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By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


More over-the-air variety

Posted 3/17/15 (Tue)

Details remain somewhat sketchy, but it appears the Minot area will be getting another TV channel soon.

According to records filed with the FCC in Washington, D.C., a Mississippi company called Legacy Broadcasting LLC, has assumed ownership of the former FOX affiliate, KXND channel 24 with full intentions of returning to the air by mid June.

If you recall on June 13 of last year, KXND went dark but a day later returned to the air on channel 10.2, a subchannel of KMOT-TV in Minot.

Since signing off, apparent negotiations went on with a couple of other media groups, but in October, Legacy, which is owned by Sherry  Nelson and her daughter Sara Jane Ingram, bought channel 24 in Minot and channel 26 in Bismarck for an estimated $7 million.

According to the FCC, an agreement was made during negotiations that if channel 24 was to go back on air in Minot, it would have to be owned by a minority interest, which in this case, is Nelson and Ingram, since there are very few female TV station owners in the United States.

A February letter with the FCC indicates that Legacy told the FCC that equipment at the station wasn’t up to standard and updated equipment would be brought in and studios would be remodeled.

In that interim, Legacy requested that KNDM, as it is now called, remain silent, or stay off air until those changes can be made.

However, since KXND ceased its broadcasting on June 13, 2014, the station, even with new call letters, must go back on the air before June 13, or face having to apply for new licensing to broadcast.

If the station returns to the air before June 13, there will be no consequence from the FCC.

Since KXND abandoned a 700-foot transmitting tower southwest of Minot, it is the intention of Legacy to resume high power broadcasting when it goes back on the air, because again, according to the FCC, the new KNDM will have an effected radiated power of 50 Kilowatts, exactly the same power KXND had when it went dark last year.

The application for ownership indicates that Legacy plans to have “commercial digital television” catering to family friendly programming and community service.

And this is where the sketchy details come in.

There is no indication on whether or not KNDM will have a network affiliation.

In essence there is only one national network remaining that isn’t currently available in the Minot area and that’s the CW, an acronym that stands for CBS and Warner Bros.

The nation’s fifth-largest commercial network, It maintains approximately 200 affiliate stations in the U.S. including being a subchannel of WDAY in Fargo.

The network airs two hours of first-run programming in primetime and one hour in daytime on Monday through Fridays, as well as a five-hour children’s program block on Saturday mornings called One Magnificent Morning.

 Some CW affiliates air local newscasts, most of which are produced by another station in the market, very similar to the set up with NBC and FOX in the Minot area today.

There are a number of minor networks Legacy could consider, however, most of those usually cater to a specific audience.

There’s also independent television stations; those that broadcast without network oversight, but that is doubtful with KNDM because that would mean no co-op dollars from the network.

Sometimes TV stations change network affiliation which is also a possibility. Thirty-two years ago Fargo’s KTHI, became an NBC affiliate, while WDAY took over ABC broadcasting. KTHI later became KVLY.

And finally, there’s another possibility. Maybe FOX will return to its old broadcast tower and KMOT will drop it as a subchannel. In that case, Minot wouldn’t get an additional channel.

Regardless, in reading through numerous FCC documents about the sign-off of KXND’s broadcast and the new KNDM, it appears that Legacy wants its license to remain valid so it intends on getting channel 24 back on the air in advance of its one-year deadline of June 13.

Legacy couldn’t be reached for comment, but President Sherry Nelson said in a statment, “For our company, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.  It speaks so well of our industry that women like my daughter and me can break through the glass ceiling and build new programming services for television viewers.”