|Channels||Digital: See below|
|Affiliations||.1: PBS (1970–present)|
.3: PBS Kids
.4: World Channel
|Owner||Arkansas Educational Television Commission|
First air date
|December 4, 1966|
|Facility ID||See below|
|Transmitter coordinates||See below|
Arkansas PBS is a state network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television stations serving the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is operated by the Arkansas Educational Television Commission, an agency of the state government which holds the licenses for all of the PBS member stations licensed in the state. The broadcast signals of the six stations that are part of the public television network cover almost all of the state, as well as portions of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana.
Arkansas PBS' offices and network operations are based out of the R. Lee Reaves Center for Educational Telecommunications, located adjacent to the University of Central Arkansas in Conway; its programming is distributed via a thirteen-site microwave interconnection relay system around the state, which covers most of Arkansas, as well as parts of surrounding states.
Approximately two-thirds of Arkansas PBS' funding comes from state tax dollars to support the broadcast infrastructure and all services that are provided for educators and schools. More than 10% comes from the federal government as a partial match of what is raised locally. Almost 20% comes from voluntary contributions from individual viewers and businesses.
The Arkansas Educational Television Commission was created in 1961, following a two-year legislative study to assess the need for educational television programming in Arkansas. KETS (channel 2) in Little Rock, the flagship station of what became known as the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), first signed on the air as the nation's 124th educational television station on December 4, 1966. In the early years, KETS was associated with National Educational Television, the forerunner of the current PBS. In the station's early years, KETS broadcast its programming black-and-white only, before upgrading to color capabilities in 1972. The station maintained limited hours of operation during its early years, with its programming focused primarily on instructional content for use in Arkansas schools.
For many years, KETS broadcast its signal from a transmitter tower located in Redfield; this tower collapsed on January 11, 2008, during work on adjusting guy wires. KETS's analog signal remained off the air until June 13, 2008, when a temporary analog antenna was installed at the Clear Channel Broadcasting Tower Redfield, where its digital transmitter had already originated.
After nine years of serving only Central Arkansas through KETS, AETN began to launch satellite stations between 1976 and 1980 in order to expand its coverage to virtually the entire state, becoming a full statewide network in the traditional sense. The first three satellites launched over the course of six months in 1976: KTEJ in Jonesboro signed on the air on May 1, KAFT signed on from Fayetteville on September 18 and KETG signed on from Arkadelphia on October 2, 1976; the final of the original satellites to debut was KEMV in Mountain View on November 16, 1980.
AETN's hours of operation gradually expanded over time to 24 hours a day, seven days a week as programming for general audiences was added during the evenings and on weekends. Much of south-central Arkansas was underserved by PBS programming from AETN (receiving only stations from nearby transmitters) until KETZ in El Dorado signed on the air on May 20, 2006. The five analog transmitters eventually converted to digital by mid-2009, joining KETZ (which had operated only a digital signal from launch), as part of the national digital transition.
During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, AETN became an educational resource for public school and college educators through the use of instructional videos with teacher guides and supplements for grade school classrooms, college telecourses and GED education for adults. During the mid-1990s, AETN began providing distance learning via broadcast, satellite, the Internet and compressed video to provide educational professional development as well as access for students to a wide variety of educational courses for classroom use.
AETN began creating local programming in the late 1960s and still annually produces more than 100 hours of full-length, educational and cultural programming specifically about Arkansas.
AETN refused to show the Arthur episode "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" due to the episode depicting a same-sex marriage. Later, the network decided to air the episode on an alternate channel.
