By Tim Leeds
For the first time, Havre has it's own local network-affiliated television broadcast.
KBBJ Channel 9 has begun its rebroadcast of Helena's KTHV National Broadcasting Company transmission.
James Rogers, President of Sunbelt Communications, and Ralph Toddre, Executive Vice President of Sunbelt, have said previously that they intend to eventually start a local broadcast, complete with a news bureau for the Havre area.
Toddre said the local broadcasts will go in phases. After starting the initial broadcast, he said, there might be certain things that can be broadcast locally. A local news bureau would be added later.
Rogers said last spring that the plan was to start a local bureau sometime in the year following the startup. He said at that point that they had no definite plans whether to construct a new building for the bureau, to rent an office, or what they would do.
Toddre said at that point that they were in discussions with Montana State University-Northern about locating the office on the university campus, and in developing educational programs and classes at the university related to television broadcasting. He said at that point nothing had been finalized.
The program has been in the planning stages for more than four years. Rogers announced last spring that, after two years of negotiations, an agreement had been reached with NBC to set up the affiliate station. Installation of the broadcasting equipment south of Havre began last fall.
Sunbelt is also starting a rebroadcasting station out of Lewistown at the same time.
Sunbelt Communications, based out of Nevada, owns the Helena station as well as other stations around the country.
Rogers and Toddre were not available for comment about the new broadcast at the time of printing.