|Slogan||The Rio Grande Valley's PBS Station|
|Channels||Digital: 38 (UHF)|
38.3 Valley Catholic Network / EWTN
|Owner||Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
(local marketing agreement with/sale to MBTV Texas Valley LLC pending)
(RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||September 1982 (as KZLN)
October 8, 1985 (as KMBH)
|Call letters' meaning||K McAllen Brownsville Harlingen|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
60 (UHF, 1985-2009)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
KMBH is a public television station in Harlingen, Texas, broadcasting locally on digital channel 38 as a PBS member station for the Rio Grande Valley. Initially licensed sometime before 1979 and signing on on October 8, 1985, the station is owned by RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc., under the aegis of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.
The first variation of PBS in the RGV launched in May 1982, as KZLN, channel 60. Prior to KZLN's arrival, PBS programming was provided to the valley's commercial stations, on a per-program basis, or via cable from KLRN in San Antonio. The station was operated by the Texas Consumer Education and Communications Development Committee, with the license held by the Diocese. KZLN suffered a lengthy delay from its original proposed sign-on of December 1979, due to lack of funds. The station's intent was to implement a bilingual schedule, which included Spanish-language programming aimed at residents of the colonias along the border. However, it soon left the air due to lack of support, with only 400 members at its peak. Three years later, the Diocese would try again, this time launching the more-successful KMBH on October 8, 1985, under the same license originally issued for KZLN.
On January 14, 2014, the Diocese announced its intention to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to convert KMBH's license to a commercial license, with the intention to sign a local marketing agreement with, and sell the station to, MBTV Texas Valley LLC; the Diocese cited the expenses of running the station. Though both KZLN and KMBH have always operated as noncommercial, public television stations, its channel allocation is not reserved for such operation—a rarity for a PBS station. The move may result in KMBH leaving PBS, though efforts will be made to keep PBS programming available in the Rio Grande Valley; KEDT, the PBS station in Corpus Christi (which itself served as the Rio Grande Valley's default PBS station before KMBH's launch), has also sought a potential purchase of the station. The proceeds from the sale will be reused to repay nearly $800,000 in grants to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Sister station KMBH-FM will not be affected by the proposed sale of KMBH television.
As of Feb 21, 2014, the facility status went from Non-Commercial Educational to Commercial.
In November 2007, the management of KMBH demanded that Bruce Lee Smith, a reporter for Harlingen's Valley Morning Star and a former volunteer for KMBH in the 1990s, reveal his confidential sources, in exchange for the station's financial records that he requested. The station would later file a police report, citing that Smith was abusive to its secretary when he requested the records, a charge that Smith denied. KMBH would soon run hourly announcements on its radio and TV stations, questioning Smith's ethics.
In August 2008, Reymundo Peña, the Bishop of Brownsville, removed three of the seven KMBH board members, without comment; in the licensee's incorporation papers, it listed Peña as the sole member of RGV Educational Broadcasting, allowing him sole discretion to appoint or dismiss board members.
KMBH carries general PBS fare, as well as some programming pertaining to the Catholic faith, including Sunday Mass, a Spanish-language Bible study program, and a Catholic family issues program. KMBH is one of at least two PBS members run by a religious organization (KBYU-TV in Provo, Utah is the other), and was formerly one of at least three PBS members owned at least in part by a Catholic-related organization (along with WXEL-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida, which was sold to a community group in 2012, and WLAE-TV in New Orleans, which left PBS in 2013). Because of the Catholic-based ownership, KMBH occasionally refuses to show programming that is contrary to the Catholic faith—one example is a 2007 Frontline documentary, "Hand of God", which dealt with sex abuse by clergymen, which the station would run at 1AM instead of its usual prime-time slot, drawing complaints from viewers in support of the program.
|38.3||480i||4:3||Valley Catholic Network / EWTN|
Unlike other stations, KMBH never used virtual PSIP channels to display their digital channel as 60.1 to reflect their analog channel number, instead displaying their digital channel as 38.1. While the FCC mandates stations to use their analog number for PSIP identification, it allows stations to identify themselves by its digital channel instead.
- About Us
- Texas Monthly (via Google Books): "Fade to Blah", September 1982.
- Texas Monthly (via Google Books): "Down in the Valley: Why Can't Juan Watch TV?", August 1979.
- FCC: Call sign history for KMBH
- Vandini, Charlene (January 15, 2014). "Owner looks to sell local PBS station". Valley Morning Star. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Sefton, Dru (January 15, 2014). "PBS member KMBH seeks operating agreement with commercial broadcaster". Current. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Vandini, Charlene (February 4, 2014). "Corpus Christi station eyes KMBH". Valley Morning Star. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Current: "CPB inquiry, deficits: more tribulations for KMBH", March 16, 2009.
- Washington Post: "PBS Weighs Separation Of Church & Stations", 5/16/2009.
- Official site
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KMBH
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KMBH-TV