KUAT-TV

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KUAT-TV
The PBS logo in black next to a sans-serif 6 in black.
Channels
BrandingPBS 6
Programming
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
March 8, 1959 (63 years ago) (1959-03-08)
Former call signs
KUAT (1959–1967)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 6 (VHF, 1959–2009)
Call sign meaning
University of Arizona Television[2] or University of Arizona Tucson
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID2731
ERP667.5 kW
HAAT1,092.1 m (3,583 ft)
Transmitter coordinates32°24′55.4″N 110°42′54.2″W / 32.415389°N 110.715056°W / 32.415389; -110.715056
Translator(s)K20GG-D Duncan
Links
Public license information
Websitewww.azpm.org
Satellite station
KUAS-TV
  • Tucson, Arizona (Tumamoc Hill)
  • United States
Channels
Programming
SubchannelsSame subchannels as KUAT-TV
Ownership
Owner
  • University of Arizona
  • (Arizona Board of Regents for the benefit of the University of Arizona)
History
First air date
July 22, 1988 (34 years ago) (1988-07-22)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 27 (UHF, 1988–2009)
  • DT2:
  • V-me (2007–2011)
  • DT3:
  • Create (until 2011)[1]
Call sign meaning
University of Arizona Secondary
Technical information
Facility ID2722
ERP50 kW
HAAT177.9 m (584 ft)
Transmitter coordinates32°12′53.2″N 111°0′23.3″W / 32.214778°N 111.006472°W / 32.214778; -111.006472 (KUAS-TV)
Links
Public license information

KUAT-TV (channel 6) is a PBS member television station in Tucson, Arizona, United States. It is the television station of the University of Arizona (UA) and broadcasts from studios in the Modern Languages Building on the UA campus. Two high-power transmitters broadcast its programming: KUAT-TV itself on Mount Bigelow and KUAS-TV (channel 27) on Tumamoc Hill, west of downtown Tucson, which provides coverage to northwest Tucson and communities west of Mount Lemmon that are shielded from the Mount Bigelow transmitter. There is also a translator in Duncan. KUAT-TV and the UA's radio stations, KUAT-FM and KUAZ, are grouped under the unified brand of Arizona Public Media (AZPM).

KUAT-TV is the oldest public television station in the state, beginning broadcasts in 1959. In addition to airing national PBS and public television programming, it produces several local shows focusing on southern Arizona life and issues.

History[edit]

Tucson had been allocated noncommercial educational channel 6 in 1952, but it was not until 1958 that the UA prepared an application to build a television station to use it. It proposed to initially broadcast two hours a night, five nights a week.[3] The university had already remodeled Herring Hall to house radio and television studios,[4] with the latter occupying a space once used as part of a gymnasium and auditorium.[5] Filed on April 3, the application and permit were granted on July 16,[6] sending $40,000 of Ford Foundation monies the university's way to begin construction.[7] After the university rejected the first two bids for the job as too high and re-bid the task out,[8][9] the tower was erected in November to support the antenna for the new station;[10] while that happened, the university made its first telecast—a closed-circuit event in which a pharmacology class watched a demonstration of blood pressure techniques.[11]

The first test pattern went out on February 6,[12] and KUAT launched on March 8, 1959, as the first public television station in Arizona.[13] It was an affiliate of National Educational Television (NET), forerunner to PBS, from 1959 through 1970, when PBS replaced NET.[14] In addition to university programs, the Tucson Unified School District was part of its operation, with a weekly show summarizing school activities.[15] That fall, the first daytime educational broadcasts were made, consisting of university classes.[16]

In 1964, the university prepared an expansion of the initial anemic facility, which had an effective radiated power of just 944 watts.[6] The university applied to move its transmitter to Tumamoc Hill, which would increase coverage from a 21-mile (34 km) to a 65-mile (105 km) radius, and new studios were planned in the forthcoming Modern Languages Building.[17] The Federal Aviation Administration approved the tower site,[18] but the university decided to relocate its main transmitter to Mount Bigelow, already in use by the three commercial stations in town, after protests from the Air Line Pilots Association over the proximity of the mast to the Tucson International Airport.[19] The new studios and transmitter would be color-capable.[20] The Arizona Board of Regents approved the plans in April 1967,[21] and color transmission from the new studios and transmitter began on October 1, 1968.[22] In preparation, K71BQ, a channel 71 translator, was built at the Tumamoc Hill site to serve neighborhoods in northwest Tucson that are shaded from Mount Bigelow by terrain.[23] A day before the color conversion, on September 30, 1968, the University of Arizona returned to radio for the first time since the 1920s after receiving the donation of KFIF (1550 AM), which became KUAT (and is now KUAZ), from John Walton.[22] In 1977, construction work began on a satellite dish in a vacant swimming pool south of the Bear Down Gymnasium, allowing the station to receive PBS programming via satellite.[24]

