Iowa Public Television

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Iowa Public Television
statewide Iowa
Channels Digital: see table below
Virtual: see table below
Subchannels .1 PBS (IPTV Digital)
.2 PBS (IPTV Learns)
.3 PBS (IPTV World)
.99 IRIS (Reading for the Blind)
Affiliations PBS (1970-present)
Create / PBS Kids (DT2)
World (DT3)
Owner Iowa Public Broadcasting Board
First air date 1959 (KDIN/Des Moines)
1969 (Statewide network launch)
Call letters' meaning all stations:
2nd letter: see table below
Former callsigns see notes below
Former channel number(s) see table below
Former affiliations NET (1969-1970)
Transmitter power see table below
Height see table below
Facility ID see table below
Transmitter coordinates see table below

Iowa Public Television (IPTV) is a network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member stations in the state of Iowa. IPTV is owned by the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board, an agency of the state education department which holds the licenses for all the PBS member stations in the state. IPTV's studios are located in Johnston, Iowa; a suburb of Des Moines.


Iowa is a pioneer in educational broadcasting; it is home to two of the oldest educational radio broadcast stations in the world, the University of Iowa's WSUI and Iowa State's WOI.

The electrical engineering department at the State University of Iowa (SUI) in Iowa City demonstrated television at an exhibit at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on August 28, 1931. J. L. Potter supervised the project. At the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair, the television experiment was set up in the communications laboratory of the electrical engineering building at The University of Iowa in Iowa City.

By 1933, The University of Iowa received an FCC license for experimental TV station W9XK, later W9XUI providing twice a week video programming, with WSUI AM providing the audio channel. By 1939, the FCC allocated TV channels 1 and 12 for the W9XUI television station.[1] This early attempt at educational broadcasting ended with US entrance into World War II.[2][3] The concept of pure educational television, which Dr. E.B. Kurtz and his Iowa colleagues pioneered, was buried by the commercial television system which dominated development of the electronic media in Iowa after World War II.[4]

WOI-TV in Ames began broadcast operations in 1950, as a sister station to WOI radio,[5] and had carried some National Educational Television programming until Des Moines Public Schools signed on KDPS-TV as the educational station for central Iowa in 1959. However, in the 1960s the only other areas of the state with a clear signal from an educational station were the southwest (from Nebraska ETV's KYNE-TV in Omaha), the northwest (from South Dakota ETV's KUSD-TV in Vermillion), and in eastern Iowa from The University of Iowa's WSUI-TV in Iowa City.

In 1969, the state of Iowa bought KDPS-TV from the Des Moines Public Schools and changed its calls to KDIN-TV, intending it to be the linchpin of a statewide educational television network. As part of the state's ambition, it rebranded KDIN as the Iowa Educational Broadcasting Network.

The network's second station, KIIN-TV in Iowa City[6] had resumed broadcast operations in 1950 from Iowa City as WSUI-TV on channel 12.[7] WSUI-TV joined IEBN in 1970 to expand state-wide educational programming to eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. Soon afterward, IEBN became a charter member of PBS. By 1977 the newly renamed Iowa Public Broadcasting Network had eight full-power stations. The Iowa Public Television name was adopted in 1982. In 2003, it purchased KQCT-TV in Davenport, which repeated the programming of Quad Cities PBS station WQPT-TV in the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. The calls were changed to KQIN.

IPTV was originally run by the state's General Services Department before Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill creating the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board on May 16, 1983. In 1986 IPTV became part of the state's Cultural Affairs Department, and on July 1, 1992, IPTV became part of the Iowa Department of Education.

Combined, the nine IPTV stations reach almost all of Iowa and portions of the surrounding states of Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.


Nine full-power TV stations make up the network, all stations have callsigns beginning with a K, as licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), & ending in IN "IN" stands for Iowa Network.

