KELO-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, broadcasting on VHF digital channel 11. Branded as "KELOLand" since 1954, many South Dakotans pronounce its call letters as a homonym of "hello". The station's studios are located on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls, while its transmitter is located near Rowena, South Dakota.
Satellite stations and translators
KELO serves the largest viewing area of any station in the United States. It calls this vast area - which consists all of South Dakota as well as large parts of North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa - KELOLand. It covers this region with a network of three full-power satellites, known as the "KELOLand Television Network."
|Station||City of license||Channels||First air date||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|Digital: 3 (VHF)|
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
|September 24, 1955||3.7 kW||240.6 m||41975|
|Digital: 13 (VHF)|
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
|July 15, 1957||40 kW||317.8 m||41964|
|KCLO-TV1||Rapid City||Digital: 16 (UHF)|
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
|November 28, 19882||150 kW||154 m||41969|
- 1. KCLO-TV does not offer MyUTV on its digital signal.
- 2. Originally low-power K15AC from 1981-1988.
The three full-power stations air separate commercials.
The programming of KELO-TV is also rebroadcast on the following translator stations:
- K24DT (Channel 24) Aberdeen (repeats KDLO)
A unique feature of KELO's coverage area is that it covers two time zones -- Central and Mountain. This means that viewers of Rapid City's KCLO watch CBS's prime-time schedule from 6:00 to 9:00 pm (instead of 7:00 to 10:00 pm), with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 9:35 pm MT. KCLO, because it is in a separate market, also gets certain shows fed to it specifically. For instance, it airs a different block of syndicated afternoon programming than what airs on the rest of the group. Additionally, KELO cannot air myUTV or other products aired by Rapid City stations on KCLO.
A late ice storm on April 6, 1997 caused the KXJB-TV mast to collapse. As a result, several cable systems in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota were unable to receive CBS programming. Some cable systems temporarily or permanently replaced KXJB with KDLO.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.1||1080i||16:9||KELO||Main KELO-TV programming / CBS|
KCLO's digital configuration has only Ion on channel 15.2; it cannot air UTV due to the presence of a MyNetworkTV subchannel on Rapid City NBC affiliate KNBN.
KELO-TV began broadcasting its digital signal on March 6, 2003, becoming the first full-powered digital signal in South Dakota. The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11, at 9:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. MT) on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 32 to VHF channel 11 for post-transition operations. KDLO was originally scheduled to shut down its analog signal and broadcast in digital only on February 17, 2009, while KELO, KPLO and KCLO's broadcasts would become digital-only effective June 12, 2009; however, the FCC rejected Young Broadcasting's petition for early termination of analog broadcasts on KDLO-TV.
MyUTV is carried on digital subchannels of KELO, KDLO, and KPLO (digital subchannels 13.2, 3.2 and 6.2, respectively). It is currently affiliated with the MyNetworkTV programming service, and also carries the regional weather channel "KELO Weather Now" (which is seen 24 hours a day on KCLO digital subchannel 15.2), primarily during the overnight hours; it is carried on cable channel 10 in most areas. It was formerly a UPN affiliate, branded simply as "UTV", when it launched in 2004 until it affiliated with MyNetworkTV in September 2006.
MyUTV is not seen in the Rapid City market on KCLO. The UPN affiliate there was KCPL-LP (channel 52), and the MyNetworkTV affiliate for Rapid City is KNBN (channel 21.3; formerly KKRA-LP, channel 24); as a result, MyUTV still can not be carried on KCLO by FCC market rules. The CW's programming in South Dakota is represented by stations unrelated to KELO -- KSFY-TV (channel 13) in Sioux Falls and KWBH-LP (channel 27) in Rapid City.
KELO signed on air on May 19, 1953 as South Dakota's first television station. It was owned by Midcontinent Media, a theater and broadcasting conglomerate, along with KELO radio (AM 1320 and 92.5 FM). It was a primary NBC affiliate, but it also carried programs from ABC, CBS and DuMont. After KSOO-TV (now KSFY-TV) signed on in 1960, KELO switched its primary affiliation to CBS and has remained with that network ever since. On September 23, 1968, KELO became South Dakota's first television station to broadcast its programming in color.
Shortly after KELO signed on, the Federal Communications Commission collapsed eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and northwest Iowa into one giant television market. Later in the 1950s, Midcontinent began signing on satellite stations of KELO to serve its vast coverage area. KDLO in Florence was the first of the satellite stations to go on the air on September 27, 1955; followed by KPLO, licensed to Reliance and serving South Dakota's state capitol of Pierre on July 15, 1957.
