A look back on the last 60 years of KXJB Television

KXJB Television got its start in the valley 60 years ago.
Sunday, its transmitter was turned off.
Valley News Live's Mike Morken looks back at a station that has served its viewers since 1954.

That's Speedy Ross and the Rhythm Ranch Boys, part of programming back on KX4 back in the 50s. Live was the name of the game for many years. Programs like Polka Party, Panorama and Coffee Time and the Captain Jim Show. Personalities like Jim Rohn became household names.

"The Fargo-Moorhead area is a very soft spot in my heart for that territory," Rohn said.

Not only were the programs live, but the commercials were as well.
News has always been part of the KX4 scene, In the 70s, videotape replaced film, giving journalists more freedom to provide better coverage.

Rich Mattern, a former KXJB newsperson said, "I think a news guy, ex-news person thinks that when they were in that newsroom, those were the best of times, that's the best the newsroom ever was. I'm sure that's not true, but you think that at the time. you know."
In 1979, a new face joined KX-4 in what had traditionally been an all male anchor team during the weeknights.

Kathy Coyle, a Former KXJB Anchor said, "It should have been the zenith of my career, but it wasn't . It was hard breaking into the men's clubs. The conversation that the three guys was different than when I was sitting in the middle, so it was kind of like breaking into the guys locker room."

The station was headquartered on Main Avenue in West Fargo, a building in much need of repair. It took a few years but a brand new facility in south Fargo opened in 1983, drawing a huge crowd with busloads of people stopping by to see the state of the art facility. Drawing a large crowd would take on a whole new meaning in 1989, when KX4 and the KX Network put together a party of the century and invited the state of North Dakota. An estimated 100 thousand people gathered in Bismarck on July 4th. The event lasting 18 hours and was broadcast live non stop across the KX Network.

Paul Wickre a former KXJB General Manager said, "104 degrees in the middle of the afternoon on July 4th. I remember Myron Floren playing accordion and sweat dripping through his coat.

But it hasn't always been a party for KX-4, twice major problems.
The station losing it's tower, the first time was 1968. A helicopter flew into the guy wires killing four people on board. The channel four engineer inside the building at the time incredibly was unharmed.

A new tower would be built and would stand until 1997, during a spring ice storm, KXJB's tower would fall again.
Bruce Barnes said, "If people can't pick you up, obviously they are going to go to another source and its difficult because you don't know if they are going to come back once you get back on."

KXJB got back on the air and continues to serve its viewers today.
The station has been sold several times since the Barnestubble family and it's new owners will specialize in minority based programming.

As far as KXJB's programming, which includes the CBS Network, it is now being broadcast on a sub-channel of KVLY-TV.
For those who are Cable one, Dish and or Direct customers, tune to channel 4 just as you always have.

For those with antennas, you should find KVLY on 11.1, KX-4 on 11.2 and ME-TV on 11.3. If you don't, simply reprogram.