About KBJR TVThe station debuted as WDSM-TV on March 1, 1954, and was associated with CBS. Ridder Newspapers, which also controlled the Duluth Herald (now part of the Duluth News Tribune), also owned WDSM-AM 710. WDSM was Duluth's first VHF television station, broadcasting days before KDAL-TV (now KDLH). The station changed affiliations with KDAL in October 1955 and became an NBC affiliate. In November 1965, it launched local color broadcasts. It also carried select ABC shows, sharing them with KDAL until 1966, when WDIO-TV signed on.
In 1974, Ridder combined with Knight Newspapers to establish Knight Ridder. The amalgamated firm, however, was not permitted to preserve the WDSM stations. It was grandfathered under FCC regulations prohibiting common ownership of newspapers and television enterprises. The FCC saw the Knight-Ridder merger as a change in ownership, and as a result, the WDSM stations lost their grandfathered status. In the fall of that year, the television station was sold to RJR Communications, a locally based company. The call letters were changed to the present "KBJR-TV" on December 6. Channel 6 is one of the few stations in the country whose call letters begin with "K," despite being licensed to a city east of the Mississippi River. However, its headquarters have traditionally been in Duluth.