KOLN, VHF channel 10, is a television station serving Lincoln, Nebraska. Owned by Gray Television, KOLN serves as the CBS affiliate for southeast and central Nebraska through a large network of translator stations. Among them are the full-power station KGIN channel 11, which serves the Grand Island/Hastings/Kearney portion of the market; KOLN and KGIN's on-air branding of 10/11 represents these two full-powered signals. Combined, KOLN/KGIN serve one of the largest coverage areas in the United States, stretching across 42 counties in southern and central Nebraska—almost two-thirds of the state's land mass—and an additional four counties in Kansas.
KOLN/KGIN's sister stations include KSNB-TV; acquired by Gray in 2013 and simulcast on a digital subchannel of KOLN/KGIN, the station broadcast MyNetworkTV and MeTV programming, along with central Nebraska-specific newscasts. Following Gray's acquisition of Hastings' NBC affiliate KHAS-TV, the station was shut down and its programming (along with separately-produced newscasts out of Hastings) was moved to KSNB's primary channel, which became the primary NBC affiliate for this vast market. Since KSNB's signal is spotty in Lincoln itself, its signal moved to KOLN and KGIN's second subchannel, while MyNetworkTV and MeTV programming moved to KOLN and KGIN's third subchannel.
KOLN-TV signed on for the first time on February 18, 1953, on channel 12 as Nebraska's third television station and the first outside Omaha. It was owned by Cornhusker Radio and Television Corporation along with KOLN radio (1400 AM; now KLIN). Shortly after launching, it was purchased by broadcasting pioneer John Fetzer. Fetzer also purchased Lincoln's other TV station, KFOR-TV, channel 10, which had launched a few months after KOLN. (This station is not related to the Oklahoma City TV station of the same name.) In 1954, to avoid running afoul of FCC ownership regulations (and to create a broadcast monopoly for himself in the Lincoln market), Fetzer moved KOLN to channel 10, then donated the channel 12 facilities and the KFOR license to the University of Nebraska for its educational station, KUON-TV.
The station was originally the DuMont Television Network affiliate for the Omaha/Lincoln market. Later in 1953, it became a primary ABC affiliate. However, after a year on the air, Fetzer persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to merge Lincoln with the Hastings/Kearney market in central Nebraska. Lincoln has long been the cultural center for central Nebraska, and Fetzer felt that Lincoln had more in common with this area than Omaha. He also wanted an affiliation with a stronger network. Although Fetzer had a very good relationship with CBS, there was little prospect of taking the CBS affiliation from Omaha's KMTV. During the 1960s, KOLN/KGIN frequently broadcast games of the Detroit Tigers, which Fetzer had bought in 1956.
Soon after the FCC made Lincoln the center of the new Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney market, KOLN became a primary CBS affiliate. Omaha wouldn't have a primary ABC affiliate again until KETV signed on in 1957. DuMont shut down in 1956, and KOLN dropped the remaining ABC shows from the schedule in 1957. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. Over the next few years, KOLN signed on translator after translator across its vast and mostly rural coverage area, cementing a dominance that continues to this day.
KGIN-TV debuted on October 1, 1961 as a satellite of KOLN; since then, the two stations have been known on-air as "10/11." Fetzer began selling off his stations in the 1980s. KOLN/KGIN was among the last to be sold, going to Gillett Communications in 1984. Gillett sold the pair to Busse Broadcasting in 1987 to make room for Gillett's acquisition of the Storer Broadcasting stations. Busse merged with current owner Gray Communications, now Gray Television, in 1998.
Until KLKN signed on in 1996, KOLN was the only commercial station in Lincoln, making it one of the largest cities in the country with only one full-power commercial station. However, KOLN had no need to air other networks' programming. Most of the Omaha stations provide at least secondary coverage of Lincoln, and all of them are available on cable.
Well into the 1980s, when nearly every other local television news broadcast began with the latest news, KOLN began its newscasts with the weather report as a service to its mostly rural audience. A. James Ebel, KOLN's general manager from 1954 to 1985, began this practice not long after he arrived, saying years later, "The first thing I learned when I arrived here in 1954 is that the weather is the No. 1 story in Nebraska."  Mel Mains served as KOLN's main news anchor for 34 years, from 1961 to 1995.
For a time in January 2009, the KOLN/KGIN website included a section about a Fox affiliate on its second digital subchannel (then used for MyNetworkTV, which was to have moved to a DT3 subcarrier). However, station officials later said there were no immediate plans to launch such a station, describing the page as part of an experimental project not meant for public consumption. At that time, Fox programming was seen on KSNB-TV (now a sister station to KOLN/KGIN) and KTVG-TV (channel 17). Although the station refused to rule out launching a digital Fox station in the future, this was rendered moot when then-CW affiliate KCWL-TV relaunched as Fox affiliate KFXL-TV.
