
First air date
November 16, 1990 (31 years ago) (1990-11-16)[3]
Former channel number(s)
23 (UHF, 1990–2009)
36 (UHF, until 2009)
Call sign meaning
Television Missoula Flathead[3]
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID14675
ERP92.6 kW
HAAT642 m (2,106 ft)
Transmitter coordinates47°1′10″N 114°0′49″W / 47.01944°N 114.01361°W / 47.01944; -114.01361
Translator(s)KTMF-LD 36 Kalispell
(for others, see below
Public license information

KTMF, virtual and UHF digital channel 23, is a dual ABC/Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Missoula, Montana, United States. The station is owned by the Cowles Company. KTMF's studios are located on Stephens Avenue in Missoula, and its transmitter is located on TV Mountain north of the city.

The station's signal is rebroadcast on KTMF-LD (virtual channel 42, UHF digital channel 36) in Kalispell and on several other low-power translator stations in the Flathead Lake area of northwestern Montana.


KTMF history[edit]

KTMF's "ABC 23" and "ABC 42" logos, used during the mid-2000s

On April 12, 1989, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an original construction permit to Continental Television Network (CTN) for a full-service station on channel 23 to serve Missoula. The station, at first known by its application identification number 881130KG, soon took the call letters KLFV,[4] but before the station went on air, had changed calls again, this time to KTMF. The station went on the air on November 16, 1990.[3] This made Missoula one of the last cities in the nation to get full service from all three major networks. Previously, ABC had been relegated to limited clearances on KECI-TV (channel 13) and KPAX-TV (channel 8), or via cable from KXLY-TV in Spokane.

In February 2001, CTN sold KTMF, along with the then-KTMF-LP in Kalispell, KWYB in Butte, KWYB-LP in Bozeman and KTGF in Great Falls, to Max Media of Montana. They were the first television station acquisitions in Montana for Max Media.

On September 30, 2013, the Cowles Company acquired Max Media's Montana television station cluster (which, in addition to KTMF and KWYB, also included KFBB-TV in Great Falls, KHBB-LD in Helena, and NBC affiliate KULR-TV in Billings) for $18 million.[5][6] The sale was completed on November 29.[7]

KTMF-LD history[edit]

On January 6, 1992, the FCC granted an original construction permit to CTN for a low-power station on channel 59 to serve Kalispell. The station was given callsign K59EQ and after an expired construction permit and a couple of extensions of the new permit, K59EQ was licensed on July 11, 1995. The station changed its calls to KTMF-LP later in the same year.

In February 2001, CTN sold the station to Max Media of Montana as part of the same transaction as KTMF. KTMF-LP was granted a permit to move to channel 42 in October 2003 and as of August 2006, the station had completed the move, but had not applied for a license to operate on the new channel.

On May 27, 2010, KTMF-LP was granted a construction permit to flash-cut from analog to digital on channel 42. On January 4, 2013, the station changed its call sign to KTMF-LD.[8] KTMF-LD was included in Cowles' 2013 purchase of Max Media's Montana stations. The station was licensed to move its digital broadcast to channel 36 effective December 26, 2018.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

KTMF and KTMF-LD's digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9][10]
23.1 42.1 720p 16:9 KTMF-AB Main KTMF/KTMF-LD programming / ABC
23.2 42.2 KTMF-FO Fox
MyNetworkTV (10:05 p.m. - 12:05 a.m. Monday - Friday)
Jewelry Television (overnights)
23.3 42.3 SWX SWX Right Now[2]

On September 26, 2001, the FCC granted a construction permit to build KTMF-DT on UHF channel 36. The station received Special Temporary Authority (STA) on April 22, 2001 to broadcast at reduced power. KTMF elected to remain on channel 23 following the completion of the digital television transition.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KTMF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 23, 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 36 to channel 23 for post-transition operations.[11]

KTMF-DT2/KTMF-LD2 (Fox Montana)[edit]

On July 13, 2009, KTMF's second subchannel was launched to carry Fox, after Equity's KMMF (channel 17) and Kalispell repeater KMMF-LP (channel 34) were taken silent on the June 12, 2009 digital switchover date due to Equity's bankruptcy and KMMF having no digital facilities to transition to.[12] Fox's secondary network MyNetworkTV is seen in a delayed manner on the subchannel from 10:05 p.m. to 12:05 a.m., and is carried unpromoted in any way outside of network promotions.

News operation[edit]

Under Continental Television Network, KTMF (along with its sister stations) did not air local newscasts, but soon after Max Media acquired the stations, they began to make plans for a regional newscast for the stations, to debut in early 2002.[13] They launched the newscast, produced by Independent News Network of Davenport, Iowa and branded Big Sky News, in October 2002,[14] but the newscast generated controversy, in part because it tried to simultaneously serve the needs of five communities over 200 miles (320 km) apart, and in part because the newscast did not actually originate in Montana, but rather, in a city approximately 1,175 miles (1,891 km) away, with only one reporter actually assigned to and located in Missoula. Max Media launched another attempt at a regional newscast for KTMF and its other stations in February 2005, this time branded Montana News Network but this time it was produced out of KFBB-TV in Great Falls (which the company had acquired in 2004).

