First air date
|May 20, 1953|
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|taken from former sister station KELO radio|
|HAAT||610 m (2,001 ft)|
Public license information
KELO-TV (channel 11) is a television station in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States, affiliated with CBS and MyNetworkTV. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, and maintains studios on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls; its transmitter is located near Rowena, South Dakota. KELO-TV is broadcast by three high-power semi-satellites—KDLO-TV in Florence (channel 3, serving Watertown), KPLO-TV in Reliance (channel 6, serving Pierre), and KCLO-TV in Rapid City (channel 15). These transmitters and others, together branded as the KELOLAND Media Group, broadcast KELO programs to all of South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa, an area the station calls "KELOLAND".
In the Sioux Falls media market—including central and eastern South Dakota—KELO-TV has long been the dominant television station in ratings and local news coverage. It was the first in South Dakota, beginning broadcasting in May 1953, and was built by Midcontinent Broadcasting, owner of KELO (1320 AM); originally an affiliate of NBC, it switched to CBS in 1957. KDLO-TV and KPLO-TV were built in the mid-1950s, expanding the station's geographic reach, while an expansion to Rapid City took place in the early 1980s. Young Broadcasting acquired the KELO television stations in 1996. Mergers and acquisitions in the 2010s resulted in ownership passing from Young to Media General to Nexstar.
In May 1950, Midcontinent Broadcasting, owner of KELO (1320 AM), filed the first application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a television station in South Dakota. The application would not be considered for several years, as the FCC was in the midst of a four-year freeze on the grant of new TV station applications, but no opposition was received when the freeze was lifted in April 1952, and KELO-TV received a construction permit on November 20, 1952. Construction proceeded quickly, though a change in the antenna specified required a different type of tower than was originally specified. Renovations were made to the existing KELO radio studios at 8th Street and Phillips Avenue, which had been planned for future television use.
KELO-TV began broadcasting on May 20, 1953, after putting on a test pattern the day before; it was a primary affiliate of NBC, matching KELO radio, though it also carried programs from CBS, ABC, and DuMont. There were no television cameras or local studio programs because they were too expensive; it was two years before the station had its own cameras. Power was increased in 1954, extending service to many rural areas outside of Sioux Falls, and the station also became interconnected with network coaxial cable to make live broadcasts possible. Midcontinent partner Joe L. Floyd became nationally recognized for his advertising in trade publications, designed to help KELO radio and television court sponsors and their programs: the ads featured Floyd smoking a cigar with the tagline, "I'm Joe Floyd. I consider myself a helluva salesman." The ads were recognizable enough that mention of them was made in Broadcasting magazine's obituary upon his death in 1992.
Shortly after, in late 1954, Midcontinent began applying for additional full-power stations in eastern South Dakota as part of a strategy to increase the station's audience. In December 1954, it applied to build KDLO-TV at Florence to serve Watertown; that station began broadcasting on September 28, 1955. This occurred even though KELO-TV had lost its original tower in a storm and needed temporary facilities just to send its programs to Florence. KELO then filed in April 1956 to move channel 6 from Pierre to Reliance; fending off overtures from other stations in the area, the construction permit was approved in December 1956, and KPLO-TV began broadcasting on July 12, 1957. The addition of these facilities expanded the coverage area and vaulted Sioux Falls into the top 100 media markets in the United States, making the KELO stations highly profitable. KELO-TV and its satellites perfectly matched the flow of goods through South Dakota, which centered on Sioux Falls, boosting advertising revenues; this would not be the case when Midcontinent attempted to replicate the formula with WKOW-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, where Madison was not the state's primary merchandising hub.
These new transmitters brought growing audiences to KELO-TV's local programming. In 1955, Midcontinent sent Dave Dedrick to the other station it owned at the time, WMIN-TV in Minneapolis. That station, also on channel 11, had a Captain 11 children's show. Dedrick, who also served as a weatherman for KELO, shadowed the children's host in Minneapolis, then returned to Sioux Falls to start his own Captain 11. In Sioux Falls, the program ran for 41 years, enduring decades of changes in children's television and Dedrick's own struggles with alcoholism, before his retirement in December 1996, culminating a 52-year involvement with KELO radio and television. One local program was shared between two stations: The Big Bowl, a bowling program in which Sioux Falls contestants faced off against those from Sioux City, Iowa, produced by that city's KVTV/KCAU-TV.
KELO radio and television switched their primary affiliations to CBS beginning in September 1957, though they remained NBC primary affiliates through June 1958 and KELO-TV continued to provide programs from all networks. CBS had made a good offer at the same time that NBC denied Floyd an increase in network compensation fees for carrying its programming, fees that Floyd felt justified based on the station's performance. New studios were built at 13th and Phillips streets in 1959.
The station received competition when KSOO-TV (channel 13, now KSFY-TV) began in July 1960 as the new NBC affiliate. A full-time ABC affiliate was not broadcast in the region until 1967, when KCAU-TV in Sioux City switched from CBS. It did so in part because KELO-TV was building a 2,000 feet (610 m) broadcast tower at Rowena in collaboration with KSOO-TV. The Sioux City station advertised in the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, staking a claim to be the ABC affiliate for both Sioux City and Sioux Falls.[a] Local programs were telecast in color from KELO-TV for the first time in September 1968.
