KVRR, virtual channel 19 (UHF digital channel 15), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Fargo, North Dakota, United States. The station is owned by Red River Broadcasting. KVRR maintains studio facilities located at the intersection of South 40th Street and South 9th Avenue in Fargo, and its transmitter is located near Rollag, Minnesota. KVRR also handles master control and some internal operations for sister station and fellow Fox affiliate KQDS-TV in Duluth, Minnesota.
On cable, the station is also available in most of the market on channel 10 high definition, and on Midcontinent Communications digital channel 610 and Cable One digital channel 1010 in high definition.
The station's programming is simulcast on three full-power satellite stations: KJRR (VHF channel 7) in Jamestown, North Dakota, KBRR (VHF channel 10) in Thief River Falls, Minnesota (serving Grand Forks) and KNRR (VHF channel 12) in Pembina, North Dakota (also covers parts of southern Manitoba including Winnipeg.)
The station first signed on the air on February 14, 1983, under the callsign KVNJ-TV. It was the first independent station in the Dakotas, as well as the first new standalone full-power commercial station to sign on in the Fargo/Grand Forks market in 29 years. WDAZ-TV (channel 8) in Grand Forks had signed on in 1967, but is co-owned with Fargo's WDAY-TV (channel 6).
The station changed its call letters to KVRR in 1985; that year, KBRR signed on from Thief River Falls, Minnesota as a satellite station serving Grand Forks. Satellite station KNRR signed on from Pembina in 1986, with intentions to target Winnipeg and southern Manitoba. Shortly afterward, on October 6, 1986, the three-station network became a charter affiliate of the upstart Fox network. KJRR in Jamestown joined KVRR's regional network in 1988.
In December 1988, KVRR partnered with three other independent stations in Minnesota – KTMA (now CW affiliate WUCW) in Minneapolis, KXLI (now Ion Television owned-and-operated station KPXM) in St. Cloud and KXLT-TV (now a Fox affiliate) in Rochester – to create a new regional television network called the Minnesota Independent Network (MIN). Despite good intentions, the network never got off the ground.
The stations also carried programming from the United Paramount Network (UPN) on a tape delay from the network's debut on January 16, 1995 until its programming was dropped in 1998, due to the presence of Minneapolis UPN affiliate KMSP-TV on cable providers in most of KVRR's viewing area (when KMSP became a Fox owned-and-operated station in September 2002, KCPM in Grand Forks signed on as a full-time UPN station in 2003).
From the mid-1990s until March 2015, KVRR did not include any regional, channel, or call letter branding on-air outside of FCC-required station identifications, a rarity among American television stations. The four stations were collectively branded as "Your Fox Station" or officially, "Fox." The newscasts were branded as "Fox News." The station began phasing out the "Fox" branding in favor of simply branding by the KVRR call letters in March 2015. Station management stated that the rebrand was done in order to bring its branding in line with the Fargo market's other major network stations (NBC affiliate KVLY-TV (channel 11), ABC affiliate WDAY-TV (channel 6), Grand Forks's ABC affiliate WDAZ-TV (channel 8), and CBS affiliate KVLY-DT2 (which brands by its cable position as "KX4", formerly KXJB 4), which have long branded with their call letters) and to distinguish the station from Fox News Channel; KVRR was one of only a handful of Fox affiliates that omitted network references in their branding (alongside WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky - which branded as "Fox 41" from the 1990s until 2011, KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii – which had branded as "Fox 2" when from 1996 to 2003, and WSVN in Miami; KTVU in San Francisco similarly omits Fox references in its news branding, but brands as "KTVU Fox 2" for all other purposes). KVRR launched a website on September 15, 2011.
In the summer of 2015, Red River Broadcasting announced that Antenna TV will be carried on the digital subchannels of all of its owned TV stations and satellite stations on January 1, 2016, including KVRR (relayed on KBRR, KJRR, and KNRR), KQDS-TV in Duluth, and KDLT-TV in Sioux Falls (relayed on KDLV).
KNRR and the old KCND
KNRR (channel 12) operates on a channel frequency previously occupied by KCND-TV, a station formerly owned by Gordon McLendon. In September 1975, Izzy Asper acquired the station and relocated it to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, relaunching as CKND-TV on VHF channel 9 (that station presently operates as an owned-and-operated station of the Global Television Network). Ten years later, in 1986, channel 12 returned to the air, as KVRR satellite, KNRR.
The coverage area of KNRR's analog signal included Winnipeg, which has almost double the population of KVRR's entire primary service area in North Dakota and western Minnesota. However, the CRTC barred Winnipeg-area cable systems from carrying KNRR due to concerns that local advertisers would purchase time on KNRR rather than on television stations in the Winnipeg market. As a result, Shaw Cable systems in the Winnipeg area carry Rochester, New York affiliate WUHF as the Fox station available in the market, while MTS TV carries Fox's owned-and-operated station in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, KMSP-TV.
Even during the analog television era, when the northern fringe of KNRR's grade B signal contour encompassed Winnipeg, KNRR was all but impossible to receive in the River Heights and North End neighborhoods of the city, and was also subject to interference from hydro lines and telephone relay stations. Over time, KNRR's transmitter degraded and was not replaced, further reducing the signal quality.
