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New KCPT logo.png
Kansas City, Missouri-
Kansas City, Kansas
United States
City Kansas City, Missouri
Branding KCPT: Kansas City PBS
Channels Digital: 18 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
Owner Public Television 19, Inc.
First air date March 29, 1961; 56 years ago (1961-03-29)
Call letters' meaning Kansas City
Public Television
Sister station(s) KTBG
Former callsigns KCSD-TV (1961–1972)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 19 (UHF, 1961–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1961–1970)
Transmitter power 55 kW
Height 1,165 ft(355 m)
Facility ID 53843
Transmitter coordinates 39°4′58.7″N 94°28′50.1″W / 39.082972°N 94.480583°W / 39.082972; -94.480583Coordinates: 39°4′58.7″N 94°28′50.1″W / 39.082972°N 94.480583°W / 39.082972; -94.480583
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.kcpt.org

KCPT, virtual channel 19 (UHF digital channel 18), is a PBS member television station serving Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, United States. The station is owned by Public Television 19, Inc.. KCPT maintains studio facilities (which are shared with sister adult album alternative radio station KTBG (90.9 FM)) located on East 31st Street in Kansas City, Missouri's Union Hill section (adjacent to the transmitter tower of CBS affiliate KCTV (channel 5)), and its transmitter is located near 23rd Street and Stark Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri's Blue Valley section.

On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum and SureWest channel 11, Comcast Xfinity channel 4, and Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse channel 19.


Former KCPT logo, used from 1992 until February 9, 2016.
Live broadcast of KCPT's Ruckus Event.

The station first signed on the air on March 29, 1961 as KCSD. It was founded by the Kansas City School District, and originally operated as a member station of National Educational Television; it later became a charter member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) when it launched on October 6, 1970. The school district put the station's license up for sale in 1971. A group of civic leaders formed a nonprofit broadcasting entity called Public Television 19, Inc., and bought the license. The station changed its callsign to KCPT in January 1972. That fall, it began broadcasting PBS programs in color for the first time. In 1973, the station held its first televised auction.

In 1984, KCPT relocated its operations to facilities in the Union Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, located south of downtown Kansas City, which had originally served as the broadcast facility of KCTV (channel 5) from 1955 to 1983; that station's trademark transmission tower still rises above the building. In 2002, KCPT won a National Emmy Award for Best Documentary for Be Good, Smile Pretty, a film which documents Tracy Droz Tragos' journey to find the father she lost in Vietnam.

In 2008, KCPT began broadcasting its programming in high definition. In December 2013, KCPT gained a sister radio station when Public Television 19, Inc. finalized its purchase of KTBG (90.9 FM) in Warrensburg from the University of Central Missouri for $1.1 million, plus $550,000 in "in kind" services; the transmitter for the station would also be moved 20 miles west to adequately cover most of the Kansas City area.[1]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
19.1 720p 16:9 KCPT-1 Main KCPT programming / PBS
19.2 480i KCPT-2 PBS Encore
19.3 4:3 KCPT-3 Create
19.4 480i 16:9 KCPT-4 PBS Kids

In addition to its main channel, KCPT operates digital subchannels: KCPT2 on digital channel 19.2 offers programming from the PBS Encore service, KCPT Create on digital channel 19.3 features how-to and other instructional programming from the Create network; both subchannels launched in 2008. KCPT4 on digital channel 19.4 offers programming from PBS Kids and launched in January 2017.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KCPT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 19, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 18.[3] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 19.


In addition to carrying PBS programs and programs syndicated for public television distribution, KCPT produces local programs such as Kansas City Week in Review, Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations, the political affairs program Ruckus, Check, Please! Kansas City and The Local Show.

Some of KCPT's former on-air program hosts have included John Masterman (the host of Kansas City Illustrated) and Laurel Defoe, who joined the station from commercial outlet WDAF-TV (channel 4).


  1. ^ Mook, Ben (19 April 2013). "Kansas City pubTV buys Triple A music station". Current.org website. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCPT
  3. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links[edit]