KXGN-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 5, is a dual CBS/NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Glendive, Montana, United States. Owned by Glendive Broadcasting Corporation, it is sister to radio stations KXGN (1400 AM) and KDZN (96.5 FM). The three stations share studios on South Douglas Street in downtown Glendive; KXGN-TV's transmitter is located at Makoshika State Park. The station also airs news and other programs from the Montana Television Network, a network of CBS affiliates in Montana.
|Branding||KXGN TV5 (general)|
Montana East News (local newscasts)
Montana's News Station (statewide newscasts)
KULR 8 News (DT2 newscasts)
|Slogan||The Choice Cut of Two States|
|Channels||Digital: 5 (VHF)|
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||5.1: CBS (through MTN)|
|Owner||Marks Radio Group|
(Glendive Broadcasting Corp.)
|First air date||November 1, 1957|
|Call letters' meaning||KX5 GleNdive|
|Sister station(s)||KXGN, KDZN|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
5 (VHF, 1957–2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (secondary, to 2009)|
ABC, Fox, UPN
(all as part of a mix with CBS and NBC)
The Sportsman Channel (secondary, to 2009)
|Transmitter power||1 kW|
|Height||152.4 m (500 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||47°2′39″N 104°40′54.4″W|
|Public license information||Profile|
The Glendive area is a primarily agricultural region in eastern Montana, which is the smallest of the 210 Nielsen-designated broadcast television market areas in the United States. KXGN-TV serves a total potential home-market audience of a mere 5,000 households in Dawson and Prairie counties in eastern Montana, as well as some rural areas in western North Dakota. The market is also the smallest in North America; Canada's smallest market, Kenora, Ontario (with CJBN-TV as its only local broadcaster), has about 5,800 households.
KXGN-TV was founded by Lewis Moore, who sold it and KXGN radio to Stephan Marks in 1990. Marks added KDZN in 1995. KXGN celebrated its 50th year on the air in November 2007.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming|
|5.1||1080i||16:9||KXGN-HD||Main KXGN-TV programming / CBS|
|5.2||480i||4:3||KXGN-SD||KXGN-DT2 / NBC|
KXGN was allocated ATSC TV channel 10 by the FCC in September 2004 after receiving multiple extensions of the original May 1, 2002, deadline to go digital due to financial hardship. In fall 2008, it received FCC permission to place its final post-transition digital signal on its existing channel, VHF 5, reducing the cost of its digital transition by an estimated $100,000 by not simulcasting digitally on another channel during transition.
Initial obstacles to small-market digital transition included the high costs involved and the small number of digital TV sets in use in the local area. The latter was magnified by the limited number of households which would be able to receive the digital signal over-the-air. Much of this market can only receive KXGN via a repeater over the air, and cable television is all but essential for an acceptable signal. Costs of installing a new hilltop digital transmitter in Makoshika plus new digital-capable microwave equipment, while undisclosed by KXGN, were estimated to be in the upper six-figure range.
KXGN-TV's digital broadcast equipment was scheduled to be delivered just before the original February 17, 2009, shutdown of analogue broadcasting; as of February 15, the equipment had yet to arrive. Once the national shut-off date had been extended, a clearly unready KXGN opted to take advantage of the new transition date, June 12, 2009. KXGN's digital conversion was completed in June 2009 with relatively minimal disruption.
The exemption of LPTV operations from the 2009 DTV transition requirement left KXGN as an analog signal for viewers of numbered repeater stations long after the main signal became entirely digital. Individual KXGN broadcast translator sites, however, needed to update their equipment to convert the new digital signal back to analogue for rebroadcast; the readiness of these facilities and the availability of the KXGN-DT 5 signal over the air at the individual repeater sites was largely unknown until the transition's completion. However, the station's low-power translators were required to convert to digital by September 1, 2015, as part of the Digital TV transition for low-powered television stations. While the added capacity available on a digital signal allows the station to dedicate a digital subchannel to full NBC programming (as is currently the case) or even (through Miles Community College) to obtain Montana PBS feeds, translator viewers retain their existing analog coverage and do not currently receive any extra channels.
