Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
|Slogan||The Oklahoma Network
(also the name of OETA's production/syndication unit)
|Channels||Digital: see table below|
|Owner||Oklahoma Educational Television Authority|
|First air date||April 13, 1956|
|Former affiliations||NET (1956-1970)|
The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (or OETA) is a state network of PBS member stations covering the state of Oklahoma. Operated by an independent board mostly appointed by The Governor, who serve along with university and education officials. The board is linked to the executive branch through the Secretary of Education of the Government of Oklahoma. OETA state network's main offices and production facilities are located on North Kelley Avenue in Oklahoma City (adjacent to the studios of that market's CBS affiliate KWTV-DT), with a satellite studio in Tulsa on the campus of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa.
OETA is available on all cable television providers within the state of Oklahoma, including Cox Communications (which services the Oklahoma City, Norman and Tulsa areas). DirecTV and Dish Network also offer OETA on their local station packages (KETA is carried on both providers in the Oklahoma City market, KOED in the Tulsa market and KOET for subscribers in the Fort Smith, Arkansas market).
OETA traces its history to 1953, when the Oklahoma Legislature created it via statute. It was charged with providing educational television programming to Oklahomans on a coordinated statewide basis, made possible with cooperation from the state's educational, government and cultural agencies. After securing a license from the Federal Communications Commission and funding from various special interest groups Oklahoma City's KETA was finally able to sign on the air as the nation's 11th educational television station (and the first non-commercial station in Oklahoma) on April 13, 1956. It was originally a member station of National Educational Television, until NET was replaced by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1970, taking over many of the functions of its predecessor.
Three more stations signed on the course of nineteen years (with a statewide network of translators also being built during this timeframe), extending OETA's programming to portions of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. A satellite station of KETA in Tulsa, KOED-TV (channel 11), went on the air on January 12, 1959. When KOED began operations, OETA became the second operational educational television state network in the United States (after the present-day Alabama Public Television). On December 1, 1977, KOET (channel 3) in Eufaula joined the state network as a satellite of KOED-TV, in order to serve areas of east-central Oklahoma (in some areas of that portion of the state, KOET's over-the-air signal overlaps with that of KOED, and in other areas with KETA's signal). Finally, on August 6, 1978, KWET (channel 12) in Cheyenne signed on to serve west-central and southwestern Oklahoma, and a small portion of the eastern Texas Panhandle.
OETA's full-power stations cover roughly 80% of Oklahoma's geographic population. The only parts of Oklahoma that are not served by a full-power OETA member station are the panhandle, and the northwestern, south-central and southeastern parts of the state – low-power translators that relay the individual feeds of each of the four full-power member stations service these areas of Oklahoma instead. In 2003, the four OETA member stations began broadcasting their digital signals; in 2005, OETA began broadcasting select PBS programs in high definition; in 2006, the organization launched a full-time digital channel, OETA OKLA, devoted to local and regional programs, along with select PBS content. In December 2008, OETA began producing most of its locally produced productions in high definition.
As part of the digital television transition, on February 17, 2009 (the original date for all U.S. full-power television stations to switch to digital-only broadcasts), KETA and KOED turned off their analog signals. This was followed six weeks later on March 31, 2009, by the shutdown of KWET and KOET's analog signals. All the low-power translator stations then switched to digital-only broadcast on June 12, 2009 (the rescheduled date for the switch to digital broadcasts on full-power stations). In March 2011, OETA moved its Tulsa operations into a new facility on the campus of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa.
Purchase of KAUT
In 1991, OETA acquired Oklahoma City Fox affiliate KAUT-TV (channel 43) from Heritage Broadcasting in a trade deal with KOKH (channel 25) that saw Heritage acquire KAUT's Fox affiliation, syndicated programming inventory and other intellectual property, in addition to acquiring the channel 25 license. On August 15, 1991, channel 43 flipped to a non-commercial educational programming format as a PBS member station (the second in the area after OETA flagship KETA-TV); the following year, the station's callsign changed to KTLC to reflect its on-air branding as "The Literacy Channel" (a relatively oxymoronic branding as the station's emphasis, while educational in form, was not entirely focused on literacy). As a PBS station, KTLC ran fitness programs on weekday mornings, and instructional programs and select PBS series during the late evening hours, with children's programs filling much of the schedule from mid-morning to early evening. Much of the PBS programs seen on the station during this time frame were rebroadcast from OETA.
