Radio-TV Broadcast History

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KOTA-TV, channel 3 (Digital channel 2, displayed as PSIP virtual channel 3), is an ABC television station affiliate based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The station is owned by the Duhamel family of Rapid City. Its current slogan is "Coverage You Can Count On." Its transmitter is located in Rapid City, while its studios are located in downtown Rapid City along with radio stations KOTA (AM), KQRQ, KZZI, KDDX and KZLK.

KOTA serves a large area in western South Dakota, eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle. It calls its vast coverage area "KOTA Territory."

Rapid City, South Dakota
Branding KOTA Territory (general)

KOTA Territory News (newscasts)

Slogan Coverage You Can Count On
Channels Digital: 2 (VHF)

Virtual: 3 (PSIP)

    1. .1 ABC
      ##.2 RTV
      ##.3 This TV
Translators (see below)
Affiliations American Broadcasting Company
Owner Duhamel Broadcasting
First air date July 1, 1955
Call letters' meaning South DaKOTA (pronounced as "kota")
Former channel number(s) Analog:

3 (VHF, 1955-2009)

Former affiliations Primary:

CBS (1955-1976) ABC/CBS (1965-1976) Secondary: ABC (1955-1965) NBC (1955-1958, 1976-1988)

Transmitter power 8 kW
Height 174 m
Facility ID 17688
Transmitter coordinates 44°4′7″N 103°15′3″W / 44.06861°N 103.25083°W / 44.06861; -103.25083

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KOTA debuted on the air on July 1, 1955 as the first television station in western South Dakota. It originally carried programming from all three networks, though it was a primary CBS affiliate. It was owned by local Rapid City businesswoman Helen Duhamel along with KOTA radio; her family still owns the station today.

When KRSD, the original channel 7 in Rapid City, signed on in 1958, it took the NBC affiliation, sharing ABC with KOTA.

In 1965, KOTA took on an unusual "joint primary" affiliation with CBS and ABC, slightly favoring CBS. It was certainly quite a struggle to fit as many network shows as possible onto the schedule, especially in the daytime, so KRSD had to take up some of the slack. But KRSD always had a painfully weak signal which, by 1966, had deteriorated to the point of unacceptability. KRSD finally gave up on December 31, 1971.

Fortunately for KOTA, the original Prime Time Access Rule had taken effect by this time, which made it easier for the station to clear shows from both CBS and ABC. From January 1972 until June 1976, KOTA had only PBS station KBHE as a competitor; NBC had to be piped in on cable from KOA-TV in Denver (now KCNC-TV).

The coverage of KOTA satellite KDUH in Scottsbluff clashed with the coverage of KSTF, a satellite of KYCU-TV in Cheyenne (now KGWN), especially with CBS programs. In February 1976, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded a channel 7 license to KEVN, in order to relieve KOTA of its heavy network load and to end the duplication problem in Scottsbluff. When KEVN opened on July 11, 1976, it took all CBS programming. KOTA and its satellites became primary ABC affiliates. As consolation, both stations added secondary NBC affiliations.

Then in November 1988, KELO-TV in Sioux Falls put a Rapid City satellite of its own on the air, KCLO, which took the CBS affiliation. KOTA then became a full-time ABC affiliate, leaving KEVN with NBC and, eventually, Fox.

In 2009, KOTA-TV and its satellite stations added the Retro Television Network and This TV on their digital subchannels.


KOTA's programming is also shown on a network of three satellite stations:

Station City of license Channels First air date ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
KDUH-TV Scottsbluff, Nebraska Digital: 7 (VHF)

Virtual: 4 (PSIP)

March 5, 1958 32 kW 475 m 17683 41°50′28″N 103°04′27″W / 41.84111°N 103.07417°W / 41.84111; -103.07417 (KDUH-TV)
KHSD-TV Lead, South Dakota Digital: 10 (VHF)

Virtual: 11 (PSIP)

November 2, 1966 34.8 kW 576 m 17686 44°19′36″N 103°50′12″W / 44.32667°N 103.83667°W / 44.32667; -103.83667 (KHSD-TV)
KSGW-TV Sheridan, Wyoming Digital: 13 (VHF)

Virtual: 12 (PSIP)

December 28, 1977 50 kW 372 m 17680 44°37′20″N 107°06′57″W / 44.62222°N 107.11583°W / 44.62222; -107.11583 (KSGW-TV)

KDUH produced its own newscasts for many years, but after recent cuts, KDUH newscasts are now produced and anchored by personnel at KOTA-TV in Rapid City and aired in Scottsbluff from there. Helene Duhamel and Shad Olson are now seen as local news personalities in the Scottsbluff market.

When KHSD was being launched, the Duhamels made a deal with KDIX-TV in Dickinson, North Dakota (now KXMA) to provide programming for that station, as KDIX would be able to pick up KHSD's signal. Consequently, KDIX was itself practically a satellite of KOTA from November 1966 until KEVN signed on nearly a decade later.

On-air staff[]

Current on-air staff[]


  • Helene Duhamel - weeknights at 5:30PM (also "Family Healthcast" reporter)
  • Alicia Garcia - weeknights at 10PM (also consumer reporter)
  • Makenzi Henderson - weekends at 10PM (also producer)
  • Cindy Davis - weekdays at noon (also producer)
  • Eric Gardner - weekday mornings


  • Jared Andersen - Wyoming reporter
  • Rachael Embler - general assignment reporter
  • Katy Urban - general assignment reporter

Weather team

  • Mike Modrick (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5:30 and 10PM
  • Eric Gardner (NWA Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings
  • Meredith Garofalo - Meteorologist; weekends at 10PM (also producer/general assignment reporter)
  • Dick Horkey - Meteorologist; fill-in

Sports team

  • Vic Quick - Sports Director; weeknights at 5:30 and 10PM (lover of cheese)
  • Chris Neyenhouse - Sports Anchor; weekends at 10PM (also general assignment reporter)

Former on-air staff[]

  • Shad Olson - weeknights at 5:30 and 10PM (also producer)[1]

News/station presentation[]

Newscast titles[]

  • KOTA Newservice (1973-1978)
  • Newswatch (1978-1981)
  • Newsline (1981-1984)
  • KOTA Territory News (1984-present)

Station slogans[]

  • You'll Love It on KOTA Territory (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Together on KOTA (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source (1990-2000)
  • Your Local News Leader (2000-2003)
  • Live. Local. (2003-2006)
  • Coverage You Can Count On (2006-present)

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External links[]