Korean Central Television

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Korean Central Television
KCTV title.png
Ensign of Korean Central Television
Launched 3 March 1963
Owned by Government of North Korea
Picture format PAL (576i 16:9)
Country North Korea
Broadcast area National
Headquarters Pyongyang, North Korea
Formerly called Central Broadcasting Television System
(3 March 1963 – 3 January 1973)
Replaced Central Broadcasting Television System
(3 March 1963 – 3 January 1973)
Analogue Channel 3 (55.25-MHz)
Digital no
Thaicom 5 3696 H, SR 3367, FEC 2/3
Intelsat 21 3840 V, SR 27690, FEC 7/8
Streaming media
Ustream Ustream
RTSP rtsp://
Korean Central Television
Chosŏn'gŭl 조선중앙방송
Hancha 朝鮮中央放送
Revised Romanization Joseon Jung-ang Bangsong
McCune–Reischauer Chosŏn Chung'ang Pangsong

Korean Central Television (KCTV; chosongul: 조선중앙텔레비죤, Joseon Jung-ang Tellebijyon) is a state television broadcaster in North Korea, located in the capital city, Pyongyang. KCTV is the only official source of television news for North Koreans.

KCTV is part of the Korean Central Broadcasting System, the state-owned media network of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and is part of its television arm of three television stations.


KCTV was established on 1 September 1953 as Pyongyang Broadcasting Network (PBN) after the Korean War ended. Kim Il-sung personally envisioned that the time was ripe for television broadcasting in the DPRK, but this was not yet to happen. Thus, the PBN began an 8-year period of preparation for commencement of television broadcasts, with the help of the national government.

PBN was renamed as Central Broadcasting Television System (CBTS) in 1961, and conducted on 1 September the same year its first test broadcasts.

CBTS officially began operations on 3 March 1963 at 19:00 (7:00 pm) KST based in Pyongyang, broadcasting 2-hours between 19:00 (7:00 pm) until 21:00 (9:00 pm) KST on weekdays only, and then expanded to 4 and later 6 hours.

The network carried live the whole proceedings of the 5th Worker's Party of Korea Congress held on 1 October 1970.

The Kaesong Television Broadcasting Station (KTBS) was opened on 1 April 1971 (later was renamed as Korea Television Broadcasting Station (KTBS) for Korean education and culture on 1 February 1997) broadcasts 5 hours from 17:00 (5:00 pm) until 22:00 (10:00 pm) KST on weekdays.

The Mansudae Television Broadcasting Station (MTBS) was opened in December 1973 and broadcasts 4 hours between 18:00 (6:00 pm) until 22:00 (10:00 pm) KST on weekdays and on longer periods on weekends and holidays.

The Central Broadcasting Television System (CBTS) would later be renamed Korean Central Television (KCTV) and was officially relaunched at 17:00 (5:00 pm) local time on 3 January 1973 (the first working day in 1973 in North Korea).

The broadcasting hours were only on weekdays (workday in North Korea) and closed on weekends and national holidays. At the same year colour television test broadcasts started.

KCTV officially began colour television broadcasts on 1 July 1974 and broadcast the first live colour telecast in preparation for the 7th Asian Games held in Teheran via satellite transmission on 1 September 1974, the first network to do so.

KCTV was the first live colour television channel to broadcast the New Year's Eve in colour on 31 December 1974, and in 1975 began weekend broadcasts as well.

KCTV started their full-time colour broadcasts on 1 September 1977.

The first broadcast received by media telecommunication digital satellite television was the 22nd Summer Olympic Games on 19 July 1980.

KCTV started broadcasting on national holidays on 1 March 1981.

On national holidays, the broadcasting time of each station is the same as weekends save for major ones.