On February 14, 2020, AETN announced that it would rebrand as "Arkansas PBS" on February 28, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of PBS.
|Station||City of license
(Other cities served)
(RF / VC)
|Call sign meaning||First air date||ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates||Public license information|
|Educational Television System||December 4, 1966||26.73 kW||547 m (1,795 ft)||2770||Profile|
(West Memphis, AR/
|Television Education Jonesboro||May 1, 1976||322.9 kW||310.2 m (1,018 ft)||2769||Profile|
|maybe (University of) Arkansas Fayetteville Television||September 18, 1976||37.9 kW||501.1 m (1,644 ft)||2767||Profile|
Shreveport–Bossier City, LA)
|Educational Television Gurdon (near transmitter site)||October 2, 1976||13.85 kW||319.5 m (1,048 ft)||2768||Profile|
(Mountain Home-Fairfield Bay-Harrison/
Springfield-Branson-Mountain View, MO)
|Educational Mountain View||November 16, 1980||12.1 kW||407.2 m (1,336 ft)||2777||Profile|
(The Monroes, LA/
|May 20, 2006||16.2 kW||538 m (1,765 ft)||92872||Profile|
In 2020, as a result of its role in delivering instructional television programming, Arkansas PBS was awarded $6.4 million in state CARES Act funds to build five new translators to fill gaps in the network's statewide coverage and provide a signal to an additional 23.5 percent of the state population. The first of the five transmitters, on Lee Mountain serving Russellville, was activated in June 2021.
The digital channels of Arkansas PBS' stations are multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|xx.1||720p||16:9||(callsign)-1||Main Arkansas PBS programming / PBS|
Arkansas Information Reading Service (audio only, only on SAP; radio reading service)
During 2009, in the lead-up to the analog-to-digital television transition that would ultimately occur on June 12, AETN shut down the analog transmitters of its stations on a staggered basis. Listed below are the dates each analog transmitter ceased operation as well as their post-transition channel allocations:
- KETS shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 2, on January 25, 2009. The station's digital signal was relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 5 to VHF channel 7 (the analog allocation formerly used by ABC affiliate KATV). Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.
- KTEJ shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 19, on February 17, 2009, the original date for full-power television stations in the United States to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which Congress had moved the previous month to June 12). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 20. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 19.
- KEMV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 6, 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 remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 6.
- KAFT shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 9. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 13.
- KETG shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on June 12, 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 9.
KETZ signed on in May 2006 as a digital-only station, although it also had to endure a temporary shutdown in early 2009 in final preparation for the transition.
- KATV Tower Collapses; Competitors, Comcast Try to Help, Nate Hinkel, Arkansas Business, January 11, 2008
- Simpson, Stephen (May 21, 2019). "Arkansas Educational Television Network skips 'Arthur' episode featuring same-sex marriage". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Archived from the original on September 20, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- KATV (2019-05-21). "Arkansas public TV didn't air 'Arthur' episode with gay marriage". KATV. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
- "AETN will become Arkansas PBS Feb. 28" (Press release). Conway, Arkansas: Arkansas Educational Television Commission. February 14, 2020. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
- Hibblen, Michael (June 3, 2021). "Arkansas PBS Adds First Of Five New Signals To Expand Coverage". UALR Public Radio. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
- "Arkansas PBS Signal Expansion Project FAQs" (PDF). myarkansaspbs.org. July 7, 2021. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KETS
- RabbitEars TV Query for KETZ
- RabbitEars TV Query for KEMV
- RabbitEars TV Query for KTEJ
- RabbitEars TV Query for KETG
- RabbitEars TV Query for KAFT
- FCC document: "APPENDIX B: ALL FULL-POWER TELEVISION STATIONS BY DMA, INDICATING THOSE TERMINATING ANALOG SERVICE BEFORE ON OR FEBRUARY 17, 2009."
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Arkansas Department of Human Services - Division of Services for the Blind (maintainer of AIRS)
- KETS in the FCC TV station database
- KEMV in the FCC TV station database
- KETG in the FCC TV station database
- KAFT in the FCC TV station database
- KTEJ in the FCC TV station database
- KETZ in the FCC TV station database
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KETS-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KEMV-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KETG-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KAFT-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KTEJ-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KETZ-TV