KTMF started its own news operation in August 2012 in preparation for the launch of a 9 p.m. newscast on its Fox subchannel a month later.[15]


City of license Callsign Channel ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates Owner
Drummond K35JT-D 35 0.167 kW −137 m (−449 ft) 183076 46°37′2.2″N 113°10′55.5″W / 46.617278°N 113.182083°W / 46.617278; -113.182083 (K35JT-D) Granite County TV District
Elmo, Big Arm K36KR-D 36 0.135 kW −127 m (−417 ft) 181252 47°48′59.7″N 114°18′53.4″W / 47.816583°N 114.314833°W / 47.816583; -114.314833 (K36KR-D) Blacktail TV Tax District
Ferndale K14NI-D 14 0.111 kW 71 m (233 ft) 182550 48°4′4.3″N 114°2′19.3″W / 48.067861°N 114.038694°W / 48.067861; -114.038694 (K14NI-D) Swan Hill TV District
Heron K15IY-D 15 0.125 kW 240 m (787 ft) 187606 47°57′17.6″N 115°40′14.9″W / 47.954889°N 115.670806°W / 47.954889; -115.670806 (K15IY-D) Trout Creek-Heron-Noxon TV District
Hot Springs K16NF-D 16 0.003 kW 10 m (33 ft) 27680 47°37′56.7″N 114°39′51″W / 47.632417°N 114.66417°W / 47.632417; -114.66417 (K16NF-D) Hot Springs TV District
K19GD-D 19 0.69 kW 794 m (2,605 ft) 5820 48°0′39.8″N 114°21′51.4″W / 48.011056°N 114.364278°W / 48.011056; -114.364278 (K19GD-D) Blacktail TV Tax District
Kalispell KTMF-LD 36 2.48 kW 110 m (361 ft) 14676 48°10′33.9″N 114°21′0.2″W / 48.176083°N 114.350056°W / 48.176083; -114.350056 (KTMF-LD) Cowles Company
Philipsburg K30KY-D 30 0.015 kW 475 m (1,558 ft) 183065 46°15′48.8″N 113°15′2.9″W / 46.263556°N 113.250806°W / 46.263556; -113.250806 (K30KY-D) Granite County TV District
Polson K14LT-D 14 0.061 kW −19 m (−62 ft) 5813 47°40′38.8″N 114°8′33.2″W / 47.677444°N 114.142556°W / 47.677444; -114.142556 (K14LT-D) Blacktail TV Tax District
Quartz Creek K16KZ-D 16 0.431 kW 84 m (276 ft) 190057 48°26′19.8″N 115°31′40.5″W / 48.438833°N 115.527917°W / 48.438833; -115.527917 (K16KZ-D) Libby Video Club, Inc.
Sula K09YT-D 9 0.011 kW 112 m (367 ft) 183070 45°49′17.5″N 113°59′41″W / 45.821528°N 113.99472°W / 45.821528; -113.99472 (K09YT-D) Sula TV District
Thompson Falls K21MW-D 21 0.053 kW −270 m (−886 ft) 181904 47°35′45″N 115°16′51″W / 47.59583°N 115.28083°W / 47.59583; -115.28083 (K21MW-D) Thompson Falls TV District
West Glacier K07IT-D 7 0.019 kW 628 m (2,060 ft) 16756 48°25′58.8″N 113°57′58.4″W / 48.433000°N 113.966222°W / 48.433000; -113.966222 (K07IT-D) Cowles Company
Whitefish K31PD-D 31 12 kW 770 m (2,526 ft) 187420 48°0′48.16″N 114°21′59.9″W / 48.0133778°N 114.366639°W / 48.0133778; -114.366639 (K31PD-D)
K07EN-D 7 0.1 kW −45 m (−148 ft) 5811 48°1′14.8″N 114°3′33.4″W / 48.020778°N 114.059278°W / 48.020778; -114.059278 (K07EN-D) Blacktail TV Tax District
Salmon, ID K36PM-D 36 0.11 kW 846 m (2,776 ft) 58706 45°8′44.7″N 114°0′33.2″W / 45.145750°N 114.009222°W / 45.145750; -114.009222 (K36PM-D) Salmon TV Translator District


  1. ^ TitanTV Query for KFBB-DT/KHBB-LD, KTMF-DT/LD, & KWYB-DT/LD
  2. ^ a b Lutz, Andrea (December 7, 2016). "Where to watch: SWX 24hr 'Sports and Weather'". ABCFOXMontana.com. Cowles Company. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Stergionis, Marc (December 23, 1990). "KTGF's sister station goes on air in Missoula". Great Falls Tribune. p. 2B. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  4. ^ King, Jr., Neil (January 24, 1990). "KTGF delays decision on Missoula station". Great Falls Tribune. Medill News Service. p. 9A. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. 1 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. 1 October 2013.
  7. ^ "CDBS Print". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  8. ^ FCC Internet Services Staff. "Application View ... Redirecting". Licensing.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KTMF
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KTMF-LD
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  12. ^ Malone, Michael (21 July 2009). "Fox on Montana Stations' Digi-Channels". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on 2012-09-28. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  13. ^ [1] Archived November 7, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "www.maxmontana.com". www.maxmontana.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  15. ^ Cederburg, Jenna (August 15, 2012). "Fox affiliate to begin half-hour news broadcast in Missoula". The Missoulian. Retrieved August 15, 2012.

External links[edit]