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Channel 6, Hayes Center (Kearney)

City of License: Hayes Center

First Air Date: February 9, 1956

Operating Power: 28.2 kW Visual 14.1 kW Aural

Original Call Letters: KHPL TV

General Manager: Jack Gilbert

Issued To: Bi-States Company

Through the Years

  • 1955

    In an effort to bring television serve to the the Platte and Republican River Valley of Southwest Nebraska, the “Southwestern Nebraska Television Committee,” a delegation of farmers in the area, approached KHOL TV Holdrege seeing the establishment of a satellite television station to relay programs from the station.  8,000 farmers raised $140,000 in two months and placed it in escrow.  KHOL then petitioned the FCC to allocate Channel 6 to Hayes Center, applied for it, and received approval in September, 1955.  The cost for the new station would be $185,000 including a three-hop microwave relay from Holdrege.  Population of the southwest corner of Nebraska was estimated at 100,000, giving KHOL-TV a total of half-million people.  KHOL-TV had been on the air less than two years at the time.

  • 1956

    February 9, 1956-  KHPL-TV signs on.  It was scheduled to begin regular programming January 30, but ice and snow forced postponement of final construction work.
    Licensee: Bi-States Company, 414 East Ave. Holdrege, NE.   Antenna north of Hayes Center at 583 feet.   The signal was later upgraded to 100 kW visual, 11.2 kW aural.  Jack Gilbert is the Manager of the station which was a satellite of KHOL-TV, Kearney, which  Jack Gilbert is also Manager.

  • 1974

    NTV Enterprises (John W. Payne, President with 10% share and Alan M. Oldfather, Treasurer with 16 1/2% share) acquire the NTV stations from Bi-States (F. Wayne Brewster, et al) for $1.9 milion.

    June 3, 1974-  The new owners change the call letters of all the stations:  KHOL became KHGI-TV and KHPL became KWNB.  The new call signs were chosen to reflect the areas served by each station: KHGI stands for “Kearney, Hastings, Grand Island’, while KWNB refers to that station’s service to western Nebraska.

  • 1979

    Joseph Amaturo buys the NTV stations in an $85 million deal.

  • 1985

    Amaturo Group sells KHGI-TV, KWNB-TV and KSNB-TV to Gordon Broadcasting for $10 million.

  • 1989

    Gordon Broadcasting planned to sell the NTV stations to Sterling Communications for $11 million.  However, the Sterling sale failed to close, and in May, ownership reverted to Joseph Amaturo under a court-appointed receivership. (The next month, Chicago-based Heller Financial sued Gordon Broadcasting.  Gordon had borrowed $7 million from Heller to purchase the stations and still owed the entire principal plus $1.6 million in interest on the loan.)

  • 1991

    Joseph Girard was appointed successor receiver.  During this time, NTV was put on the market; a bid by Pappas Telecasting in 1990 received court approval, but the company failed to obtain financing.  Television meteorologist John Coleman later sought to purchase the stations.

  • 1993

    Under Girard, who operated NTV through Girard Communications, KHGI-TV, KWNB-TV, and KSNB-TV wee sold to Fant Broadcasting, owner of WNAL-TV in Gadsden, Alabama for $2 million.  The Fant purchase took a year to come together because the receivership status required the company to buy NTV’s assets on an individual basis.

  • 1996

    In July 1996, Fant agreed to sell KHGI-TV, KWNB-TV and KSNB-TV to Pappas Telecasting Companies (Harry Pappas) for$12.75 million.  Pappas immediately assumed control of the the NTV stations through a local marketing agreement that began on July 1 and, that September, Switched KSNB, as well as the Lincoln and Beatrice translators, to rebroadcasting KTVG and Fox; KHGI and KWNB remained with ABC.

  • 1999

    The sales of KHGI and KWNB to Pappas and KSNB to Colins were approved by the FCC on February 17, 1999, and completed on May 24, 1999.

  • 2000

    June, 2000-  KWNB is granted a construction permit for its digital facility on Channel 18.

  • 2009

    February 17, 2009-  KHGI-TV and KWNB-TV shut down their analog signals, the original target date on which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts.   KWNB relocated its signal from it pre-transition frequency of UHF channel 18 going back to VHF channel 6.

    August, 2009-  Pappas Telecasting rebrands its chain of FOX affiliates in the Lincoln/Tri-Cities market as “KFXL, FOX Nebraska.”  The includes KHGI 13.2 and KWNB 6.2.

  • 2015

    August, 2015- the liquidating trust for Pappas announced that it was soliciting bids for a bankruptcy auction of the company’s central and western Nebraska stations-NTV (including KWNB and KFXL.)

    November, 2015- Of the four companies that participated in the auction, Sinclair Broadcast Group emerged as the winning bidder acquiring the stations for $31.25 million.

  • 2016

    May 1, 2016-  Sinclair’s purchase is completed.  KWNB-TV 6.1 is sold as part of a multi-station package.  The deal, reached at auction, also includes the “Nebraska TV” ABC affiliates including KHGI TV 13.1, KHGI-CD (North Platte), and translator stations in McCook and O’Neill. KFXL’s FOX programming is also relayed on KHGI/KWNB subchannels.  KWNB Transmitter-  11.9 kW, 541 feet, 13 miles north of Hayes Center along Nebraska Route 25.