In the 1980s, KUAT upgraded its service to the northwest side. As early as 1982, plans existed to replace K71BQ with a higher-power translator on channel 27.[25] This became reality as K27AT in December 1985.[26] As channel 27 had been designated for noncommercial full-power use, the university filed to build out a full-power facility on channel 27 in 1985; this was completed as KUAS-TV in July 1988.[27] In 1994, KUAT-TV launched the UA Channel, a public access channel featuring university content and lectures.[27]

After the university received a $671,000 grant,[28] the two transmitters were converted to digital in 2002 and 2003, with KUAS-TV on Tumamoc Hill being switched first and becoming the first digital television service in Tucson.[29][27] The Arizona Public Media umbrella name for KUAT radio and television was adopted in 2008.[27]

Steep budget cuts to higher education in Arizona strongly affected Arizona Public Media's budget during the Great Recession, as 26 percent of it came from the university. Arizona Illustrated, a formerly daily program, converted to being taped three times a week, alongside other cost-cutting measures.[30] After providing $2.6 million in cash to AZPM in the 2013–2014 school year, the University of Arizona planned cuts for 2014–2015 of $400,000 and continued cuts until 2019.[31]

In 2021, the UA announced it was exploring the construction of a new $45 million complex for AZPM south of the campus at The Bridges, home to a UA tech park, having already raised 75 percent of the projected cost without launching a public campaign.[32]

Logos[edit]

Former logo with the PBS ident from 1998 to 2008. The KUAT "letter shapes" had debuted in print ads in 1981 and first appeared onscreen in station IDs in early 1982. The logo was retired and replaced with a “PBS 6” logo in 2014.

Local programming[edit]

In 1980, KUAT began producing Arizona Illustrated, its flagship weekly newsmagazine on local public affairs issues, at a time when its local program production was seen as minimal outside of Tucson city council meetings.[33] Initially aired daily, it evolved from a features show to a news and analysis program.[34] University students handle most of the production of Arizona Illustrated, providing them with valuable hands-on experience.[30]

No longer produced but still in reruns on some PBS stations is The Desert Speaks, co-produced with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum from 1990 to 2018. It was the successor to a previous program that aired on KVOA and later KOLD-TV, which had been in production since 1953.[35]

In 2007, KUAT produced the documentary Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice, which became the first of the station's productions to air nationally on PBS.[27]

Technical information[edit]

Subchannels[edit]

The stations' signals carry the same multiplex of subchannels:

Subchannels of KUAT-TV[36] and KUAS-TV[37]
Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming
6.1 / 27.1 720p 16:9 PBS HD PBS
6.2 / 27.2 480i 4:3 KIDS PBS Kids
6.3 / 27.3 PBS 6+ PBS 6 Plus

When KUAT and KUAS first began digital broadcasting, they did not carry all the same subchannels. Initially, four subchannels were broadcast during the day and then closed down to allow the transmission of one high-definition channel.[29]

With the dropping of PBS Kids in 2005, KUAT programmed its own children's channel, KUAT Kids.[1] On 6.3, V-me started broadcasting on November 30, 2007, while .1 and .2 were PBS in high and standard definition.[38] On December 1, 2011, the station's affiliation with Create was dropped for an independent lifestyle channel branded Ready TV.[39][1]

On October 11, 2016, AZPM began broadcasting the same subchannels from both transmitters. V-me moved to cable only from 6.2, making way for PBS Kids from the Mount Bigelow transmitter, while the UA Channel became an online-only service. ReadyTV and World programming would share the same channel .3 and while PBS Kids would be on .2.[40] In 2017, the third subchannel was changed again, this time to a new complementary service known as PBS 6 Plus.[41]

Analog-to-digital transition[edit]

