From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
KTVH-DT CW 12.2 logo.png
Helena, Montana
United States
ChannelsDigital: 12 (VHF)
Virtual: 12
BrandingKTVH (general)
MTN News (newscasts)
Helena's CW 12.2 (on DT2)
Affiliations12.1: NBC
12.2: CW+
12.3: Cozi TV
OwnerE. W. Scripps Company
(Scripps Broadcasting Holdings LLC)
First air date
January 1, 1958 (63 years ago) (1958-01-01)
Former call signs
KXLJ-TV (1958–1962)
KBLL-TV (1963–1975)
KTCM (1975–1980)
KTVG (1980–1985)
Former channel number(s)
12 (VHF, 1958–2009)
14 (UHF, 2004–2009)
Call sign meaning
TeleVision Helena
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID5290
ERP17.5 kW
HAAT671.2 m (2,202 ft)
Transmitter coordinates46°49′29.4″N 111°42′15.6″W / 46.824833°N 111.704333°W / 46.824833; -111.704333
Translator(s)KTGF-LD 50 Great Falls
K42DD-D 33 Joplin
Public license information
"Helena's CW 12.2" (DT2)

KTVH-DT, virtual and VHF digital channel 12, is a dual NBC/CW+ affiliated television station licensed to Helena, Montana, United States. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, it is a sister station to low-powered CBS affiliate KXLH-LD (channel 9). The two stations share studios on West Lyndale Avenue in Helena; KTVH's transmitter is located on Hogback Mountain.

KTVH is simulcast on KTGF-LD channel 50 (Charter Spectrum cable 6) in Great Falls.



KTVH was the first television station in Helena, signing on the air on January 1, 1958 as KXLJ-TV, a semi-satellite of KXLF-TV in Butte. It has always been an NBC affiliate. In December 1962, Bob Magnus and two partners bought the station, weaned it from KXLF, and changed the call letters to KBLL-TV.

In 1969, former Montana Governor Tim M. Babcock bought the station and changed the station's call letters to KTCM (Television for the Capitol of Montana). In 1976, KTCM built a new tower and expanded its coverage to include Missoula, Butte, and Great Falls; until 1986, it was effectively the default NBC affiliate for a large portion of Montana. Babcock sold the station to Lynn Koch in 1979, and the station changed call letters again on July 28, 1980, this time to KTVG. Five years later, Koch sold the station to Don Bradley, who again changed the call letters to KTVH on August 19, 1985 (TeleVision for Helena—the calls were previously used on a Wichita, Kansas station now known as KWCH-DT), which remain to this day.

By 1988, the station was in financial trouble and Bradley sold it to John Raddeck and Big Sky Broadcasting Limited Partnership. Big Sky Broadcasting restored the station's financial health and in 1997, sold KTVH to Beartooth Communications Company, a subsidiary of Sunbelt Communications Company. Soon after the sign-on of satellite KBGF, Sunbelt rebranded KTVH and its various satellites as "Beartooth NBC," after the Beartooth Mountains.

On May 7, 2014, Intermountain West Communications Company (the former Sunbelt Communications) announced that it would sell KTVH-DT to Gray Television; Gray also purchased Helena CW affiliate KMTF (channel 10, now KUHM-TV), which had long been operated by KTVH, through a failed station waiver. Gray took over KTVH's operations through a local marketing agreement on June 1.[1] The sale of KTVH to Gray closed on November 3, 2014.[2] After the sale closed, Gray dropped the "Beartooth NBC" brand in favor of "KTVH/KBGF."

On July 1, 2015, Gray announced that it would sell KTVH-DT to Cordillera Communications; concurrently, sister station KMTF was donated to Montana State University and joined the Montana PBS network, with its CW programming being transferred to a KTVH subchannel.[3] The sale was completed on October 30.[4] Cordillera's purchase of KTVH made it a sister station to CBS affiliate KXLH-LD (channel 9) and reunited the station with KXLF-TV.