The deal was similar to a 1988 sale attempt by Pappas Telecasting Companies, which proposed that KGMC (channel 34, now KOCB) and KAUT's programming inventories – along with KAUT's Fox affiliation – would be moved to KOKH, with KOCB becoming a Home Shopping Network affiliate, while KAUT became an educational station. The Pappas deal fell through in 1989, and the three stations continued on as rival independents until 1991, when Heritage traded KAUT to OETA. KTLC reduced its broadcasting hours under OETA ownership, signing off nightly at 12 a.m. following OETA's own scheduled sign-off on weeknights at the time; the station's weekend schedule (which maintained the same broadcast hours as on weekdays) was pared back significantly in 1995, as the station now broadcast from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. (on local cable, Cox Communications ran both KTLC and QVC on channel 13 – with the cable channel being shown during KTLC's off-hours – the channel 13 cable frequency that KTLC/QVC broadcast on received significant interference from KETA's analog signal on VHF channel 13). The difficulties in running two stations in the Oklahoma City market resulted in OETA's decision to put channel 43 up for sale;
Paramount Stations Group purchased KTLC for $23.5 million on January 8, 1998, with OETA using the proceeds from the sale to fund the construction of its digital broadcast transmitter. Paramount's purchase of the station resulted from UPN's displacement from KOCB (which left Oklahoma City without a UPN affiliate for six months) due to a 1997 affiliation agreement between its owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and The WB Television Network to switch its five UPN affiliates to The WB, with KOCB joining The WB on January 25, 1998. Paramount reverted the station back into a general entertainment station as the market's new UPN affiliate KPSG on June 19, 1998 (the station was originally slated to join UPN on June 1, technical difficulties postponed the rescheduled June 13 switch by one more week). As a condition of the sale, channel 43 was required to run eight-hour simulcast blocks of OETA's annual pledge drives each weekend during March and August for five years, and PBS educational shows from 7 a.m. to noon after joining UPN – the station however dropped all PBS programming by 2001 (KAUT-TV is now an independent station owned by Local TV).
|Station||City of license||Channels
|First air date||Call letters’
|Facility ID||Transmitter Coordinates|
|KETA-TV||Oklahoma City||32 (UHF)
|April 13, 1956||Oklahoma
|1000 kW||465.2 m||50205|
|January 12, 1959||Oklahoma
|1000 kW||395.8 m||66195|
|December 1, 1977||Oklahoma
|1000 kW||364.1 m||50198|
|August 6, 1978||Western Oklahoma
|30 kW||303.2 m||50194|
Direct repeaters of KETA:
- K38AK-D in Ponca City
- K30AE-D in Alva
- K28AC-D in Ardmore
- K47KI-D in Duncan
- K46AI-D in Durant
- K36AB-D in Lawton
- K46AH-D in Medford
Direct repeaters of KOET:
Direct repeaters of KWET:
- K19AA-D in Altus
- K20IT-D in Boise City
- K34IN-D in Beaver
- K48KE-D in Buffalo
- K34IM-D in Frederick
- K16AB-D in Guymon
OETA does not operate any translator stations in northeastern Oklahoma that repeat the signal of KOED-TV, as that region receives adequate over-the-air signal coverage from KOED and KOET, coupled with the fact that the signals of fellow PBS member stations KOZJ/Joplin, Missouri and KAFT/Fayetteville, Arkansas overlap into portions of northeastern Oklahoma, including some areas covered by the signals of KOED-TV and KOET.
OETA's translator network also reaches into portions of Kansas and Texas, while KOET's over-the-air signal reaches parts of Western Arkansas and is carried by Cox Cable in Fort Smith on channel 9 (Eufaula is part of the Fort Smith television market). Some of the donations for OETA's Festival and AugustFest pledge drives come from those states.
The digital channels of OETA's main full-power stations are multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|xx.1||1080i||16:9||OETA-HD||Main OETA programming / PBS|
OETA operates two additional channels that were originally carried as the third and fourth digital subchannels of all four of OETA's full-power digital stations, OETA Kids and OETA Create. In 2008, the two channels began operating strictly as cable-only services and are available in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets on Cox Communications's digital cable service in these areas – available at minimum as part of Cox's limited basic programming tier along with OETA's standard definition and high definition feeds and other over-the-air stations in the respective markets. OETA restored the OETA Create and OETA Kids services to all four of its full-power digital stations on November 13, 2013, operating on the third and fourth digital subchannels of each station.
OETA is one of several PBS member stations or networks to distribute programming for syndication to PBS's member stations through the network's production unit, OETA: The Oklahoma Network. It has distributed The Lawrence Welk Show since September 1986, after that series left commercial syndication, and has also produced specials featuring clips from the program; reruns of Lawrence Welk have since become OETA's most-watched program. OETA also distributes the newsmagazine The Kalb Report, hosted by Marvin Kalb.
