KQCD-TV, channel 7, is the NBC affiliate for Dickinson, North Dakota. The station operates as a semi-satellite of KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota. This outlet broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 7 (or virtual channel 7.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter near South Heart. KQCD identifies itself as a station in its own right, but simulcasts all programming from KFYR. However, KQCD airs separate commercials and station identifications. The station maintains a news bureau and advertising sales office on 21st Street East in Dickinson. Much of KQCD's viewing area is within the Mountain time zone, and the station airs 6 p.m. starts to primetime rather than the usual 7 p.m. for the time zone. KQCD can also be seen on Consolidated Telcom cable channel 5 and Midcontinent cable channel 7 in Dickinson, and cable channel 7 in most other areas. There is a high definition feed provided on Consolidated Telcom digital channel 305 and Midcontinent digital channel 607.

Syndicated programming on KQCD include Access Hollywood, The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, The Insider, Jeopardy!, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Wheel of Fortune and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, among others.

Although operated as a separate station in its own right, KQCD is actually considered a semi-satellite of KFYR-TV in Bismarck, which serves as the flagship of the four station NBC North Dakota network. It clears all network and syndicated programming as provided through its parent but airs separate station identifications and commercial inserts. KQCD serves the southwestern portion of the Bismarck/Minot market. The four station along with sister NBC affiliate KVLY-TV in Fargo often share news stories. Master control and some internal operations of KQCD are based at KFYR's facilities in Bismarck. The four stations are counted as a single unit for ratings purposes.

The Fox-affiliated subchannels can also be seen on cable channel 4 in most areas. There is a high definition feed provided on Midcontinent digital channel 604 and Consolidated digital channel 304 in Dickinson. The cable channels previously carried KNDX until their programming moved to the NBC North Dakota network's subchannels.

History

KQCD-TV debuted on January 25, 1980. It was the last station in what was then known as the Meyer Television Network to sign on, and has always been a semi-satellite of KFYR-TV. Before 1980, NBC had been limited to off-hours clearances on KDIX-TV (channel 2, now KXMA-TV).

Longtime owner Marietta Meyer Ekberg sold her broadcast holdings in 1997, with the television stations going to Sunrise Television Corporation. Sunrise sold them to The Wicks Group of Companies of New York City.

Hoak Media bought KFYR and its satellites in July 2006, as well as KVLY-TV in Fargo and KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls and its satellite stations. On November 17, 2006, the sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

KQCD picked up MeTV in April 2013, with an official launch date of May 1, 2013.[2]

On November 20, 2013, Gray Television announced it would purchase Hoak Media in a $335 million deal. Gray initially planned, through Excalibur Broadcasting, to also acquire Fox affiliate KNDX/KXND for $7.5 million and operate them under a local marketing agreement.[3] On March 25, 2014, Prime Cities Broadcasting, owner of KNDX/KXND, requested that the FCC dismiss the sale of that station to Excalibur.[4] This came as a result of increased scrutiny of LMAs by the FCC. Gray would instead acquire the stations' non-license assets,[5] and, upon the closure of the Hoak purchases on June 13, 2014, shut down KNDX/KXND and moved Fox programming to subchannels of KFYR and its satellites.[6]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[7]
7.11080i16:9KQCD-DTMain KQCD-TV programming / NBC
7.2720pKNDXFox[8]
7.3480i4:3MeTVMeTV

Analog-to-digital conversion

KQCD-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7, 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). The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to VHF channel 7 for post-transition operations.[9][10]

News operation

KQCD once aired partially separate weekday newscasts from KFYR-TV at 6 p.m. and 10 pm, much like KUMV does today. The first 10 minutes (which included regional news and weather) originated at KFYR, while the remaining 20 minutes were filled by KQCD's own news and sports anchors. All other newscasts originated from KFYR. In 2002, severe cutbacks resulted in KQCD simulcasting all of KFYR's newscasts. KQCD's news department was reduced to a single reporter, Cebe Schneider. In 2009, she was joined by Adam Powell as bureau chief. Powell and Schneider's stories aired on KFYR's regional newscasts. They were the only reporters based in southwestern North Dakota. However, they were fired in 2012 due to further cutbacks.

The stations occasionally share stories with co-owned KVLY. The five stations simulcast major North Dakota sporting events under the NBC North Dakota brand name and share certain equipment, such as remote broadcasting vehicles. On April 30, 2012, NBC North Dakota began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.[2]

The Fox-affiliated subchannel debuted "West Dakota Fox News at Nine" during October 2014, originating from KFYR's studios in Bismarck.

Translators

Gray also owns KNDX-LD (channel 38) in Dickinson; this station was acquired alongside the purchase of the non-license assets of KNDX and KXND[5] and thus simulcasts KQCD's Fox-affiliated second subchannel.