KXGN was also (albeit indirectly) listed as one of the charter affiliates of the .2 Network, which was originally slated to have begun broadcasting sometime in 2008; it never signed on.
In addition to its primary programming, KXGN operates an NBC affiliate on its second digital subchannel; until September 2009, its primary feed carried NBC on a secondary basis in addition to CBS. KXGN was the last "Big 3" station in the US to air more than one network's programming on a single feed. In the past, KXGN also carried some ABC and Fox programming; the station also carried UPN during the overnight hours until UPN closed on September 15, 2006 to combine with The WB to form The CW network (currently CW programming is seen on cable-only channel CW Glendive, formerly "KWZB").
KXGN also offered programming from The Sportsman Channel during the late-night hours on weekends, until that channel restricted availability to cable and satellite systems.
KXGN-TV clears the entire CBS schedule. However, KXGN-TV airs CBS's prime-time lineup from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; some other CBS programs, particularly daytime programming, are also aired one hour ahead of normal. Until September 2009, KXGN would air NBC programming that was either airing at 9:00 p.m. or recorded earlier that evening. While the station also carried all of NBC's soap operas (Days of Our Lives and, until September 2007, Passions), in later years in addition to CBS', NBC's other programs did not air on KXGN. It opted to show CBS programming or local shows instead.
Even after dropping NBC from its primary subchannel, KXGN has retained the 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. CBS prime-time block intact, opting to show syndicated programming at 9:00 p.m., including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on weeknights.
Like KXGN-TV, KXGN-DT2 clears the entire NBC schedule. In contrast to KXGN-TV, KXGN-DT2 generally clears NBC programming in their normal time periods. Syndicated programming on KXGN-DT2 include The Dr. Oz Show, Right This Minute, Entertainment Tonight, and The People's Court; it also shares Millionaire with KXGN-TV.
A full-time NBC affiliate, KUMV-TV from Williston, North Dakota, was and still is available on cable. Until 2013, KUMV operated a local 2630-watt repeater in Glendive, K13PL channel 13; due to KXGN's NBC-affiliated subchannel and its prior secondary affiliation, this was one of very few situations where a commercial network had, in effect, two different affiliates in the same city.
KXGN aired a daily evening local newscast called Montana East News until 2015. Former longtime personality Ed Agre was once profiled by Sports Illustrated for his duties in this capacity. "Dapper" Dan Frenzel, KXGN's weekend TV weatherman and radio DJ since April 1964, served as vice president and general manager of the station from 1988 until his death (due to a heart condition) in 2003. In the later years of the newscast's operation, Emilie Boyles served as the station's sole reporter and editor. By that time, the newscast consisted of a five-minute segment airing at 9:55 p.m. and 7:25 a.m., the following day, on KXGN's CBS subchannel and 4:55 p.m. on KXGN's NBC subchannel. The local newscast was cancelled in 2015; since then, the only local production on KXGN has been Let's Talk About It, a half-hour public affairs program that airs on Sundays on both of KXGN's subchannels.
KXGN's CBS subchannel simulcasts most newscasts from Billings' KTVQ, with the exception of its morning newscast, as an affiliate of the Montana Television Network. CBS Morning News and CBS This Morning are the only morning newscasts on KXGN's CBS subchannel. Likewise, KXGN's NBC subchannel simulcasts newscasts from another Billings station, KULR-TV; unlike the CBS subchannel, this arrangement includes the second hour of KULR's morning newscast, Wake Up Montana.
Like many other Montana stations, KXGN relies heavily on a mix of broadcast translators and cable TV systems to extend its reach to more viewers.
- Baker: K27LT-D
- Circle: K14AG, K18CR
- Culbertson: K34GY-D
- Ekalaka: K13LN-D
- Plentywood: K28OB-D
- Plevna: K34DP-D
- Poplar: K05KK-D, K50GU-D
- Sidney: K13IG-D
K13IG-D is the only translator owned by KXGN—all others are either owned by local governments or television associations.
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