Prairie Public Television

Prairie Public Television

call_letters = Prairie Public Television
city =
station_slogan =
station_branding =
analog = see table below
digital = see table below
subchannels = xx.1 HD 1080i xx.2 SD 480i/480p xx.3 Minnesota Channel 480i
other_chs =
affiliations = PBS
network =
founded =
airdate = January 19, 1964
location = statewide North Dakota
callsign_meaning = see table below
former_callsigns =
former_channel_numbers =
owner = Prairie Public Broadcasting, Inc.
licensee =
sister_stations = Prairie Public Radio
former_affiliations = NET (1964-1970)
effective_radiated_power = see table below
HAAT = see table below
class =
facility_id = see table below
coordinates = see table below
homepage = []

Prairie Public Television (also known as Prairie Public, or simply PPTV) is the PBS member network for the U.S. state of North Dakota. Part of Prairie Public Broadcasting along with the Prairie Public radio network, the network currently has seven analog broadcast stations and two digital stations. Combined, the stations reach all of North Dakota, plus portions of Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. The network is headquartered in Fargo.


In 1959, "North Central Educational Television", the predecessor organization to PPTV, was incorporated. On January 19, 1964, KFME signed on from Fargo as North Dakota's first educational television station.

KFME then set up a satellite station in 1974, KGFE in Grand Forks, marking the beginning of what is now the statewide PPTV network. A year earlier, KFME had almost shut down due to lack of funding. KFME acquired a color video tape recorder in 1967, and color cameras were purchased in 1975. Also in 1975, the organization adopted the "Prairie Public Television" name, and appeared on cable TV in Winnipeg. [cite news | title = Videon Will Offer Viewers New Fare | publisher = Winnipeg Free Press | page = 11 | date = July 11, 1975] , and Brandon, both of Manitoba.

In 1977, the state legislature granted PPTV funding to build a statewide network. Residents in Bismarck and points west had tried to get their own station since 1968, and PPTV had been available on cable since the early 1970s. To make the statewide expansion possible, PPTV purchased a satellite earth station in 1978 to receive PBS programming.

KBME in Bismarck was established in 1979, bringing public television to the western portion of the state for the first time. KSRE in Minot followed suit in 1980 and, KDSE in Dickinson in 1982. PPTV purchased the Fargo "American Life Building" in 1983 and moved into the new broadcasting facilities to there in 1984. In 1989 PPTV went to a 24 hour broadcast schedule. "Prairie School Television" began in 1988, and the "Prairie Satellite Network" distance education network, with 70 sites was completed in 1994. Later, KWSE in Williston signed on in 1983, and KJRE in Ellendale/Jamestown signed on in 1992.

Prairie Public Television became the first broadcaster in North Dakota to broadcast in high definition, with KFME-DT and KBME-DT, of Fargo and Bismarck respectively, debuting in 2002. Digital-only station KCGE-DT signed on from Crookston, targeting Grand Forks, in 2003, with the rest of the PPTV analog stations broadcasting in HDTV by 2004. The transmitter for KGFE was damaged in May 2004, due to ice buildup on the tower, which caused very large chunks of ice to fall off and go through the roof of the transmitter building. This caused water damage to the transmitter's equipment, as well as damage to the roof of the transmitter site. KGFE went back on the air on February, 2005 on low power. KMDE-DT of Devils Lake signed on in 2005, covering the western half of KGFE's viewing area.

Several documentaries about southern Manitoba have been produced, including: "Portage Avenue: Dreams of Castles in the Sky", "Red River Divide", "Assiniboine Park: A Park for all Seasons", "Lake Winnipeg's Paradise Beaches", among others. Manitoba has historically been a significant supporter of Prairie Public Television (the population of Winnipeg alone is slightly larger than the population of the state of North Dakota), in part because unlike most other provinces, Manitoba has never had its own public television station. In return, the station has opened up many of its contests for Canadian residents, and has sponsored events in Manitoba, including the International Friendship Festival in Winnipeg.

Local Programming

Prairie Public TV has broadcast a weekly regional program, of various names through most of its history:
* "SPIN" (1976)
* "North Dakota This Week" (1980)
* "Skyline" (early 1980s)
* "Prairie News Journal" (1990–1997)
* "PlainsTalk" (1998) - hosted by Matt Olien
* "Prairie Pulse" (2004–present) - hosted by John Harris

Prairie Public Television also broadcasts Almanac from Twin Cities Public Television in Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as carries TPT's digital "Minnesota Channel" on Prairie Public's digital channels, interestingly, throughout all of North Dakota.


1: KGFE is assigned digital channel 56, but it is currently not on the air, as its viewing area is currently covered by digital-only stations KCGE and KMDE. KGFE will remain in operation after 2009, on digital channel 15.
2: KBME-TV used the callsign KBME (without the -TV suffix) from its 1979 sign-on until 1998.
3: The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says KJRE signed on May 12, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on May 11.
4: KCGE-DT and KMDE are digital-only stations.

Prairie Public Television is also relayed by translators K07NE Lisbon and K11QD Hazen.

Digital Stations

ee also

*Prairie Public (radio)
*Prairie Public
*List of Dish Network local channels

External links

* [ Prairie Public Broadcasting website]


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