KNEP, the former Gray-owned NBC affiliate for Scottsbluff, Nebraska, also known as KGWN Scottsbluff, has been shut down.
Last week, Gray Broadcasting announced it was selling its interests in the Scottsbluff, Cheyenne, and Casper television markets to Marquee Broadcasting in exchange for an FCC permit to construct a new station in Salt Lake City, Utah.
UPDATE: A Marquee spokesperson told TVSpy the shutdown is not their doing and sent us a statement from Gray:
We are proud of the very good work that our Scottsbluff news bureau has provided over the past several years. Unfortunately, given the many challenges facing news media, particularly in small communities, it is no longer possible to continue to underwrite the investments necessary to keep that news bureau open. We will continue airing local newscasts in the eastern portion of our market, including Scottsbluff, that are produced in our Cheyenne newsroom, and we are working to relocate each of the four news professionals in Scottsbluff to positions in Cheyenne or other newsrooms within our company.
The sale to Marquee is subject to various approvals and is not expected to close until the second quarter.. Consequently, Marquee is not making any decisions about or for Gray’s people or operations.
“Now this makes me really sad. This was my first official station I became a full time Reporter and Anchor,” CBS Denver reporter Brian Sherrod wrote on X. “I got the chance to spend three incredible years there from 2017 to 2020. I learned so much about Nebraska and Wyoming. I will definitely miss it!”
From radio station KNEB:
That means that community staples like John Clanton, who has been covering area athletes since 2001, will be looking for a new market to share his signature catch phrase ‘See ya!’ with. Sales representatives and production directors who have served for more than a decade as the station sold from Duhamels, to Rushmore Broadcasting Inc. to Gray are now without work. A trio of young reporters in the news division also being forced out of their jobs nearly as soon as their careers started.
Their news Facebook page was deactivated on Friday, and their news website page hasn’t been updated with local news since Thursday.
Last week’s announcement comes about six weeks after they rebranded from NBC Nebraska to KGWN Scottsbluff.
At the time of the sale, Marquee CEO Patricia Lane wrote in a press release that the station group was “excited to acquire Gray’s leading stations in Wyoming and Western Nebraska and that Marquee was “looking forward to building on the legacy there.”
The station launched in 1958 as KDUH for founder Helen Duhamel. The station broadcast out of Hay Springs, Nebraska until moving operations to Scottsbluff in the early eighties.
KNEB also said Friday and Monday’s newscasts on KNEP have been coming out of Cheyenne, Wyoming’s ‘Wyoming News Now’ broadcast. As the Marquee Broadcasting merger gets closer to being finalized, it is unknown at this time what that will mean for the NBC provider in the Panhandle.