In July of 1953, KROC-TV, the first television station in southern Minnesota with a tower height of 600 feet, went on the air from a site four miles west of the city of Rochester in a Quonset Hut. The TV studios, offices, and transmitter were housed within the same building as the studio, which was only the size of an average living room. Originally, KROC-TV was signed on as sister station of KROC Radio. After those early days, KTTC (KROC) moved into the 601 Building in downtown Rochester and remained there until 2002.
When laws were passed in the mid-1970s banning ownership of multiple stations or media in a single market, the television station had to be sold. In 1976, Quincy Newspapers, Inc. purchased the station from Southern Minnesota Broadcasting and the call letters were changed to KTTC (Total Tri-state Coverage), referring to our coverage that spans from southeastern Minnesota to northern Iowa to parts of western Wisconsin.
KTTC is the area news and entertainment leader, virtually “owning” its home county of Olmsted and dominating the market, despite its proximity to Minneapolis and much larger stations. In our market, we were the first on air, first in color, first in stereo, first in the states of Minnesota and Iowa to broadcast in full power digital and we are the only local affiliate with our own weather radar and storm chaser unit.
KTTC is dedicated to remaining the news leader and commits the major share of its resources to covering the extensive and diverse region, which ranges from the halls of Mayo Clinic to the rich farm fields of northern Iowa and the rolling bluffs along the Mississippi River. Standards of performance in the NewsCenter team are high to meet the competitive challenges of the market.
The NewsCenter is the largest department in the station, and has to be, to cover our geographically large market. Additionally, the KTTC NewsCenter produces the 9 p.m. news on our local Fox affiliate, KXLT. This is part of a “Shared Services Agreement” that was entered into in 2001. As part of this arrangement, KTTC provides all news, technical support, promotions, commercial production and master control for FOX affiliate, KXLT-TV.
Our daily newscasts, promotions, commercial production, clean on-air look and sales development testify to the great pride of our employees. KTTC been honored with Regional Emmy Awards, The Eric Severied Award, plus awards and recognition from The Minnesota Broadcasters, Associated Press, and many, many more.
KTTC is the local partner of the CW network. The CW is broadcast over the air locally on our digital sub-channel and carried by cable systems in Southeastern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Additionally, we have a relationship with Charter Cable in Olmsted County to provide local news updates on CNN Headline News and to sell the inventory in those updates. While KTTC and KXLT are based in Rochester, Minnesota, the other stations in our market are found in Austin, Minnesota and Mason City, Iowa. These communities are 45 and 60 miles away from Rochester, respectively.
KTTC also prides itself on its very active role in the community. We strongly encourage employee participation in civic groups. The station initiated the KTTC Safe City Fund, conducts an annual Toy Drive for Christmas Anonymous, produces the Eagles Cancer Telethon (the longest running locally produced telethon in the United States), and annually donates hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of airtime and production to efforts by area non-profit organizations.
KTTC is proud of its legacy of leadership in the communities we serve. We’re proud to bear the branding “Turn to the Leader” and strive daily to continue to BE the leader in our area.