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KULR: Billings, Montana
KYUS: Miles City, Montana
Branding KULR 8 (general)
KULR 8 Local News (newscasts)
Slogan Your Local News Leader
Channels Digital: KULR: 11 (VHF)
Subchannels 8.1/3.1 NBC
8.2 SWX Right Now
Translators K06FE-D 6 Miles City
Affiliations NBC
Owner KULR: Cowles Publishing Company
KYUS: Marks Radio Group
(KULR: Cowles Montana Media Company
KYUS: KYUS-TV Broadcasting Corporation)
First air date KULR: March 15, 1958
KYUS: August 29, 1969[1]
Call letters' meaning KULR: KULoR (Color) Television (calls were inaugurated with launch of color service)
KYUS: cayuse, a type of Native American pony
Former callsigns KULR:
KGHL-TV (1958-1963)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1958-2009)
3 (VHF, 1969-2009)
Former affiliations KULR:
ABC (1958-1987, secondary until 1968)
PBS (per program, 1970-1984)
Transmitter power KULR: 16 kW
KYUS: 2.9 kW
Height KULR: 191 m
KYUS: 30 m
Facility ID KULR: 35724
KYUS: 5237
Transmitter coordinates KULR:
45°45′35.5″N 108°27′17.4″W / 45.759861°N 108.454833°W / 45.759861; -108.454833
46°25′34.6″N 105°51′40″W / 46.426278°N 105.86111°W / 46.426278; -105.86111 (KYUS-TV)
Website www.kulr8.com

KULR-TV, virtual channel 8, is an NBC affiliate broadcasting on channel 11 in Billings, Montana. KULR is owned by Cowles Publishing Company.

KULR's programming and schedule is also seen on KYUS-TV (virtual and digital channel 3) in Miles City, Montana; that station is owned and operated by the Marks Radio Group, who also owns several radio stations in Montana, among other broadcasting properties. KULR programs and operates the station on Marks' behalf. Previously, KYUS was notorious for being the smallest network affiliate in America, which was owned from 1969 to 1984 by David Rivenes, who did the news, sports, weather and reporting himself — he was also featured in the late-1970s on NBC's Real People and in TV Guide for his career. KYUS became mainly a satellite station in the 1980s, first with KOUS (channel 4), then with KULR, after KOUS flipped to Fox as KHMT.

In Miles City, KULR can also be seen on K06FE-D channel 6; this translator is owned by Cowles, and not the Marks Radio Group. Marks Radio Group also owns KXGN-TV in Glendive, Montana, which broadcasts KULR on its digital subchannel, with some local variations.

Digital television[edit]

In February 2009, KULR, KTVQ and two other stations in the Billings market were refused Federal Communications Commission permission[2] to end analogue broadcasts and operate as digital-only effective on the originally-scheduled February 17, 2009 date.[3]

Channel Aspect Format Programming
8.1 / 3.1 16:9 1080i main KULR-TV/KYUS programming / NBC
8.2 4:3 480i KULR-8 SWX


Channel 8's first broadcast was on March 15, 1958 as KGHL-TV, owned by Midland Empire Broadcasting Company along with KGHL radio (AM 790). The station was originally a NBC affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. The callsign was changed to KULR in 1963. The call letters were a play on the word "color" as most programs in the mid-1960s started changing from being televised in black and white to color. "Color 8" was how the TV station was promoted on-air in promos for KULR.

In 1968, the station became a primary ABC affiliate - the fourth in Montana - while relegating NBC to secondary status.[4] This was very unusual for a two-station market, especially one as small as Billings. NBC wouldn't return to Billings on a full-time basis until KOUS signed on in 1980. In spring 1981, KULR dumped the "Color 8" branding and became known as "Straight 8" and its local newscast as Straight 8 Newsservice anchored by Dave Rye, sports director Larry Gebert, and weather forecaster Kit Carson. Other on-air reporters and weekend anchors at the time included Joni Earle, Monica Gayle, Kyle Safely, and David Smock.

From 1970 until Montana PBS signed on in 1984, KULR aired some PBS programming, as Montana was one of the few states at the time that did not have a PBS member station of its own. In 1987, NBC wanted a stronger affiliate in the market, and quickly negotiated a return to KULR.

On September 30, 2013, the Cowles Publishing Company announced that it would acquire Max Media's Montana television station cluster (KULR, and ABC affiliates KWYB/Butte, KFBB-TV/Great Falls, KHBB-LD/Helena and KTMF/Missoula) for $18 million.[5][6] The sale was completed on November 29.[7]

News operation[edit]

In 2009, KULR began broadcasting its local newscasts in widescreen standard definition. KULR became the first television in Montana to switch to full HD news operation during its 5 p.m. newscast on Sunday, August 27, 2012. Studio cameras are currently still in 16:9 standard definition, however.

For a little more than a year after HD newscasts began, the station adopted the Look F presentation package, and adopted the "L.A. Groove" music package in use at WNBC, KNBC, and KNTV, along with other NBC O&O's with some modifications. Since KULR's purchase by Cowles Publishing Company, the station is using the same presentation and music package as KHQ in Spokane.

Former on-air staff[edit]


External links[edit]