Locally produced programming on the state network, includes the OETA Movie Club (a weekend evening showcase of classic movies from the 1930s to the 1980s that has been hosted by B.J. Wexler since it first aired in 1988), Oklahoma Forum (a public affairs program featuring topics related to the Oklahoma state legislature), Stateline (which deals with issues important to Oklahoma and also the United States), and Gallery (which focuses on Oklahoma's art community). Past programs produced by OETA include OKC Metro (an interview program hosted by former Oklahoma News Report anchor Gerry Bonds that ran from 1995 to 2010) and Tulsa Times (a newsmagazine series that ran from 1995 to 2009, focusing on issues and events concerning the Tulsa area).
Until 2010, OETA ran a heavy amount of instructional programming each weekday (totaling 17½ hours by 2005), instructional programming now runs largely on the cable-only OETA Create, which carries programming from PBS's instructional and distance education network Create.
The state network was one of the few remaining broadcast stations that had yet to switch to a 24-hour broadcast schedule, OETA signed-off at midnight on Sunday through Thursday evenings, and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays until it switched to a 24-hour schedule in April 2006. Prior to then, many cable providers around the state such as Cox Communications filled hours when OETA was not broadcasting regular programming on its over-the-air signals with shows from the national feed of PBS. Since the transition to a 24-hour schedule, OETA broadcasts the national feed's programming over-the-air during the overnight hours.
OETA is one of only a handful of PBS stations that produces a local or regional news program. The Oklahoma News Report, which has aired since 1976 – originally broadcast as a weeknightly newscast, is anchored by Dick Pryor, Angela Rosecrans and Lis Exon. The newscast features reports from its offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OETA's Stateline and Gallery units, the State Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. For many years, the program incorporated reports from OETA's own reporting staff with clips of news reports from news-producing commercial television stations in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. From 1976 to 2011, the newscast aired Monday through Fridays (except on Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day).
As a weeknightly program, the Oklahoma News Report more closely resembled the evening news programs seen on the major networks in format. It never featured a sports segment within the newscast, but occasionally featured sports related stories. The newscast regularly featured a stock market segment featuring the day's closing numbers of the Dow Jones and NASDAQ markets, and stocks for Oklahoma-based businesses (such as Kerr-McGee, ConocoPhillips and Sonic Drive-In). In July 2010, the program eliminated its daily weather segment (presented for years by meteorologist Ross Dixon), with weather only being covered in the program if it was a news story.
On July 1, 2011, the Oklahoma News Report ended its existence as a five-night-a-week general news program, citing a 9% cut in OETA's budget by the Oklahoma state legislature, the newscast's longtime 6:30 p.m. timeslot was replaced with the PBS NewsHour as part of a shuffling of OETA's early evening news block due to the removal of ONR as a weeknight newscast; ONR transitioned into a weekly newsmagazine on July 15, 2011, airing on weekends with its primary airings on Friday nights.
Local program hosts
- Oklahoma News Report
- Dick Pryor - Anchor
- Steve Bennett - general assignment reporter
- Robert Burch - general assignment reporter
- Susan Miller - general assignment reporter
- Bob Sands - general assignment reporter
- Lis Exon - general assignment reporter/Tulsa News Manager
- Blair Waltman - general assignment reporter
- Aaron Byrd
- Tim Carson
- Ilea Shutler
- Edwin Wilson
- Oklahoma Forum
- Dick Pryor - host/moderator
- A Conversation With...
- Dick Pryor - host
- The People's Business
- Bob Sands - host
- Writing Out Loud
- Teresa Miller - host
- KOKH-TV Fox 25 to Challenge Major Network Affiliates, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), August 23, 1991.
- KOKH, KAUT to Change Operations on Thursday, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), August 13, 1991.
- UPN offers highest bid for KTLC, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), December 22, 1997.
- Slicing up television pie, The Journal Record (via Questia Online Library), January 20, 1998.
- OETA to sell KTLC-43 to Paramount Stations, The Journal Record, January 8, 1998.
- WB woos and wins Sinclair, Broadcasting & Cable, July 21, 1997.
- UPN returns on Saturday, The Journal Record, June 19, 1998.
- Channel 43 sale completed, The Journal Record, July 22, 1998.
- [dead link]
- OETA changes nightly ‘Oklahoma News Report' to weekly show, NewsOK.com, June 29, 2011.
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture: OETA
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KETA
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOED
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KOET
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KWET
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K15AA-D
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K16AB
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K19AA
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K20IT
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K23HY
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K28AC
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K30AE
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K34IM
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K34IN
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K36AB
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K38AK
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K46AH
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K46AI
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K47KI
- Query the FCC's TV station database for K48KE
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KETA-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOED-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KOET-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KWET-TV