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KFBB logo
Great Falls, Montana
Branding News Channel 5
Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Translators KHBB-LD 21 Helena
Affiliations See Article Below
Owner Max Media, LLC
(MMM License II, LLC)
First air date March 21, 1954
Call letters’ meaning Duplicated from radio:
F.A. Buttrey Broadcast Inc.
(original owners of radio station)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
5 (VHF, 1954-2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
CBS (1954-66)
PBS (Sesame Street, 1969-?)
ABC (1954-1966)
CBS (1966-1969)
NBC (1954-58, 1969-86)
DuMont (1954-55)
Transmitter Power 31 kW
Height 143.3 m
Facility ID 34412
Transmitter Coordinates 47°32′6.5″N 111°17′5.4″W / 47.535139°N 111.284833°W / 47.535139; -111.284833

KFBB-TV is a full-service television station in Great Falls, Montana, broadcasting locally on digital VHF channel 8 as an affiliate of ABC. Founded March 21, 1954, the station is owned by Max Media of Montana. KFBB-TV is repeated in the Helena area on KHBB-LD channel 21 (UHF), and on several translator stations. KHBB also offers Fox via its digital subchannel for Helena-area viewers (Fox programming in Great Falls was seen on KLMN until June 12, 2009 but moved to a KFBB subchannel in July.[1][2] )



KFBB-TV began broadcasting on March 21, 1954. As the first television station in Great Falls, KFBB-TV was affiliated with all four major networks, and would broadcast programming from all three until KRTV signed on and took the NBC affiliation in October 1958. KFBB-TV continued to air CBS and ABC programming as a member of the Skyline Network (as the Montana Television Network was then called).

At first KFBB-TV was owned by Wilkins Broadcasting, of which The Anaconda Company owned a 27.5% share. Anaconda, through its Fairmount division, controlled most of the major newspapers in Montana (although not the Great Falls Tribune) and was notorious for manipulating the state's political visions for its own needs. Then in 1959, Anaconda sold its media holdings to Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa. Because of anti-trust concerns, Lee decided to sell KFBB. The station was sold in 1962 to Harriscope Broadcasting, which in 1965 scored a deal for a primary ABC affiliation - Montana's first. The new affiliation took effect on February 1, 1966. Harriscope severed KFBB's links with the Skyline Network (which signed up with KRTV), and sold off the KFBB radio station in February, 1969, but continued to run KFBB-TV, eventually selling it to Donald P. Nathanson in 1977. After affiliating primarily with ABC, the station continued secondary affiliation with CBS until that network switched to KRTV in 1969, and then started running NBC on a per program basis as late as December 1986, when KTGF signed on and took over the NBC affiliation[3][4] KFBB also carried Sesame Street for several years, before Montana had a PBS service of its own.

KFBB's ABC affiliation allowed it to be carried on cable television systems in both Alberta and Saskatchewan; it even maintained a sales office in Saskatoon, as did Williston stations KUMV and KXMD. This arrangement continued until 1986, when KFBB was largely replaced by a satellite signal from WXYZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Detroit.

An April 1981 application with the FCC requested transfer of control of the licensee corporation from owner Donald P. Nathanson to his estate, following his death.[5] In early 1982, the station saw a flurry of transfers that saw KFBB-TV moved, first from the Nathanson estate to Advance TV of California, then from Advance TV to Wooster Republican Printing Company of Ohio. Wooster Republican Printing held onto the license through various holding companies (eg., KFBB Corporation, KFBB LLC, Dix Communications) until November 2004, when Max Media of Montana completed the purchase of KFBB-TV from Wooster Republican Printing. Max Media already owned KTGF in the market, and was forced to sell it in order to purchase KFBB-TV, as the Great Falls market was too small to allow a broadcast duopoly.

In June 2003, prior to selling KFBB-TV, Wooster Republican Printing made deep cuts in local news production, ending morning, noon and weekend newscasts. In February 2005, new owner Max Media instituted a regional newscast, branded as Montana News Network, which was produced at KFBB. The regional newscast didn't last long. KFBB was rebranded NewsChannel 5 with a focus on "Live, Local, Late-Breaking Coverage." In addition to the morning weather cut-ins, 5:30, and 10:00 p.m. newscasts, the station soon added weekend newscasts back to the lineup.

In 2009, KFBB added staff to become the largest news team in central Montana. The newscasts took on a new branding, "NewsChannel 5 is Everywhere", to capitalize on its reporting strength in Great Falls and its three bureaus. The weather segments took on the identity of "Pinpoint Weather", showcasing the station's award-winning customized forecasts for central and northern Montana. The station also increased its news production on the weekend, adding a 5:30 p.m. newscast, as well as the 10:00 p.m. weekend news already running.