KCTV today[edit]

Now, KCTV broadcasts 7 to 8 hours each day from 14:30 until between 22:00 and 23:30 KST (05:30 - between 13:00 and 14:30 GMT) daily, and 15 hours from 08:30 to between 22:00 and 23:30 KST (23:30 - between 13:00 and 14:30 GMT) on weekends and key national holidays. There is another exception, for the emergency events in DPRK at night or daytime, it starts up without any announcers or the Voice of Korea interval signal. The station is still open until that event becomes normal. The station's output is dominated by propaganda programming focusing on the history and achievements of the ruling Korean Workers' Party, the Korean People's Army (KPA) and Kim Jong-il. Topics covered range from new construction projects to history lessons about the accomplishments and past of Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-sung and the juche idea. Other programs on topics such as health and education are also aired. Movies, children's programmes, and patriotic musical shows and theatre are also shown on the networks. On national holidays, military parades, musical performances and movies, plus more special programs are shown on all three networks.

The following illustrates part of a typical day's broadcasting on KCTV on weekdays:

Broadcast time Broadcast programmes Approximate broadcast durations
Welcome to KCTV at 17:00 KST (08:00 GMT)
16:30-17:00 Test Pattern with digital clock and multiple elements including colour bars, resolution grids and other markings (the audio is music – usually classical or patriotic – and clock ident with the melody of the "Song of General Kim Il-sung" as time signal) 30 minutes
17:00-17:10 National anthem, introduction announcement, "Song of General Kim Il-sung" (instrumental version) & "Song of General Kim Jong-il" (instrumental version), television listings 10 minutes
17:10-17:20 Revolutionary activities of Kim Jong-un 10 minutes
17:20-17:25 Today's Press Review (오늘호 보도중에서) 5 minutes
17:25-17:30 Children's Broadcast time (cartoons, anecdotes of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, etc.) 5 minutes
17:30-18:00 Sitcom (usually revolutionary or daily life themed) 30 minutes
18:00-18:20 Sports 20 minutes
18:20-18:40 Military show (chorus, parade, exercises, etc.); also includes the military comedy show It's So Funny 20 minutes
18:40-19:00 Law enforcement 20 minutes
19:00-19:25 News ("Report", 보도 –Podo–) 25 minutes
19:25-19:30 Weather forecast 5 minutes
19:30-20:00 Music video 30 minutes
20:00-21:00 Drama 1 hour
21:00-22:30 Movie 90 minutes
22:30-22:45 Late news 15 minutes
22:40-22:45 Weather forecast 5 minutes
22:45-23:00 Music videos 15 minutes
23:00-23:10 TV listings for tomorrow, sign-off announcement, national flag 10 minutes
23:10-16:30 Fade Out Black, 8-bar Test Pattern with 1 kHz tone (tone but still black screen starts about 1.5 minutes after black screen start and lasts about 10 seconds at which point RF signal is completely cut; RF transmission begins again 21 minutes later the content of this transmission is bars+tone; bars without tone starts 1.25 minutes before beginning of next programme cycle) 18 hours and 20 minutes

Time zone for programing is UTC+09:00 at Korea Standard Time

News programs[edit]

Newsreaders wear the same outfit every day, though they may vary in color (black and blue for male newsreaders and green and pink for female), and have the same haircut for everyone of the same gender. Newscasters must strongly project their voices when on air. Newscasts start typically with a blank red or blue slide, followed by a slow fade to the anchor. The set has the background of Pyongyang with the Taedong river. Nowadays even Mt. Baekdu or another view of Pyongyang is used as the background for the newscasts; however, a newer studio was introduced in September 2012, including a background LCD panel (paid by the Chinese official TV station CCTV) where live images (such as a revolving globe or the flag of North Korea) are shown. This technological advancement allows live reportages, though it has not been used for that purpose.

North Korean newscasts were long known for being melodramatic. Newsreaders use one of four tones—a lofty, wavering one for praising the nation's leaders, an explanatory one for weather forecasts, a conversational one for uncontroversial stories and one denouncing the West. Many North Korean journalists who have defected to the South have noted the contrasts with the more conversational South Korean broadcasting style. Longtime chief newsreader Ri Chun-hee was well known for her melodramatic style.[1]

Program schedule[edit]

Programs have no set time at which to air due to a lack of commercials (The programming is not pegged to air at every half hour, hour, etc.). However, starting programs at odd times is a common procedure on all European television channels and also widespread across other Asian channels.