An original construction permit was granted on November 16, 2004 to Charles C. Townsend, III of Aloha Partners, to build a low-power television station serving Great Falls, Montana. The station being constructed on channel 50 was given call letters K50IQ. In April 2005, Townsend sold the permit to Beartooth Communications, who immediately changed the call letters to KBGF-LP. KBGF-LP signed on July 1, 2005, and immediately took the NBC affiliation from KTGF (channel 16);[5] the station was licensed on December 5, 2005, and is a translator for KTVH. KBGF had its own office in Great Falls, but it has since closed. KBGF-LP was included in the 2014 sale of KTVH-DT to Gray Television.[1] On December 16, 2014, the station was licensed for digital operation, under the call sign KBGF-LD. KBGF-LD was included in the 2015 sale of KTVH-DT to Cordillera Communications;[3] the deal made it a sister station to CBS affiliate KRTV (channel 3). KBGF-LD changed its call letters to KTGF-LD on July 1, 2018;[6] the call sign moved from channel 16, which concurrently changed its call letters to KJJC.

Former satellites[edit]

From January 2001 through January 25, 2008, KTVH operated two full-service satellite stations in northern and central Montana.

Station City of license Channel First air date Last air date ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
KBBJ Havre 9 (VHF) January 2, 2001 (20 years ago) (2001-01-02) January 25, 2008 (13 years ago) (2008-01-25) 9 kW 388.8 m (1,276 ft) 83689 48°20′32″N 109°43′44″W / 48.34222°N 109.72889°W / 48.34222; -109.72889 (KBBJ)
KBAO Lewistown 13 (VHF) January 3, 2001 (20 years ago) (2001-01-03) January 25, 2008 (13 years ago) (2008-01-25) 9 kW 636 m (2,087 ft) 84794 47°10′40″N 109°32′10″W / 47.17778°N 109.53611°W / 47.17778; -109.53611 (KBAO)


On December 8, 1997, Sunbelt Communications Company obtained an original construction permit to build a full-service television station in Havre, Montana. KBBJ channel 9 became the first television station for Havre and north central Montana on January 2, 2001, when it signed on the air as a satellite of KTVH;[7] its license was issued on December 5, 2001. Sunbelt assigned the station's license to subsidiary Beartooth Communication Company in 2005. KBBJ went silent January 25, 2008.[8] On July 8, 2009, Sunbelt requested that the license for KBBJ be cancelled.[9]


Before KBAO went on the air, the channel 13 frequency was awarded as a translator station to KOOK-TV (now KTVQ, channel 2) in Billings.[10] Beartooth Communications Company was granted an original construction permit on December 12, 1997 to build a full-service television station to serve Lewistown and surrounding areas in central Montana. On January 3, 2001, KBAO channel 13 signed on as a satellite of KTVH,[7] and as Lewistown's first television station; it was licensed on July 18, 2001. The station expanded its reach when the four translator television stations serving Phillips County in northern Montana became repeaters for KBAO. KBAO went silent January 25, 2008.[11] On July 9, 2009, Sunbelt requested that the license for KBAO be cancelled.[12]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[13][14]
12.1 1080i 16:9 KTVH Main KTVH programming / NBC
12.2 480i 4:3 KMTF Helena's CW 12.2
12.3 Cozi TV