Station City of license (other cities served) Channels Former Channels First air date Second letter’s
ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
KBIN-TV Council Bluffs
33 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Analog: 32 (UHF) September 7, 1975 Council Bluffs 200 kW 98 m 29108 41°15′14.6″N 95°50′8.1″W / 41.254056°N 95.835583°W / 41.254056; -95.835583 (KBIN-TV)
KDIN-TV1 Des Moines 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
Analog: 11 (VHF)
Digital: 50 (UHF)
April 27, 1959 Des Moines 22.5 kW 600 m 29102 41°48′33″N 93°36′53″W / 41.80917°N 93.61472°W / 41.80917; -93.61472 (KDIN-TV)
KHIN Red Oak 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Analog: 36 (UHF) September 7, 1975 Horizons 600 kW 475 m 29085 41°20′39.4″N 95°15′21.9″W / 41.344278°N 95.256083°W / 41.344278; -95.256083 (KHIN)
KIIN3,4 Iowa City
(Cedar Rapids)
12 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Analog: 12 (VHF)
Digital: 45 (UHF)
January 1, 1939 / February 8, 1970 Iowa City 57 kW 439 m 29095 41°43′15″N 91°20′29.4″W / 41.72083°N 91.341500°W / 41.72083; -91.341500 (KIIN)
KQIN2 Davenport 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Analog: 36 (UHF) December 16, 1991 Quad Cities 368 kW 233 m 5471 41°18′44″N 90°22′46″W / 41.31222°N 90.37944°W / 41.31222; -90.37944 (KQIN)
KRIN5 Waterloo 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Analog: 32 (UHF) December 15, 1974 WateRloo 250 kW 584 m 29114 42°18′58.4″N 91°51′31.1″W / 42.316222°N 91.858639°W / 42.316222; -91.858639 (KRIN)
KSIN-TV Sioux City 28 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
Analog: 27 (UHF) January 4, 1975 Sioux City 400 kW 348.3 m 29096 42°30′52.8″N 96°18′16″W / 42.514667°N 96.30444°W / 42.514667; -96.30444 (KSIN-TV)
KTIN Fort Dodge 25 (UHF)
Virtual: 21 (PSIP)
Analog: 21 (UHF) April 8, 1977 Television 600 kW 355 m 29100 42°49′3.1″N 94°24′42″W / 42.817528°N 94.41167°W / 42.817528; -94.41167 (KTIN)
KYIN Mason City 18 (UHF)
Virtual: 24 (PSIP)
Analog: 24 (UHF) May 14, 1977 Mason CitY 533 kW 448.5 m 29086 43°28′32″N 92°42′30″W / 43.47556°N 92.70833°W / 43.47556; -92.70833 (KYIN)


  • 1. KDIN-TV used the callsign KDPS-TV from its 1959 sign-on until 1969.
  • 2. KQIN used the callsign KQCT as a relay of Moline, Illinois-based WQPT-TV from its 1991 sign-on until it was acquired by IPTV in 2003.
  • 3. KIIN operated as W9XUI from 1939 to WW2 and then as WSUI-TV from 1950 until 1970.
  • 4. KDIN's pre-transition digital channel assignment was UHF channel 50 and KIIN's pre-transition digital channel assignment was UHF channel 45. PSIP was used to display their virtual channels as 11 and 12 respectively, corresponding to their analog channel assignments at the time. Both stations returned their digital broadcasts to their former analog channel assignments, 11 (KDIN) and 12 (KIIN) respectively on June 12, 2009. Hence the virtual channel mapping now stays with the physical RF channel assignments of KDIN and KIIN.
  • 5. The remainder of the full-power stations in the IPTV system remained on their pre-transition digital channel assignments after the digital transition, continuing to use PSIP to have the virtual channel display reflect the former analog channel assignments of the individual stations. Example: KRIN was analog channel 32 and digital channel 35 but always has, and still does, remap to virtual channel 32 via PSIP. See the "channels" column in the above table for the digital RF and virtual channel listings of the individual IPTV stations.

The network also has eight low-power repeater signals, located in Ottumwa (channel 18 K18GU-D), Keosauqua (channel 24 K24IM-D), Fort Madison (channel 28 K28JD-D), Decorah (channel 28 K28KK-D), Sibley (channel 33 K33AB), Lansing (channel 39 K39LW-D), Rock Rapids (channel 43 K43LX-D), and Keokuk (channel 44 K44AB-D).