On September 21, 2009, KFBB expanded further, adding a 5:00pm newscast and moving the 5:30 newscast to 6:00pm with ABC's "World News" moving to the 5:30 slot. New opens and a new music package, "Evolution," premiered on the same day.

News Team


Current personalities

Current Anchors

  • Heather DeSiena - 5:00/6:00/10:00 Anchor
  • Tim Franklin - 10:00 Anchor and Reporter
  • Chris Grogan - News Director/5:00 and 6:00 Anchor
  • Stephanie Tyrpak - Weekend Anchor/Reporter


  • Andrea Fisher - Reporter
  • Varun Sriram - Missoula Bureau Reporter
  • Lindsey Thiry - Helena Bureau Reporter
  • Kelsey Thomas - Reporter

Weather Team

  • Adam Koslen - Chief Atmospherical Scientist
  • Tim Lankford - Morning Meteorologist
  • Corrina Pysa - Weekend Weather/Reporter

Sports Team

  • Jason Nitschke - Sports Director
  • Brett Denham - Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter

News/Station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Eyewitness News (1966-1974)
  • NewsCenter 5 (1974-1978)
  • News Watch (1978-1979)
  • Action NewsCenter (1979-1981)
  • Action 5 News (1981-1986)
  • Channel 5 News (1986-1992)
  • News 5 (1992-1997)
  • NewsChannel 5 (1997-2002)
  • ABC 5 News (2002-2005)
  • Montana News Network (2005-2006)
  • NewsChannel 5 (2006-present)

Station slogans

  • NewsChannel 5 is Everywhere (February-September 2009)
  • NewsChannel 5, In-Depth, Investigative (2009-present)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

Newscast Music

  • WAGA 1977 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1977-1979)
  • KFBB 1979 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1979-1982)
  • KFBB 1982 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1982-1984)
  • WTSP 1983 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1984-1989)
  • KFBB 1989 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1989-1994)
  • KFBB 1994 News Theme by Unknown Composer (1994-2002)
  • ABC News Affiliate Music Package by Score Produtions (2002-2006)
  • Pinnacle by Stephen Arnold Music (2006-9/2009)
  • Evolution by Stephen Arnold Music (9/2009-present)

Digital television

The station received its digital television (DTV) allocation from the FCC in April 1997. Originally, KFBB-DT was to be on channel 39[6], but in June 2001, the FCC agreed to change the allocation to channel 8[7], and granted the permit to construct digital facilities on March 14, 2002. By the end of April 2002, the station was already on the air [8] and was licensed on November 1, 2002. KFBB-DT has elected to remain on channel 8 once the full-service station transition to DTV is complete in June 2009.

On August 9, 2006, the FCC granted "flash-cut" authorization to KHBB-LD, meaning that on or before August 9, 2009, analog station KHBB-LP would shut down and digital station KHBB-LD would commence broadcasting on channel 21. On November 27, 2008, KHBB closed its analog signal and began broadcasting in digital, with ABC programming on 21.1, and Fox programming on 21.2. Both subchannels are broadcasting at 720P High Definition.


KFBB-TV/KHBB-LP logos, used through 2008.

As an ABC affiliate, KFBB-TV airs most of the network schedule, including ABC Daytime and ABC Primetime programs during the weekdays. Overnights are split between local programming, World News Now and ABC World News This Morning. KFBB-TV airs Nightline immediately following the late local news.

Of the three full-service television stations in Montana owned by Max Media, only KFBB-TV offers a significant schedule of local news. There are two half-hour local newscasts at 5:00 and 6:00 PM and a 35-minute newscast at 10:00 PM each weeknight, plus half-hour newscasts at 5:00 and 10:00 PM on the weekends.

KFBB also produces a ten minute nightly newscast for the ABC Montana stations in Missoula, Kalispell, Butte, and Bozeman. The newscast is called 10@10, and focuses on Montana sports and weather in the first ten minutes.

In 2008, the station began using a current on-air logo identical to the former logos of ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio and KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado -- neither station are related to KFBB.

Digital Television

Digital channels

Channel Programming
5.1 / 21.1 ABC
5.2 / 21.2 Fox
My Network TV (9p-11p Monday - Friday)
Jewelry TV (late Nights)


KFBB-TV is rebroadcast on several translator stations throughout Montana:


External links


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