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Channel, newscast changes underway for Duluth NBC, CBS affiliates

The past few weeks have brought a new look and new faces to newscasts on Duluth's KBJR-TV, and a new broadcast channel for CBS programming in the Northland.

The changes will continue Wednesday with the debut of new local newscasts on CBS, which over-the-air viewers can now find on Channel 6.2 (it remains on Channel 3 for cable subscribers, and is branded "CBS 3").

The changes stem from a shift in ownership late last year for both NBC affiliate KBJR (Channel 6) and former CBS affiliate KDLH (Channel 3). Illinois-based Quincy Newspapers Inc. acquired KBJR from Granite Broadcasting Corp., and Georgia-based SagamoreHill Broadcasting purchased KDLH from Malara Broadcasting.

The new owners agreed to move CBS programming from Channel 3 to a digital subchannel of KBJR — 6.2. That change took effect on Monday, along with My 9 programming moving to 6.3.

Under the previous owners, KBJR had coordinated KDLH's news coverage since 2005. Until recently, KDLH and KBJR mostly alternated local evening newscasts — at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. on KBJR, and 5:30, 6:30 and 10 p.m. on KDLH.

But with the change in ownership and channels comes a change in newscasts, too. For the first time in years, the NBC and CBS affiliates now will air competing live newscasts at 6 and 10 p.m. — the new CBS 3 newscasts debut Wednesday. Starting Thursday morning, CBS 3 also is adding a newscast from 5 to 7 a.m.

"Quincy felt the CBS affiliate is valuable with the programming and the possibility for a newscast with a separate voice as an important thing for the community," said Dave Jensch, KBJR's vice president and station manager. "The community will be served by stations that are more independent of each other and might have a different take on stories and content."

The KBJR and CBS 3 newscasts will have their own separate anchor and production teams, but share a pool of reporters and photographers. Quincy has invested millions of dollars, according to Jensch, to build two new sets and control rooms for the separate newscasts.

Florida-based FX Design Group began working on the two new sets — complete with robotic cameras and new floors — in January, which meant vacating parts of the building, adding extra desk space and creating temporary sets.

"There's been a dumpster on the lawn since February," Jensch said. "We fill it once a week with sheetrock. This place has been just a mess. We had boxes stacked to the ceiling, full of new electronics."

Twelve journalists were added, including new anchors, reporters, photographers and producers. Among the new hires: The CBS 3 morning team of Kristen Vake, Colin Oraskovich and Briggs LeSavage.

The CBS 3 evening newscast team will be a mix of new and familiar faces: news anchors Edward Moody and Tara Terregino, meteorologist Dave Anderson and sports anchor Barrett Anderson. Anderson also will do play-by-play for University of Minnesota Duluth football on My9.

Among other hires, Dan Wolfe is a new anchor for KBJR and Brandon Michaels has been hired as a weekend meteorologist.

Quincy, based in Quincy, Ill., has a strong presence in Wisconsin television markets and has owned KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn., since the mid-1970s. Quincy also acquired Granite or Malara-owned stations in Peoria, Ill., Binghamton, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind., last year.

SagamoreHill Broadcasting — named after the summer home of President Theodore Roosevelt on New York's Long Island — is privately owned and has stations several other markets including Rochester, where its KXLT-TV shares some services with Quincy's KTTC.

KBJR is Duluth's second — and oldest-surviving — TV station. It launched as WDSM-TV, a CBS affiliate, on March 1, 1954. KDLH followed shortly after, debuting as NBC affiliate KDAL-TV on March 14, 1954. The two stations swapped network affiliations in 1955.

Channel change

If they haven't already done so, over-the-air viewers may need to rescan the channels on their TV to account for the frequency changes.

For questions, contact KBJR at jwalters@kbjr.com or (218) 720-9635.