A guy wire on the KELO–KSOO tower at Rowena was clipped by a North Central Airlines airplane on June 24, 1968, and collapsed; the aircraft landed safely on one engine. KELO-TV reverted to its former site near Shindler, South Dakota, for 11 months while the Rowena tower was rebuilt; litigation promoted by Midcontinent against North Central Airlines related to damages from the reduced coverage area stretched into January 1975. That month, on January 11, the Rowena mast toppled again, this time in an ice storm; KSFY-TV, with no backup facility, found itself suddenly unable to air Super Bowl IX, and arrangements were made for KELO to telecast the contest. Again, KELO-TV broadcast from the Shindler tower until December, when the replacement was put into service. Ice storms have since felled other towers used by KELO-TV's satellites; KDLO-TV lost its tower in 1977 and again in December 2022, while KPLO-TV lost its tower on Medicine Butte in 2010 and did not broadcast for two months.
While Midcontinent had first received and surrendered a permit for a Rapid City TV station in 1954 and then obtained an option on a transmitter site in Rapid City in 1962, KELO-TV did not expand to western South Dakota until September 1981, when it launched KPLO-TV translator K15AC. This brought CBS programming back to the area; the last full-time CBS affiliate in that market had been KRSD-TV, which closed in February 1976. K15AC was upgraded to a full-power station as KCLO-TV in November 1988. KCLO-TV initially aired programming on an hour delay from KELO in order to timeshift it for the Mountain Time Zone, unlike the translator, but this practice was abandoned permanently in January 1991 amid the Gulf War.
On January 12, 1996, Midcontinent Media announced that it had sold KELO-TV and its satellites to Young Broadcasting for $50 million. Young assumed control on May 31, 1996; it laid off 13 employees, stating that KELO-TV was overstaffed for a station of its market size.[b] In 1999, the station was given the National Association of Broadcasters Friend in Need Television Award for outstanding service in the face of natural disasters after helping lead efforts to rebuild tornado-ravaged Spencer, South Dakota.
KELO-TV along with KDLO-TV and KPLO-TV started a second subchannel, UTV (renamed KELOXTRA in 2021), with the market's UPN affiliation on March 15, 2004. UPN programs had been seen in Sioux Falls on KCPO-LP (channel 26); while the change technically increased the coverage area of UPN programming, it made it a digital-only service as opposed to analog KCPO-LP. This limited the number of viewers who could tune in at the time, as not everyone had digital-capable TVs in 2004. UTV became the MyNetworkTV affiliate in Sioux Falls in 2006; The CW went to WB affiliate KWSD-TV, owned by Rapid Broadcasting. UTV is not broadcast in Rapid City; in that market, the MyNetworkTV affiliation went to Rapid-owned KKRA-LP when the network launched in 2006.
On June 6, 2013, Young Broadcasting announced that it would merge with Media General. The merger was approved by the FCC on November 8, after Media General shareholders approved the merger a day earlier; it was completed on November 12. Media General was in turn acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group in a sale announced in January 2016 and completed on January 17, 2017.
KELO-TV is the longstanding local news leader in the Sioux Falls market, with ratings that have often outdistanced KSFY and KDLT combined. When ruling on a merger of KSFY and KDLT, the FCC found that KELO had the majority of advertising revenue and substantial majority of news viewers in the market. It long saw itself as competing with the Argus Leader newspaper, not the other local stations.
The first local newscasts on KELO-TV—before the station had its own cameras—were produced with a method Floyd called "live film". The evening news was filmed in the afternoon, developed, and then played back at the transmitter site. A simulated phone call created an opening for a live announcer on site to insert the current weather information into the program. The news department expanded over time. In addition to its 6 and 10 p.m. evening newscasts, KELO added its first morning news, the half-hour Good Morning KELO-Land, in 1977. The Early News, the station's first 5 p.m. local newscast, debuted in 1982; it would be another 40 years before the station added a newscast at 4 p.m. in 2022. The station was the first in the market to present closed captioning in local newscasts in 1991, and it followed close behind KSFY-TV in obtaining a satellite newsgathering truck (in 1988) and in producing its local newscasts in high definition (in 2011).
KELO-TV also had considerable stability in news personalities. Steve Hemmingsen co-anchored the station's local news from 1975 to 2000, estimating he presented some 18,000 newscasts by the time of his retirement. For much of that time, he was teamed with Doug Lund, who served 32 years from 1974 to 2006. Jim Burt, who had begun sports play-by-play at KELO radio in 1948 and crossed over to television when channel 11 went on the air, was the last remaining original employee of channel 11 when he retired in 1987.
KELO began the deployment of regional Doppler weather radar units in 1997, with two sites in Huron and Beresford. A third radar at Wall was installed in 2001.
For KCLO-TV subchannels, see KCLO-TV § Subchannels.
The stations' signals are multiplexed:
|11.1||1080i||16:9||KELO||Main KELO-TV programming / CBS|
|11.2||UTV||KELOXTRA / MyNetworkTV|
|3.1||6.1||1080i||16:9||KDLO-TV||KPLO||Main programming / CBS|
|3.2||6.2||480i||UTV||KELOXTRA / MyNetworkTV|
KELO-TV began broadcasting its digital signal on March 6, 2003. This followed work at Rowena to prepare the tower to broadcast digital service for KELO-TV and KSFY-TV. KELO-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 32 to VHF channel 11 for post-transition operations. KDLO-TV and KPLO-TV did not provide digital service until the transition date.
KELO-TV rebroadcasts programming over three full-service television station licenses, which operate as semi-satellites; two of these licenses, KDLO-TV and KPLO-TV, each operate a separately licensed translator to extend their respective signals.
|Station||City of license||Facility ID||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter coordinates||First air date||Public license information|
|KCLO-TV[c]||Rapid City||15 (16)||41969||150 kW||154 m (505 ft)||November 28, 1988|
|KDLO-TV||Florence||3 (3)||41975||14.4 kW||513.3 m (1,684 ft)||September 24, 1955|
|KPLO-TV||Reliance||6 (13)||41964||46.9 kW||306.3 m (1,005 ft)||July 15, 1957|