About KBJR TVThe station began on March 1, 1954 as WDSM-TV, and was affiliated with CBS. It was owned by Ridder Newspapers, owner of the Duluth Herald (now part of the Duluth News Tribune), along with WDSM-AM 710. WDSM was the first VHF television station in Duluth, signing on days before KDAL-TV (now KDLH). In October 1955, the station switched affiliations with KDAL and became an NBC affiliate. It began local color broadcasts in November 1965. It also aired some ABC programs, sharing them with KDAL, until WDIO-TV signed-on in 1966.
Ridder merged with Knight Newspapers in 1974 to form Knight Ridder. However, the merged company was not allowed to keep the WDSM stations. It was grandfathered under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules forbidding common ownership of newspapers and broadcasting outlets. The FCC considered the Knight-Ridder merger to be an ownership change, and as a result, the WDSM stations lost their grandfathered protection. The television station was spun off to RJR Communications, a locally based group, in the fall of that year. On December 6, the call letters were changed to the current "KBJR-TV". Channel 6 is one of the few stations in the country whose call sign begins with "K" despite being licensed to a city east of the Mississippi River. However, its studios have long been located in Duluth.