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WFTV (Duluth): Wikis


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Duluth, Minnesota
Channel Analog: 38 (UHF)
Affiliations ABC/DuMont
Owner WEBC
Founded 1953 (defunct 1954)
Sister station(s) WEBC, WEBC-FM
Former affiliations CBS (1953 - March 1954)
NBC (1953 - March 1954)

WFTV Channel 38 was the first television station in Duluth, Minnesota.

The station signed on in 1953 carrying programming from all four TV networks of the time, ABC, CBS, NBC, and the DuMont Television Network.[1] It shared office space with WEBC radio and transmitted from the former WEBC-FM tower on Duluth's Observation Hill.[2]

WFTV faced challenges from the beginning, being a UHF station in an era when television sets only included VHF tuners. A convertor box was required to receive the station. In March 1954, VHF stations KDAL-TV and WDSM-TV - both co-owned with other radio stations in the market - signed on and took the NBC and CBS affiliations. WFTV could not compete and left the air shortly thereafter.

Duluth would be a two-station market until WDIO-TV signed on in 1966. The market would not get another major UHF station until 1999 when KQDS-TV upgraded and affiliated with the FOX network.

The bottom portion of the tower used by WEBC-FM and WFTV still stands, and is used today for telecommunications.[3] Channel 38 is currently occupied by the digital signal of WDSE, but will be empty again in 2009 when WDSE moves digital operations to channel 8.

The WFTV callsign was adopted by the ABC affiliate on Channel 9 in Orlando, Florida, which was previously WLOF, in 1963.


  1. ^ TV Guide, January 8-14, 1954
  2. ^ A Technological History of WEBC Radio, A Graduate Thesis submitted by Roger J. Johnson
  3. ^ Tower Site of the Week, February 17, 2006

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