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KQDS-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Iron Range area of Minnesotamarker that is licensed to Duluthmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 17 from a transmitter west of downtown in Hilltop Park. Owned by Red River Broadcasting, the station has studios on London Road in Duluth along I-35. Syndicated programming on KQDS includes: Two and a Half Men, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond and According to Jim.

Outlying translators

All translators except K31GH and K39GG have construction permits to air low-powered digital signals.


The station signed-on as KNLD on September 20, 1994 airing an analog signal on UHF channel 21. However, very few people knew the station was actually on-the-air at this time as it aired at low power with an extremely limited schedule usually only a few hours in the morning to meet minimum FCC requirements for keeping its license. The station was independent, and although its lineup once included Big Ten college football, most of the schedule was filled with the Shop at Home Network by the late-1990s.

In 1998, Red River Broadcasting (via sister company KQDS Acquisition Corporation) purchased KNLD along with several area radio station and later changed their call sign to KQDS-TV. The new owners found some controversy as they tried to upgrade the station. It was attempting to construct a new tower to replace its old one adjacent to Duluth Central High School but some school and city officials expressed concern about the danger of ice falling from the tower onto the school parking lot. Although the new tower had already been approved by city officials, KQDS agreed to build it further from the parking lot than initially planned.

On September 1, 1999, they became the area's first full-time Fox affiliate while increasing its transmitting power and adding eight translator stations. This was the first time the entire network programming lineup was available over-the-air in the market. Fox had previously held secondary affiliations with KDLHmarker, KBJR-TVmarker, and WDIO-TVmarker / WIRT-TV while cable systems carried the national Foxnet service. On February 1, 2009, this station ceased analog transmissions and now broadcasts only in digital.

News operation

Early in KQDS's Fox affiliation, they experimented with a 9 P.M. newscast produced by NBC affiliate KBJR. It was broadcast out of that station's studios on South Lake Avenue in Duluth and was anchored by Mark Mallory with meteorologist Paul Heggen and sports from Tom Hansen. The broadcast was canceled after about nine months due to low ratings and was replaced by a half-hour simulcast of CNN Headline News. KBJR's 9 o'clock news resurfaced in September 2002 when that station launched a UPN affiliate on their secondmarker digital subchannel.

KQDS currently produces a live 35 minute newscast in prime time, known as Fox 21 News at 9, Sunday through Friday nights. It airs for a half-hour on Saturday nights. The weeknight show debuted on March 12, 2007 with co-anchors Amy Rutledge and Nick LaFave (the only dual anchor team in the market). Rutledge co-anchored at KDLH until it was combined with KBJR in March 2005. The Fox 21 News staff at one time included veterans of every commercial station in the area. The Sunday newscast was added on August 26, 2007 and was the first one in the area. The Saturday production was added on November 29, 2008 and also holds that distinction.

In its first ratings period in May 2007, KQDS was third among all evening newscasts. They drew more viewers than KBJR's Northland's NewsCenter Tonight at 9 and KDLH's 10 P.M shows. In August, after just six months on-air, Fox 21 News was nominated for three Upper Midwest Emmy Awards in the categories of "Best Newscast", "Best News Special", and "Investigative Series". KQDS provides weather forecasts for the Red Rock Radio-owned stations in the market. They also maintain a partnership with the Duluth News Tribune in which they share news reports and where their Chief Meteorologist's weather blog is printed. July 2009 showed to be this station's best ratings period to date. It came in third place with about 8,650 viewers just about 2,000 less than KBJR's 10 o'clock show. On the weekends, KQDS had about half the viewers of market leader WDIO / WIRT.

News team

  • Beth Jett - Managing Editor seen weeknights and reporter
    • "Animal Tales" segment producer
  • Nick LaFave - weeknights and reporter
  • Nicolette Helling - Saturdays and health reporter
  • Melissa Ganje - Sundays and Wisconsin reporter
    • "Small Towns" and "Northwoods Adventure" segments producer

  • Chris Snider - Chief seen weeknights
  • Bonnie McLaughlin (NWA Seal of Approval) - weekends

  • Chris Nettleton - Director seen weeknights
  • Greg Chandler - weekends and reporter

  • Julie Moravchik - News Director and Assignment Editor
    • "On the Job" segment producer
  • Joe Cadotte
  • Melissa Ganje
  • Nicolette Helling

Past personnel

  • Randy Howe - now at KVBCmarker
  • Lisa Waldrup
  • Chris Misun
  • Jenn O'Neill
  • Joy Redmond
  • Amy Rutledge (now a media spokesperson for Minnesota Power)
  • Todd Nelson (now at WeatherNation LLC)
  • Zach Dunanski
  • Amy Swanoski
  • Karl Spring

External links

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