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Channel 8, Albion, NE

City of License: Albion, NE

First Air Date: December 3, 1964

Operating Power: 316 kw visual & 25.1 kw (later 63.2 kw) aural

Original Call Letters: KHQL TV

General Manager: F. Wayne Brewster, President

Issued To: Bi-States Company

Through the Years

  • 1964

    December 3, 1964.  KHQL TV signs on.  The four Bi-States stations (KHPL, KHOL, KHTL and now KHQL) begin branding as NTV, the Nebraska Television Network.

    Station is programmed as a semi-satellite of KHOL-TV.  Studio:  location south of Kearney near Axtell.  Transmitter:  1,143 feet about 7 miles East of Albion, just south of State Highway 91.   Owner:  Bi-States Co. (F. Wayne Brewster 61.1%, C.E. Freas Jr. 13.9%, Willard F. Anderson 11.1%, Donald E Brewster 11.1% and William S. Bivens 2.8%).   President and General Manager:  F. Wayne Brewster.  Station Manager:  Robert Newkirk.

  • 1974

    June 3, 1974-  Bi-States sells the stations for $1.9 million to NTV Enterprises (John W. Payne 10% share and Alan W. Oldfather 17% share and are President and Treasurer, respectively.)  KHQL calls are changed to KNCA TV (for the largest towns in its service area, Norfolk, Columbus and Albion.)

  • 1979

    Joseph Amaturo buys the NTV stations in an $8.5 million deal funded by the sale of his KQTV in St. Joseph, MO.  Besides KONA-TV, Albion, the NTV Enterprises Inc. stations include KHGI-TV Kearney (of which KCNA is a satellite station), KWNB- TV Hayes Center and KSNB-TV, Superior.

  • 1983

    November 1, 1983-  Amaturo splits KCNA off from NTV to become “Nebraska’s first independent television station” according to Frank Brosseau, President of television for the Amaturo Group.  Calls are changed to KBGT-TV, and branded as “Big 8.”

    Plans call for 24/7 operation.  Brosseau says the station has acquired rights to more than 2,500 movies and will show an average of 35 a week.  Hit series of the past and present will be offered, he said, along with four 30-minute newscasts daily.  CNN Headline News and both national and regional sports events, including those produced and distributed by Katz Sports.   The November 1 target date was missed when construction problems caused delays in constructing the Genoa tower before the project shut down for the winter.

  • 1984

    June 16, 1984-   Big 8 began as the first independent station in Nebraska and with a 24-hour program schedule.  Genoa transmitter site:  315 kw visual, 31.5 kw aural at 1,973 feet.

    (The delayed tower construction process gave rise to a lawsuit filed by NTV in July, 1984 against the contractor, seeking $1.4 million over what were described as substantial financial losses.)

  • 1985

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

  • 1986

    May, 1986-  The station’s decision to briefly air unedited films (tested for one week with three films), including nudity and strong language led to boycotts and the loss of half of its local and national advertisers.   Also, the depressed regional farm economy further weighed on the business.
    July,1986-  Amaturo sells KBGT-TV to Citadel Communications ( Philip J. Lombardo, President) for $3 million.  The sales contract excluded KBGT’s syndicated programming and film inventories.  Amaturo later stated that, over the life of channel 8, the venture lost nearly $5 million.

    November, 1986-  The FCC approved the sale, earlier than expected, and Citadel announced its plan for the statin to rebroadcast KCAU-TV, its ABC affiliate in Sioux City, IA.  This restored ABC service to some households in and around Albion that were not covered by KCAU-TV itself, KETV in Omaha, or NTV.  It also led to the station being removed from cable systems from Lincoln to Kearney.

  • 1987

    Calls are changed to KCAN.  This designation also represented Columbus, Albion and Norfolk, in addition tying the station more closely to KCAU-TV.

  • 1991

    Citadel files to move KCAN from Albion to Lincoln, proposing to build a satellite station on channel 18 to serve the Albion area in order to meet the FCC requirement to replace loss of service.  Citadel contends that Lincoln is the most underserved state capitals for television service.  The move was formally protested by KOLN as well as KPTM, the Fox affiliate in Omaha.   KOLN’s rebuttal cited concerns about signal overlap and loss of service in Albion, while KPTM objected on technical grounds.

    (That Lincoln was underserved by commercial television was mostly due to historical quirk.  While Lincoln had been allocated two VHF channels and briefly had two commercial stations, that number become one when KOLN, originally on Channel 12, bought the assets and physical plant of KFOR-TV and moved to its channel 10 in 1954.  Channel 12 was then donated by Fetzer Broadcasting (John Fetzer) to the University of Nebraska and became KUON-TV.  Besides KOLN, Lincoln viewers generally watched the Omaha network affiliates, including ABC affiliate KETV, which was cited as the most direct competition for a relocated KCAN.)

  • 1993

    FCC gives initial approval to KCAN’s city of license change.  Final approval is delayed because when the FCC assigned UHF channel 18 to Albion in place of channel 8, Fant Broadcasting–owners of NTV at the time–and Citadel both applied for it, with Citadel instead receiving channel 24, which was also added to Albion by the Commission.  Citadel then protested a proposed sale of NTV to Blackstar Communications in 1995, feeling that Fant had attempted to block its own Lincoln proposal.   Company president Anthony Fant denied this, noting that his main goal for seeking the Albion channel was to restore the coverage lost a decade prior and “try to put that part of the NTV puzzle back together.”

  • 1995

    June, 1995-  FCC’s final approved for KLKN’s move to Lincoln is awarded.  Construction immediately begins for a new transmitter site in Utica along with work to secure studio space in downtown Lincoln.  Call letters are changed to KLKN.  (The Albion replacement facility on channel 24 received the call letters KLKE as it was located new Elgin, NE.)

  • 1996

    April 1, 1996-  KLKN began broadcasting, however the transmitter site was not yet completed, viewable then only to cable subscribers on the Lincoln Cablevision system.

    May 20, 1996-  The transmitter facility is finally activated.   The Utica tower is 1,424 feet, located about 6 miles east of town and about 30 miles west of Lincoln.

    The delay was due to discovery that a 10-foot section of the tower intended to be installed at the 190-foot level, was skipped when the tower had already been built up to 620 feet.

  • 1997

    Roger Moody joins KLKN as General Sales Manager, coming from KPTM in Omaha.  He is later promoted to General Manager of the station.

  • 2000

    KLKN’s newsroom staff is up to 21 with the station airing newscasts at 6 and 10 pm., plus additional early morning, evening and midday newscasts.  When it began in 1996, KLKN produced only the 6 and 10 pm. newscasts with a newsroom staff of 16.

  • 2002

    August 31, 2002-  KLKN’s digital signal signed on UHF channel 31 until the end of the station’s analog broadcasts on June 12, 2009.  It was the first digital television station in Nebraska.  After the digital transition, KLKN opted to continue broadcasting on VHF channel.  (KLKE was closed down by Citadel on March 2, 2002, with the company citing the high costs of digital television conversion for the Albion facility.)

  • 2019

    Citadel sells KLKN along with its Providence, RI station WLNE-TV to Standard Media for $83million, completed September 5.  Its leader, former Young Broadcasting and Media General executive Deb McDermott, had begun her career in Lincoln at KOLN-TV.

    Long time General Manager Roger Moody retires after a 45 year broadcasting career with the sale of the station KLKN.   Moody is later inducted to the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2018, and is honored with an NBA scholarship in his name.