KTTC is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Driftless Area of Southeastern Minnesota and Northeastern Iowa. Licensed to Rochester, Minnesota, the station broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 10 from a transmitter, south of Ostrander, Minnesota, near the Fillmore and Mower County line. Owned by Quincy Media, KTTC operates the area's Fox affiliate KXLT-TV (owned by SagamoreHill Broadcasting) through a shared services agreement.
Both stations share studios on Bandel Road Northwest in Rochester. KXLT also operates an advertising sales office on Lakeview Drive in Clear Lake, Iowa that also serves Mason City. Syndicated programming on KTTC includes Inside Edition, Judge Judy, The Doctors, and Steve Harvey among others.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|10.1||1080i||16:9||KTTC-DT||Main KTTC programming / NBC|
|10.3||480i||Heroes & Icons|
In the La Crosse, Wisconsin area, KTTC can be seen over-the-air through a low-powered digital translator, W50DR-D, which carries both the main KTTC service and its CW subchannel in high definition. This station broadcasts on UHF channel 50 (or virtual channel 10.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter at the studios of sister outlet ABC affiliate WXOW on County Highway 25 in La Crescent, Minnesota. It provides over-the-air service of NBC to viewers in La Crosse unable to receive WEAU (based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin) due to area topography.
Interestingly, there are two different signals from the same tower carrying The CW Plus national service as WXOW also carries a CW subchannel. However, WEAU and WXOW-DT2 are considered the area's primary NBC and CW affiliates respectively and are the only affiliates available on cable and satellite television providers.
The station launched on July 14, 1953 under the KROC-TV call sign, and was the first station in Southern Minnesota and third in the state after KSTP-TV and WTCN-TV in the Twin Cities. Launched by G. David Gentling (son of KROC radio owner Gregory P. Gentling), it was sister to KROC radio (AM 1340 and FM 106.9). The station's original studios and transmitter were located on Hennessey Hill, two miles west of Rochester. The station carried programming from all four commercial networks of the 1950s: ABC, CBS, and DuMont but was a primary NBC affiliate. The family operation eventually became the Southern Minnesota Broadcasting Company. In November 1966, the station moved to a new building on First Avenue Southwest in Downtown Rochester.
In 1976, due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restrictions on ownership of multiple stations in a single market, the station was purchased by Quincy Newspapers from Southern Minnesota Broadcasting. The call letters became KTTC that July. KTTC-DT began broadcasting on UHF channel 36 in September 2000. The station has been digital-only since February 17, 2009. The station's pre-transition digital facility on channel 36 became the final post-transition facility for ABC affiliate KAAL.
In 2001, Quincy bought Shockley Communications (then owner of KXLT). However, Quincy could not buy KXLT due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules governing duopolies. The FCC does not allow two of the four highest-rated stations to be owned by one company. Additionally, Rochester/Austin/Mason City has only six full-power stations, not enough to legally permit a duopoly in any case. Nevertheless, Quincy took over KXLT's operations under a shared services agreement. In 2002, KTTC relocated from its longtime studios on First Avenue Southwest in Downtown Rochester to its current location on Bandel Road in North Rochester. Shockley would later sell the Fox station to SagamoreHill Broadcasting in 2005 which continued the operational agreement with Quincy. In September 2006, The WB and UPN merged to create The CW. KTTC subsequently established a new second digital subchannel to offer the new broadcast network through The CW Plus. This is a similar national programming service as its predecessor, The WB 100+, that was seen locally on cable-exclusive "KWBR" and controlled by KXLT.
In the La Crosse area, KTTC's analog translator W67CH channel 67 ceased broadcasting on November 4, 2009. It was replaced with digital translator station W50DR-D which went on-the-air at 2:10 in the afternoon on October 14. KTTC's other two analog translators, in Winona (K62EV channel 62) and Blue Earth (K70DR channel 70), both left the air on December 29, 2011, due to the end of broadcasting on channels above 51 (K70DR in particular was one of the few remaining stations still operating on channel 70, which was phased out starting in 1983).
Since CBS affiliate KIMT is licensed to the Iowa side of the market, it has traditionally focused coverage on that state compared with the area's other stations (KTTC and KAAL) which are based in Minnesota. In addition to its main studios, KTTC operates an Austin Bureau, within the Riverland Community College campus, on 8th Avenue Northwest. KAAL has most of its operations based in Austin but maintains a secondary facility in Rochester. For its coverage of Minnesota, KIMT only operates an advertising sales office in Albert Lea.
Through a news share agreement in place since 2001, KTTC produces a half-hour prime time newscast on KXLT seen Sunday through Thursday nights. Known as Fox 47 News at Nine, the program originates from a secondary set at the Bandel Road Northwest studios. It features a unique graphics package and news music theme that is different from KTTC. KXLT uses most of this NBC outlet's on-air personnel but maintains separate news anchors who can report for KTTC. At some point in 2009, KIMT added the market's second prime time local news show at 9 to its MyNetworkTV-affiliated second digital subchannel. This newscast could be seen for a half hour competing with KXLT's broadcast. Eventually, the effort would be reduced to a five-minute weather cut-in featuring an updated forecast.
On June 12, 2009, KIMT became the market's first television station to upgrade local newscast production to 16x9 enhanced definition widescreen (with some portions in full high definition). Although not truly HD, the aspect ratio matched that of high definition television screens. Video reports from the field were still seen in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition. It would not be until March 20, 2011 when KTTC performed an upgrade to full high definition newscasts. With the launch to HD came a brand new set and high definition graphics. KXLT made the switch a day later debuting an updated set of graphics of its own similar to Quincy-owned Fox affiliate WSJV in South Bend, Indiana.
On July 28, 2014, KXLT debuted a weekday morning show known as Fox in the Morning (that is produced by KTTC). Airing for thirty minutes at 8 a.m., the program is formatted like a magazine with lifestyle, cooking, and style segments although there are local weather updates featured in the show. Eventually, this broadcast may be extended into the 7 o'clock hour to offer a true local alternative to the national morning programs seen on the big three affiliates. Like the prime time news at 9, the morning program on KXLT maintains separate anchors from KTTC (except for weather segments) and its own graphics scheme. This station maintains a relationship with Charter in Olmsted County, Minnesota to provide local news updates on HLN. It is the only station in the market to operate its own Doppler weather radar and this device (also seen on KXLT) is based next to the main studios in Rochester.