The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / CBS|
|x.2||720p||KSNB-DT||Simulcast of KSNB-TV / NBC|
|x.3||480i||4:3||Simulcast of KSNB-DT2 "10/11 Central Nebraska" / MyNetworkTV / MeTV|
UPN was broadcast on a DT2 subchannel of KOLN and KGIN under the banner UPN Nebraska; the service switched to MyNetworkTV in September 2006 and was locally branded as "MyTV" until being renamed "10-11 Central Nebraska" after the acquisition of KSNB in 2013. It not only airs syndicated programs, MeTV programming, and the entire MyNetworkTV schedule, but also 10/11-produced programming like Pure Nebraska, Star City Buzz and Prepzone Weekly.
KOLN/KGIN also produces nightly newscasts, My News at 9, formerly Nebraska Central News & 10/11 Central Nebraska News, targeting all of the viewing area and featuring weather forecasts for both eastern (Lincoln) and central (Grand Island/Hastings/Kearney) Nebraska, which airs at 9 p.m. on KSNB's digital subcarrier and KOLN/KGIN's digital subcarrier. My News at 9 only airs on weekdays at 9 PM. It is produced and aired in high definition. In June 2014, the MyNetworkTV and MeTV programming was moved to a second subchannel of KSNB, with KSNB's main channel and the KOLN/KGIN subchannels now airing the programming previously seen on KHAS-TV; this includes NBC programming and KHAS-TV separate Hastings-based news operation, giving Lincoln its first-ever NBC affiliate. With the purchase of KNOP-TV, Gray merged KOLN/KGIN, KSNB and KNOP to form the Nebraska News & Weather Networks. All weather forecasts on the stations are now branded as the Nebraska Weather Network and feature the Nebraska Weather Network logo instead of a station logo in their visual graphics. The three stations can also cover each other's newscasts. Weather on weekends for KSNB is broadcast from their Lincoln studios in a second green screen facility since KOLN is also on air at the same time, and the same is done for KNOP during the weekday evening newscasts. Many news stories are shared between the stations. The result is that essentially for the first time, there is news from the majority of the coverage areas in almost every newscast.
KOLN aired its digital programming on channel 25, while KGIN aired digital programming on channel 32. Both stations shut down their analog signals at midnight on February 16, 2009, the day prior to the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were set to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later rescheduled for June 12, 2009):
- KOLN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 25 to VHF channel 10.
- KGIN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 32 to VHF channel 11.
KOLN/KGIN is one of the only television stations in the United States with a husband/wife anchor team, Jon Vanderford and Taryn Vanderford, who serve as anchors for the station's 4 p.m. newscast and host Pure Nebraska, a rural lifestyle show airing weekdays at 9 a.m. On September 15, 2007, KOLN/KGIN became the first and only station in the Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney TV Market to broadcast weekend morning newscasts from 7-8 a.m. (The time was later changed to 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. to accommodate Pure Nebraska's weekend show on Sundays at 7:30 a.m.) Their weekend morning newscasts compete with those broadcast on Omaha television stations WOWT and KETV.
On June 15, 2009, KOLN/KGIN became the first commercial station in Nebraska to broadcast local news in a widescreen format. Then on August 10, 2009, KOLN/KGIN took it one step further to become the first station in Nebraska to launch local news in high definition. With the change came new graphics and a new website . On September 13, 2010, KOLN/KGIN debuted the market's first 4 p.m. newscast with 10/11 First at Four, the newscast air on Time Warner Cable channels 11 and 1011 in Lincoln, and is streamed live on , and now on KOLN and KGIN.
Notable former on-air staff
- Leta Powell Drake - morning show host/portrayed Kalamity Kate for KOLN-TV's Cartoon Corral*88
- Tom Burse - Meteorologist 1981-82. Later meteorologist or Chief Meteorologist in Cincinnati, Miami and CBS Chicago.
- Vinita Nair - morning show host (early 2000's; now co-host of CBS This Morning: Saturday)
Syndicated programs that air or have aired on KOLN/KGIN include Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Oprah, Live With Kelly (as far back as the Regis and Kathie Lee era), Inside Edition and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
KOLN/KGIN serves its large coverage area with eight translators. Repeaters in bold are owned by Gray Television; all others are owned by local municipalities or organizations. All owned-and-operated repeaters broadcast a multiplexed digital signal including high-definition programming. The remainder broadcast an analog signal.
The repeater in North Platte, KNPL-LD, was formerly a straight translator of KOLN/KGIN. On September 3, 2013, KNPL was re-launched as a semi-satellite of the station, adding local newscasts specific to the North Platte market.