KQDS-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Twin Ports and Iron Range areas of Northeastern Minnesota that is licensed to Duluth. 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, Family Feud and According to Jim.

Duluth, Minnesota/

Superior, Wisconsin

Branding Fox 21 (general)

Fox 21 News

Channels Digital: 17 (UHF)

Virtual: 21 (PSIP)

Subchannels 21.1 Fox
Owner Red River Broadcasting

(KQDS Acquisition Corporation)

First air date September 20, 1994
Call letters' meaning Quality Duluth/Superior
Sister station(s) KQDS, KQDS-FM,KZIO, WWAX
Former callsigns KNLD (1994-1999)
Former channel number(s) 21 (UHF analog, 1994-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1994-1999)
Transmitter power 3.14 kW
Height 223.1 m
Facility ID 35525
Transmitter coordinates 46°47′37″N92°7′3″W

Outlying translators

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

Call letters Channel City of license Transmitter location
K15GT 15 Hibbing southwest of downtown
K29EB 10 Grand Rapids northwest of Taconite
K31GH 31 Hayward, Wisconsin east of city
W32CV 32 Ironwood, Michigan Hurley, Wisconsin
K39GG 39 Aitkin east of Rabbit Lake Township along the Crow Wing and Aitkin County line
K45JD 45 International Falls east of city
K45?? 45 Ashland, Wisconsin
K47IR 47 Virginia Midway


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 Federal Communications Commission (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 and several area radio stations, and later changed the TV station's call sign toKQDS-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, it became the area's first-ever Fox affiliate while increasing its transmitting power and adding eight translator stations. Fox had previously had to be cabled into Duluth from WFTC which was its Twin Cities affiliate at the time. On February 1, 2009, this station ceased analog transmissions and now broadcasts only in digital.

News operation

KQDS currently produces a live newscast twice nightly during the week at 6 and 9pm, and once per evening on the weekends at 9. 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 CBS affiliate 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.

220px-Kqds news

Its news open.

Early in KQDS's Fox affiliation, it 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 broadcast resurfaced in September 2002 when that station launched a UPN affiliate on its second digital subchannel.

In its first ratings period in May 2007, KQDS was third among all evening newscasts. It 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. 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. In Fall 2009, this station was the winner of two regional Emmys for "Best Newscast" and "Overall Station Excellence". On June 28, 2010, Fox 21 News at 6 debuted. [1]

News team


  • Nick LaFave - Main anchor; weeknights at 6 and 9 p.m., also reporter
  • Makenzi Henderson - Co-anchor; weeknights at 6 and 9 p.m., also reporter
  • Tracee Tolentino - weekends at 9 p.m.; also reporter


Storm Tracker Weather Team

  • Chris Snider - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Sam Ryan - Meteorologist; weekends at 9 p.m.

Sports Team

  • Greg Chandler -Sports Director; weeknights at 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Eric Gullickson - Sports Anchor; weekends at 9 p.m., also sports reporter


  • Harry Baker
  • Mitchell Davis
  • Jeff Ernewein
  • Adam Jagunich
  • Kristian Tharaldson
  • Nathaniel LeCapitaine - Sports


  • Jesse Porter - Production Manager
  • Kyle Wanek - Weekend Director
  • Jesse Gangi - Web Manager/ Production Asst.
  • Greg Thompson - Production Assistant
  • Brian Williams - Production Assistant
  • Jessie Wagner - Production Assistant
  • Jerod Braswell - Production Assistant
  • Joe Mann - Production Assistant
  • Chass Toberg - Production Assistant
  • April Hanson - Production Assistant
  • Brian Quam - Production Assistant

Past personnel

  • Chris Nettleton
  • Jon Ellis(now at WDIO-WIRT TV in Duluth)
  • Beth Jett
  • Zach Dunanski
  • Melissa Ganje
  • Nicolette Helling
  • Randy Howe (now at KSNV-DT in Las Vegas)
  • Chris Misun
  • Julie Moravchik
  • Jenn O'Neill
  • Joy Redmond (now at WJBK in Detroit)
  • Amy Rutledge (now a media spokesperson for Minnesota Power)
  • Todd Nelson (now at WeatherNation, LLC)
  • Karl Spring
  • Amy Swanoski
  • Lisa Waldrup


  1. ^ "Fox 21 News adding 6 p.m. newscast". Duluth News Tribune. April 7, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2010.

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+