Some of the transmitters are located a fair distance from their cities of license:

  • KIIN's transmitter, while listed as residing in Iowa City (Johnson County), is actually situated north of West Branch in Cedar County. It was moved there in 1970 from the University of Iowa campus in order to serve the entirety of eastern Iowa, including the Quad Cities, pre-dating the 2003 acquisition of KQCT/KQIN.
  • KRIN's city of license is Waterloo but its transmitter is near equidistant between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo-Cedar Falls, located on the KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids's ABC affiliate) tower in southern Buchanan County between Rowley and Walker, which also has the transmitting facilities of Cedar Rapids CBS affiliate KGAN-TV and Cedar Falls-based Iowa Public Radio station KUNI-FM, meaning half of the stations on the tower used by KRIN are licensed to Cedar Rapids while the other half are licensed to Cedar Falls or Waterloo.
  • KQIN's analog transmitter for UHF channel 36 was located in central Davenport, between the KWQC-TV studios (no connection to the station, other than giving its analog channel to KWQC for its post-transition DTV channel assignment) and the St. Ambrose University campus, near VanDerVeer Park. However, its digital transmitter for is co-located with most of the other Quad Cities market stations along US 150 in Orion, Illinois (including now former parent station WQPT), making KQIN the only IPTV station with its transmitter outside the state of Iowa.

Digital programming[edit]

The stations broadcast a multiplexed digital signal:

Channel Name Video Programming
X.1 IPTV 1080i Main IPTV Programming on PBS HD
X.2 IPTV Learns 480i PBS Kids (6am-6pm) (SD1)
Create (6pm-6am) (SD1)
X.3 IPTV World World (SD2)

Late night programming[edit]

Since August 31, 2013, IPTV has gone off-the-air nightly from midnight to 5 a.m. over-the-air due to budget concerns, reduced from a 24-hour schedule. Mediacom continues to carry the network in their markets with 24-hour programming due to their direct fiber connection from IPTV in Johnston to their Des Moines headend, which distributes the three IPTV channels statewide; the national satellite services carry the network's over-the-air signal, thus also going off the air from midnight to 5 a.m. The network hopes to restore over-the-air 24-hour service in the near future; late night programming mainly consists of the national PBS schedule.[8]


Although IPTV provides PBS programming and also coordinates several political debates during the Iowa Caucuses, it also produces original programs such as Iowa Press, a panel discussion show; and Market to Market, a nationally distributed show about agribusiness. Dan Wardell is the Host of the Children's Television block, featuring programs such as "The Big Comfy Couch" and "Sesame Street".

Friends of Iowa Public Television[edit]

In 1969, Friends of Iowa Public Television (Iowa Public Television Foundation Board) was created for the development, growth and support of IPTV through the building of a strong statewide membership base. Its 65,000 member households across Iowa and bordering states contribute nearly 90% of the out-of-pocket costs for acquiring and producing general audience programming. The envy of many PBS stations and state educational TV / radio networks, these 65,000 households continue their support of IPTV's mission to educate, enlighten and entertain.[9]


  1. ^ "Television stations authorized by the FCC, January 1, 1941". RCA Radio Travel-Log. 1941. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The FCC: Seventy-Six Years of Watching TV". FCC. Summer 2003. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Rick Plummer. "A Short History of Television Station W9XK/W9XU". Early Television Museum. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Untold Story, W9XK - Iowa City". Wartburg College. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "ISC paid for TV with Federal Funds". The Daily Iowan. 25 January 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Early Television Stations in U.S.". Early Television. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "When will SUI Get TV? Answer Rests with FCC". The Daily Iowan. 19 February 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "IPTV Schedule". IPTV. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Friends of Iowa Public Television Foundation". IPTV. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  • IPTV History from the Iowa Public Television web site, accessed April 1, 2006

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°39′50.6″N 93°42′28.2″W / 41.664056°N 93.707833°W / 41.664056; -93.707833 (Iowa Public Television)