City of license Callsign Channel ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates Owner
Chinook K18KT-D 18 0.431 kW 107 m (351 ft) 10840 48°28′8.4″N 109°16′12.6″W / 48.469000°N 109.270167°W / 48.469000; -109.270167 (K18KT-D) Chinook TV Association, Inc.
Conrad K25MZ-D 25 0.373 kW 64 m (210 ft) 190003 48°11′13.1″N 112°1′18.4″W / 48.186972°N 112.021778°W / 48.186972; -112.021778 (K25MZ-D) Conrad TV District
Dodson K36CW-D 36 0.093 kW −4 m (−13 ft) 52496 48°23′38.3″N 108°9′23.6″W / 48.393972°N 108.156556°W / 48.393972; -108.156556 (K36CW-D) Phillips County TV Translator District
Joplin K33PR-D 33 0.351 kW 862 m (2,828 ft) 18189 48°51′16.5″N 111°8′32.3″W / 48.854583°N 111.142306°W / 48.854583; -111.142306 (K33PR-D) East Butte TV Club, Inc.
Malta K09JG-D 9 0.009 kW −13 m (−43 ft) 52492 48°20′40.6″N 107°52′15.6″W / 48.344611°N 107.871000°W / 48.344611; -107.871000 (K09JG-D) Phillips County TV Translator District
Phillips County K20BP-D 20 0.2 kW 548 m (1,798 ft) 52489 47°56′2.9″N 108°34′28.3″W / 47.934139°N 108.574528°W / 47.934139; -108.574528 (K20BP-D) Phillips County TV Translator District
Saco K15AS-D 15 0.067 kW 87 m (285 ft) 52480 48°27′45.6″N 107°25′57.3″W / 48.462667°N 107.432583°W / 48.462667; -107.432583 (K15AS-D) Phillips County TV Translator District
Sweetgrass K30MW-D 30 0.075 kW 73 m (240 ft) 168582 48°58′58.1″N 111°57′26.5″W / 48.982806°N 111.957361°W / 48.982806; -111.957361 (K30MW-D) East Butte TV Club
Townsend K04QX-D 4 0.065 kW −13 m (−43 ft) 181055 46°16′48.1″N 111°24′59.9″W / 46.280028°N 111.416639°W / 46.280028; -111.416639 (K04QX-D) Townsend TV District
Whitewater K34DN-D 34 0.098 kW 66 m (217 ft) 52497 48°45′37.5″N 107°45′7.2″W / 48.760417°N 107.752000°W / 48.760417; -107.752000 (K34DN-D) Phillips County TV Translator District

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KTVH shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on November 10, 2008. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 14 to VHF channel 12 for post-transition operations.[15][16] KTVH is the first station in Helena to broadcast programming in high definition.

In August 2014, Gray filed an application for a digital companion channel for KBGF-LP operating on channel 19, contingent on its purchase of the station.[17] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted special temporary authority to Intermountain West Communications on October 20 to construct this facility;[18] this authority ensured that it could be constructed prior to winter,[19] and allowed channel 19 to come on the air on October 26, mapping to channel 50.19 through PSIP.[20]

News operation[edit]

KTVH-DT runs a news operation out of its studios in Helena, with newscasts on weeknights at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. KTVH launched a weekday morning news show called Daybreak on January 1, 2018 starting at 6 a.m.


  1. ^ a b "Gray Buys Three Montana Stations". TVNewsCheck. May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Gray Closes on KTVH, KBGF-LP Buy". TVNewsCheck. November 3, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Gray In 4 New Deals, Closes 3 Earlier Ones". TVNewsCheck. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  4. ^ Consummation Notice CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  5. ^ "NBC switches stations in Great Falls". The Billings Gazette. Associated Press. June 30, 2005. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "Call Sign History (KTGF-LD)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Television & Cable Factbook 2002 Edition (PDF). 2002. pp. A-807, A-811. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA (KBBJ)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 4, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "DTV Quarterly Activity Station Report (KBBJ)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. July 9, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  10. ^ https://www.johninarizona.com/kook-tv/kook-tv-2-billings-mt-translators-johninarizona.jpg
  11. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA (KBAO)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 4, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "DTV Quarterly Activity Station Report (KBAO)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. July 9, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  13. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KTVH
  14. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KTGF-LD
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Application For Authority To Construct Or Make Changes In A Low Power TV, TV Translator Or TV Booster Station". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. August 1, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  18. ^ "Application Search Details (KTGF-LD)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  19. ^ "Engineering STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 16, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  20. ^ Ecke, Richard (October 29, 2014). "NBC channel goes digital, HD over the air in Great Falls". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved November 4, 2014.

External links[edit]