Media & Information
As early as June 1876, Black Hills residents could get local news through the media – that is to say the Black Hills Pioneer, the region’s first newspaper, which was described as a “sprightly, well-edited local sheet, devoted to the mining and other interests of the town and surrounding county.” In the years that followed nearly every community in the region – including Tinton, Terry, West Virginia City and other now-abandoned mining towns – would come to boast its own newspaper. The Rapid City Journal, now the state’s second largest newspaper, began publishing in 1878.
More than 135 years later the Black Hills Pioneer and the Rapid City Journal are still publishing. But today’s Black Hills residents can select from numerous media options and news sources, from newspapers to local radio and television stations to countless Internet blogs and other on-line offerings.
According to Larry Wild, an assistant professor at Northern State University, South Dakota’s first radio station, WCAT, began broadcasting from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus in Rapid City in 1922. Today listeners can choose from 29 full-service and low-powered FM and AM stations in the Black Hills.
In 1983, members of the American Indian Movement made history by starting KILI radio in Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The country’s first Indian-owned radio station, it continues to broadcast today.
For West River residents, the television era began July 1, 1955, when KOTA went on the air in Rapid City. It was the second television station in South Dakota. KOTA has been owned by the Duhamel family since its beginning and continues to broadcast today as an ABC affiliate. A second local television station, now KEVN-FOX, began broadcasting July 11, 1976. KNBN, an NBC affiliate, went on the air May 14, 2000. Western South Dakota is also home to several translator stations that carry South Dakota Public Broadcasting programming.
The media landscape has changed dramatically in the past 10 years in the Black Hills, as it has everywhere in the country. More and more people are using the Internet and relying on it, as well as on cable and satellite television, to provide them with information. Newspaper readership and circulation have declined, which has led many papers to cut staff, reduce coverage or close their doors. Meanwhile, on-line media sites and blog sites (some of them started by former journalists) are gaining steam and drawing readers. Inside Dakota Sports, for example, provides in-depth coverage of local sports teams ranging from Little League to the Rapid City Rush hockey team.
Local media outlets continue to look for ways to adapt and better serve local residents through the Internet. Many are also experimenting with “community journalism” projects aimed at recruiting community members to serve as reporters.
Black Hills newspapers now include the Butte County Post (Belle Fourche), Hot Springs Star, Meade-County Times Tribune (Sturgis) and Rapid City Journal, all of which are owned by Lee Enterprises; the Custer County Chronicle; Hill City Prevailer News; Black Hills Pioneer (Spearfish); Edgemont Herald Tribune; New Underwood Post; and Pennington County Courant (Wall). For more information, see the South Dakota State Newspaper Association.
Rapid City is also home to a quarterly magazine, Black Hills Faces, which began publishing in 2005.
- KEVN Black Hills Fox
- KNBN News Center 1
- KOTA Territory News
- Rapid City Government Access
- South Dakota Public Broadcasting
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