  • Test card – They air testcards, simulcasting the Voice of Korea at some intervals.
  • Imported syndicated programming – KCTV dubs all dialogue and will plaster it on top of the original soundtrack.
  • Movies – They are usually rated PG or R or their equivalents and are not intended for younger viewers.

Viewing outside DPRK[edit]

KCTV was broadcast free-to-air on Thaicom 5 on 1 August 2010, so with the appropriate equipment can be picked up in Southeast Asia, Australasia, Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The daily KCTV news bulletin is also distributed online with Japanese subtitle through a Chongryon-supported website.

KCTV is also available to view via a stream (See links in InfoBox).


There are 5 idents broadcast daily since 1980.

  • Startup ident: The violet background with KCTV's logo flying in, followed by the Chosŏn'gŭl characters 오늘의 순서 (oneului sunseo, literally translated as "Order of the day", with the welcome voice-over at broadcast after the music and before the programme schedule in the sign-on sequences.
  • News ident: The blue background with KCTV's logo and Juche Tower flying in slowly and Korean text, without voice-over it was originally broadcast only at 17:00-17:10, 19:00-19:10 & 22:30-22:40 KST.
  • Closedown ident: Same as startup ident with good night voice over and in the blue background followed by the program schedule.

Logo history[edit]

  • The first KCTV logo had the flame from the Juche Tower and the word "Choson" (Korea) in it. It was launched in 1996.
  • KCTV introduced a second logo (a restyling of the previous one) in August 2012. The new logo incorporates a three-dimensional Juche Tower flame and updated font.

The new logo as of August 2012.


From 2012 the news intro uses the Juche Tower and a revolving globe before the news logo appears, with the introduction from the song "Might of Korea" as background music. The late-night version uses slow instrumental music played on a traditional Korean instrument. The main 20:00 news and 22:30 late news programme intros were updated again in 2014, with the same musical background but with a new logo and graphics. The introduction begins with the map of the world, zooming into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), then a wall of clips from the station's news programming including one of the country's mass parades, a rocket launch, scenes from farming and industries, and several sports. The introduction ends with the Earth wrapped around a band of the flag of North Korea and the Korean characters (보도) for "Report".

Test Card[edit]

There are minor test card changes from time-to-time.

Closing and opening times[edit]

  • Daily:
    • Sign-on : 14:30 until between 22:00 and 23:10 KST (8 hours and 30 minutes)
    • Sign-off : between 22:00 and 23:10 until 14:30 KST (17-hours and 30 minutes)
  • Weekends:
    • Sign-on : 08:30 until between 22:00 and 23:30 KST (14 hours and 10 minutes)
    • Sign-off : between 22:00 and 23:30 until 08:30 KST (9 hours and 50 minutes)


The station began its first colour broadcasts on 1 July 1974 follows the PAL system with 576i scanning lines.

In 1980, North Korea started relay reception by a communication satellite television.

In March 2012 the news readers began presenting news items in front of a computer-generated background. A graphic to accompany the story appears above the right or left shoulder — a style almost universally used in other countries by that time. When the report begins the graphic moves forward to fill the screen.

In September 2012, China Central Television, the government-run broadcaster of China, donated about US$800,000 of equipment to help improve its news broadcast. Since then news were shown with a screen panel that shows images and videos in movement.[2]

No information is available on Korean Central Television's transmission sites.

Official, government-sanctioned and -operated television stations are the only ones that citizens are allowed to watch. Any televisions acquired by citizens are altered by the government beforehand, to receive only the official channels. This includes a tamper-evident seal which will show if the television's owner has attempted to tamper with components of the television. This is seen as evidence of that person attempting to receive foreign television from China, South Korea or Japan, and if discovered, the owner is subject for harsh penalties including imprisonment in one of North Korea's many forced-labour concentration camps.[3]

Obtaining schedules[edit]

Schedules are published in the Rodong Sinmun, Minju Choson, Pyongyang Sinmun, Rimjingang and Korean Central News Agency (Chosun Tongsin).

Notable Anchors[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]