KELO expanded to western South Dakota in 1981, when it signed on K15AC (channel 15), a translator of KPLO-TV, to serve Rapid City. On November 28, 1988, it was upgraded to a full-powered semi-satellite as KCLO. Rapid City had been one of the few areas of the country without full service from the three major networks.
KELO was home to Captain 11, a popular children's show in the area, from 1955 until 1996. Captain 11 was Dave Dedrick, the station's longtime weatherman. He had been a popular radio personality before KELO went on air.
Channel 11 originally broadcast from a 575-foot (175 m) tower near Shindler, South Dakota. On September 20, 1955, it was destroyed in a severe windstorm--believed to be a tornado. Station engineers had the station back on the air in 48 hours--just in time for the World Series.  In 1956, the station erected a 1,032-foot (315 m) tower on the same site, expanding its coverage area to most of eastern South Dakota. In 1967, KELO moved to a new 2,032-foot (619 m) tower near Rowena, shared with KSFY. The Shindler tower is still used as a backup.
On June 24, 1968; a North Central airliner clipped a guy wire on the year-old Rowena tower, bringing it down. Luckily, the plane landed safely with no injuries. KELO engineers had the station back on the air in three days from the old tower in Shindler. The Rowena tower was quickly rebuilt.
On January 11, 1975, the KELO tower was destroyed by a powerful winter storm. Within hours, the station was back on the air from the old tower in Shindler. The tower was again rebuilt at Rowena and became operational on December 19, 1975. The Rowena site is sometimes called the "Bermuda Triangle" of tower sites due to the numerous collapses.
In the years that followed, KDLO's tower collapsed and KELO lost other microwave and translator sites to storms and other reasons. KPLO's tower collapsed on January 22, 2010 in a severe ice storm. It returned to the air on March 19, 2010. For a time, however, it operated at low power, leaving Pierre without an over-the-air signal. The FCC subsequently issued a construction permit for a low-powered fill-in translator on channel 29 in Pierre.
On November 25, 1986, KELO began broadcasting its programming in stereo. In 1995, Midcontinent Media sold KELO to Young Broadcasting; the sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on May 31, 1996. The station celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 19, 2003.
On June 6, 2013, Young Broadcasting announced that it would merge with Media General. The merger was approved on November 8, after Media General shareholders approved the merger a day earlier; it was completed on November 12.
Sale to Nexstar
On January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, including KELO. This deal will bring KELO-TV under common ownership with ABC affiliate KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.
Currently, KELO-TV broadcasts a total of 26½ hours of local newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and two hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), carrying the most hours of local news out of any station in South Dakota; the station is presently the only station in South Dakota carrying newscasts on weekend mornings. KELO's newscasts have used Gari Communications' The CBS Enforcer Music Collection as its news music package since 1997. Throughout its history, KELO-TV has won ten Regional Emmy Awards; along with a National Emmy win in 1999 for public service announcement for the Tradition of Caring, and two 2008 wins for "Best Mid-Size Market Newscast" for the station's weekday morning newscast KELOLand This Morning and a feature story titled "Dominic's Wish".
On July 11, 1988, KELO began using a satellite uplink truck to allow live remotes of news stories. Four years later on January 21, 1991, KELO began closed captioning its local newscasts for the first time. On October 18, 2011, beginning with its 5:00 pm newscast, KELO-TV became the second television station in South Dakota to broadcast its local newscasts in high definition (ABC affiliate KSFY-TV began producing its newscasts in HD in August of that year), all in-studio and field segments are broadcast in the 1080i HD picture format; the station introduced a new set for its newscasts, updated its editing and control room equipment, and anchors began using iPads instead of paper scripts.
KELO currently features four on-camera meteorologists on its staff, of which two (including chief meteorologist Dr. Jay Trobec) have earned the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society. KELO operates a network of automatic observation sites operated with the WeatherBug software (and known as WeatherNet on air) which are updated every three seconds. On November 24, 1992, the station began using SkyCam systems primarily for use in weather situations.
KELO operates a network of three doppler radars across South Dakota, and covering parts of North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa; KELO is the only station in each of the markets it served to operate such a large radar network. On September 8, 1997, KELO installed two live doppler weather radar units in Huron and Beresford, becoming the first station in the country to operate two doppler radars simultaneously; a third radar, located in Wall, was installed in 2001. In 2007, KELO upgraded the Huron radar to use dual polarization technology and quadrupled its power to 1 million watts, it also upgraded the computer systems at the Beresford and Wall radar systems. In addition, KELO rebranded its radar network as "KELOLand Live Doppler HD".
Notable former on-air staff
- Jim Burt - sports anchor (1953–1987)
- Steve Hemmingsen - anchor
- Doug Lund - anchor; current voice over announcer