While Arizona Public Media had intended to shut off the analog signals of both KUAT-TV and KUAS-TV on June 12, 2009, the national digital transition date, KUAT-TV was removed from analog service 10 weeks earlier than expected on March 31 due to damage to the analog equipment on Mount Bigelow.[42] The stations' digital signals remained on their pre-transition UHF channels 30 and 28, respectively, using virtual channels 6 and 27.[43] The KUAS-TV transmitter was used as part of the SAFER Act to broadcast transition information announcements.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sefton, Dru (June 11, 2012). "Multicasts tailored to local priorities". Current. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "KUAT—That's UA TV Signal". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. August 30, 1958. p. 5. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Riddick, John (May 3, 1958). "UA Will Make Classroom Out Of Tucson With TV". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 3. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "UA Granted Permission To Build Video Station". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. May 3, 1958. p. 4B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Caldwell, June (April 17, 1959). "Young Crew Staffs Young TV Station". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1C. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b FCC History Cards for KUAT-TV
  7. ^ "University TV Station Approved: FCC Authorizes Channel 6 Use". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. July 17, 1958. p. 5A. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "University TV Tower Bids High". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. September 6, 1958. p. 10. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Lang Will Build UA's TV Tower". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. October 16, 1958. p. 26. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "New Landmark Rises: Video Antenna Is Installed On Campus". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. November 20, 1958. p. 1B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "UA To Put Its New TV Station To Work On Closed Circuit". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. December 10, 1958. p. 7C. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "University TV Station On The Air". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. February 6, 1959. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "KUAT TV Takes Air Sunday: Regular Programs Starting Monday". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. March 5, 1959. p. 1B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "TV Goes Educational". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. March 7, 1959. p. On the Town 16. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Caldwell, June (April 24, 1959). "KUAT's New, And Thriving, Too..." Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1C. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "UA Will Offer Courses Via TV: Subject In Chemistry, Spanish, Art Will Be Taught On Video In Daytime". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. August 2, 1959. p. 21. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "For 65-Mile Radius: UA Seeks TV Expansion". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. November 21, 1964. p. 11. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Proposed UA TV Tower Given Okay". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. June 14, 1965. p. 27. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "KUAT Seeks To Move Tower To Mt. Bigelow Location". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. January 4, 1966. p. 5A. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Thomas, Bob (June 23, 1966). "Coverage Expanded: University's TV To Add Color". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Cowgill, Pete (April 9, 1967). "Approved By Regents: KUAT Receives Full Color OK". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 5A. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ a b "Color Broadcast Slated At University Station: First Offering Planned Oct. 1". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. September 20, 1968. p. 23. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "KUAT Using Channel 71 Translator". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. February 22, 1968. p. 18. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "Television shows via satellite soon reality for Channel 6". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. April 6, 1978. p. 11B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "KUAT to clear up its signal for hard-to-reach viewers". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. January 27, 1982. p. 11B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ "Northwest Siders: KUAT now on Channel 27". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. December 13, 1985. p. 4D. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ a b c d e "Celebrating Sixty Years of Service". Arizona Public Media. Archived from the original on 2019-04-14. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  28. ^ Vitu, Teya (October 16, 2001). "Grant upgrades KUAT towers". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1B, 3B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ a b Vandeveire, Mary (September 16, 2003). "Digital comes to local TV channels". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. A1, A9. Archived from the original on July 1, 2022. Retrieved July 1, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ a b Gay, Gerald M. (April 5, 2009). "KUAT deals with cuts, focuses on content". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. E6–7. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Alaimo, Carol Ann (June 17, 2014). "Public broadcaster faces steep UA funding cut". Arizona Daily Star. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  32. ^ Palmer, Kathryn (September 9, 2021). "UA looks to build $45 million facility for Arizona Public Media". Arizona Daily Star. Archived from the original on September 13, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  33. ^ Stern, Sherry (August 29, 1980). "KUAT to finally 'illustrate' what's going on in Arizona". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. 8C. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Sorenson, Dan (October 7, 1986). "'Arizona Illustrated': More news analysis and a new set at Tucson's venue for news junkies". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1D, 3D. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ Flick, A.J. (February 2, 2000). "The Desert Speaks: KUAT-TV series celebrates 10 years of broadcasts around the world". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. p. 1B, 3B. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ "RabbitEars TV query for KUAT-TV". rabbitears.info. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  37. ^ "RabbitEars TV query for KUAS-TV". rabbitears.info. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  38. ^ Schuster, John (November 29, 2007). "Media Watch". Tucson Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  39. ^ Schuster, John (December 1, 2011). "Media Watch: AZPM Switches Alternate Channel". Tucson Weekly. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  40. ^ "Changes to AZPM Television Channel Lineup". AZPM. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  41. ^ "Arizona Public Media Launches New 24-Hour Lifestyle Channel". Arizona Public Media. June 30, 2017. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  42. ^ Gibson, Jack (March 30, 2009). "KUAT's Channel 6 switching to digital 10 weeks early". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. A15. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. May 23, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  44. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2012.

External links[edit]