Back in the day, if you had a cabin in central or northern Minnesota, KCMT and KNMT were what you watched. Before the advent of satellite TV, you could receive just one channel. Actually, if you happened to be located between the two transmitters, you could receive two channels, but both aired identical programming. Channel 7 and/or Channel 12 was what you watched. Hence, the name “7/12 Television.”
KCMT Channel 7 was licensed to Alexandria with transmitter near Westport. KNMT Channel 12 was licensed to Walker with transmitter near Hackensack. Originally NBC affiliates, they switched to CBS in 1982. Five years later, WCCO-TV in Minneapolis purchased the stations, changing the call letters to KCCO (7) and KCCW (12.) In 2002, both stations ceased local programming to become 100% rebroadcasters of WCCO. This was the beginning of the end of 7/12 Television. Here is their final local newscast:
KCCO fell silent in 2017. On April 18, 2019, the 1,000 foot transmission tower and 138 foot antenna were taken down by Controlled Demolition, Inc. It was truly the end of an era. Strangely enough, KCCW Channel 12 (originally a satellite of KCMT) continues to serve northern Minnesota as a satellite rebroadcaster of WCCO.
I should mention that KCMT also had an FM station. KCMT-FM 100.7’s transmitter was co-located on the same tall tower. It was a full Class C with 100,000 watts of effective radiated power. Before the FM band became junked up with drop-in stations and translators, you could carry KCMT-FM on a car radio from the northwest Twin Cities suburbs to Fargo! Today, this station is KIKV, owned by Hubbard Broadcasting and transmitting from the KSAX-TV 42 tower which Hubbard also owns. At 876 feet above average terrain, the signal contour is not quite as large as it was previously. Furthermore, fringe coverage is limited by KLDQ-FM 100.7 north of Fargo, the KUOM 100.7 FM translator in Minneapolis, and the KPRM 100.5 FM translator at Park Rapids. Still, KIKV provides an impressive signal across most of central Minnesota.
Farewell, Channel 7. Thank you for being our “TV lifeline” to all of us at the cabin or when we were camping in the area. Even though we now have over 200 channels on our portable satellite dish, it’s just not the same. I’ll always miss watching “Adam 12”, “Jeopardy”, “Sanford and Son”, and the 7/12 News on my 9″ Wards Airline black & white portable.