KNRR shut down its signal on June 12, 2009, when the digital television transition took place. KNRR had not installed a digital transmitter, and its post-transition digital allotment on UHF channel 15 had already been reassigned to PBS member station KGFE as that station's post-transition allocation. Although it easily could have ceased operations permanently, the station's digital signal resumed operation in late October 2009, albeit operating at a very low power.
Although it can be received in several rural counties in North Dakota and Minnesota, the station's largest potential audience lies in the urban centers of southern Manitoba, including Altona, Morden and Winkler. Although Winnipeg is only 62 miles (100 km) from KNRR's transmitter, the station has only been receivable in the city via a rooftop antenna since the digital conversion.
All stations' digital signals are multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|Main programming / Fox|
|x.2||480i||4:3||ANT. TV||Antenna TV|
In the early 2000s, KVRR became the first commercial television station (the first being Prairie Public Television member stations KFME (channel 13), KGFE in Grand Forks and KCGE-DT in Crookston, Minnesota) in eastern North Dakota to transmit a digital signal.
KVRR and its satellites shut down their analog signals on February 1, 2009, sixteen days before the original target date for full-power television stations in the United States to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which Congress had moved the previous month to June 12). Listed below are the post-transition channel allocations for each station:
- KVRR shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 15; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 19. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF channel 15.
- KBRR shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 10; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 10.
- KJRR shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 7; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 18 to VHF channel 7.
- KNRR shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 15 to VHF channel 12.
KVRR and KJRR were the only stations in KVRR's regional network to broadcast programming in high-definition until March 2011, when KBRR and KNRR upgraded their digital signals to transmit programming in HD. On March 18, 2011, Midcontinent Communications added KBRR's high definition feed on its systems in Grand Forks and Devils Lake as it became available.
Satellite stations and translators
KVRR operates three full-power satellite stations: KJRR, KBRR, and KNRR. These stations fully simulcast KVRR, but KBRR/KNRR occasionally air separate commercials for Grand Forks and the northern portion of the viewing area.
|Station||City of license/other locations served||Channel||First air date||Second letter of callsign meaning||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|KJRR||Jamestown/Valley City||Digital: 7 (VHF)|
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
|February 8, 1988||Jamestown, North Dakota||21.3 kW||135 m||55364|
|KBRR||Thief River Falls, MN/Grand Forks||Digital: 10 (VHF)|
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
|September 1985||Red River Broadcasting Company||9.3 kW||198.1 m||55370|
|KNRR||Pembina/Southern Manitoba/Winnipeg||Digital: 12 (VHF)|
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
|September 19, 1986||Northern North Dakota||4.4 kW||427 m||55362|
KVRR serves its large coverage area with four translators. Station callsigns listed in bold are owned by Red River Broadcasting; all others are owned by local municipalities.
KVRR originally relayed its programming on a large network of translators throughout eastern North Dakota and west-central Minnesota. However, only one remains and two more in Lake of the Woods County were added as multiplexed digital subchannels after their transition to digital broadcasts in 2011. K46BV-D/Roseau is owned by Roseau County and K16KE/Baudette and K36LW/Williams are owned by Lake of the Woods County.
K61BJ in Donnelly, Minnesota, K54AT in Brainerd, Minnesota, K33HB in Devils Lake, North Dakota, and K05IV in Park Rapids, Minnesota are no longer actively used as translators of KVRR. K61BJ was thought to be in operation by KVRR, but due to lack of communication it was found that the translator was damaged beyond repair by a lightning strike in 2005. K54AT was taken off the air in mid-April 2008, never to return. This was due to several reasons, the most significant being that the Brainerd was already served by a translator of Twin Cities Fox affiliate KMSP-TV. K33HB was knocked off-the-air due to a tower collapse. K05IV's license was surrendered to the Federal Communications Commission on June 12, 2013.
KVRR originally maintained translators in north-central Alexandria, Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Red Lake, and Walker, Minnesota. However, the Bemidji translator was forced off the air by the sign-on of WFTC satellite station KFTC, which was affiliated with Fox at the time. The Grand Rapids translator now carries sister station KQDS-TV in Duluth, but non-news programming originates from Fargo. The Alexandria, Red Lake and Walker translators, owned by private groups, now carry stations from the Twin Cities.
KVRR presently broadcasts 9½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 1½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). As with most programming, the station's newscasts are simulcast on satellite stations KJRR, KBRR and KNRR, with separate Grand Forks area commercials occasionally inserted on KBRR/KNRR.
KVRR launched its news department in July 2000, when it debuted a half-hour nightly newscast at 9 p.m., becoming the first primetime newscast in the Fargo market. In 2009, the station debuted a half-hour weeknight-only newscast at 6 p.m. On September 19, 2011, the 9 p.m. newscast was expanded from 35 minutes to one hour. On February 5, 2014, KVRR became the third and last television news operation in the Fargo-Grand Forks market (after KXJB-TV 4/KVLY 11 and WDAY 6/WDAZ 8) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.