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TacomaSeattle, Washington
United States
CityTacoma, Washington
SloganExplore your world
ChannelsDigital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 28 (PSIP)
OwnerBates Technical College
First air dateSeptember 25, 1961 (58 years ago) (1961-09-25)
Call sign meaningBates Technical College
Former call signsKTPS (1961–1992)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 62 (UHF, 1961–1982)
  • 28 (UHF, 1982–2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1961–1970)
Transmitter power100 kW
575 kW (application)
Height220 m (722 ft)
231 m (758 ft) (application)
Facility ID62469
Transmitter coordinates47°16′43.4″N 122°30′46.4″W / 47.278722°N 122.512889°W / 47.278722; -122.512889
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
(satellite of KBTC-TV)
Centralia, Washington
United States
Brandingsee KBTC-TV infobox
Slogansee KBTC-TV infobox
ChannelsDigital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 15 (PSIP)
  • 15.1: PBS
  • 15.2: NHK World
  • 15.3: FNX
  • 15.4: TVW
OwnerBates Technical College
First air dateOctober 2, 1982 (37 years ago) (1982-10-02)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 15 (UHF, 1982–2009)
Transmitter power
  • 187 kW
  • 353 kW (application)
Height347 m (1,138 ft)
Facility ID62468
Transmitter coordinates46°33′15″N 123°3′30″W / 46.55417°N 123.05833°W / 46.55417; -123.05833 (KCKA)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information
satellite of KBTC-TV) Profile

satellite of KBTC-TV) CDBS

KBTC-TV, virtual channel 28 (UHF digital channel 27), is a secondary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station serving Seattle, Washington, United States that is licensed to Tacoma. The station is owned by Bates Technical College. KBTC-TV's transmitter is located on 35th Street in northwest Tacoma. The station's studios are located on the college's central campus on South 19th Street in Tacoma; the property was purchased from KSTW (channel 11) when the then-UPN owned-and-operated station (now a CW O&O) moved to Renton in 2001.

KBTC-TV's programming is also repeated on low-powered translators K41KT-D (channel 16) in Grays River (serving the inland areas of Wahkiakum and Pacific counties, and northern Clatsop County, Oregon) and K18NJ-D (channel 18) in Bellingham (serving the northern Puget Sound and San Juan Islands regions, and Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, from Mount Constitution). Both repeaters remap to PSIP channel 28.

KCKA (virtual channel 15, UHF digital channel 19) in Centralia operates as a full-time satellite of KBTC-TV; this station's transmitter is located atop Crego Hill. KCKA covers areas of southwestern Washington that receive a marginal to non-existent over-the-air signal from KBTC-TV, although there is significant overlap between the two stations' respective contours otherwise. KCKA also covers some of the outer portions of the Portland, Oregon market. KCKA is a straight simulcast of KBTC-TV; on-air references to KCKA are limited to Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated required station identifications during programming. Aside from the transmitter, KCKA does not maintain any physical presence locally in Centralia.

Through PBS' Program Differentiation Plan, KBTC-TV carries only 25% of the programming broadcast by PBS, with KCTS-TV (channel 9) carrying the remainder of the network's programs. In addition to reaching a local over-the-air audience, KBTC-TV is available on Comcast Cable in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, and in many areas of Southwestern Washington.


The station signed on the air September 25, 1961, as KTPS-TV, owned by the Tacoma Public Schools (licensed under the district's official name, "Tacoma School District No. 10"; the callsign reflected their management). KTPS initially operated on channel 62 and was aligned with National Educational Television, and became a member station of its successor network, PBS, in 1970. KTPS-TV moved to channel 28 in fall 1982, and shortly after the channel change, KCKA signed on the air on October 2. Bates took over both KTPS-TV and KCKA in 1992 and changed KTPS-TV's call sign to KBTC on October 12 of that year.

KBTC's programming became digital-only on June 12, 2009.[1] However, KBTC-TV continued its analog signal as part of the FCC's "Nightlight" program, running a DTV transition guide.

On November 1, 2009, KBTC began broadcasting in 1080i HD on 28.1, with MHz Worldview appearing on subchannel 28.2. A documentary channel was broadcast on 28.3 and Create on 28.4, but was soon removed due to the increased bandwidth required for the HD broadcast on 28.1.

On May 15, 2010, K24IC-D began broadcasting in 1080i HD from Mount Constitution. On December 6, 2010, KBTC added TVW on subchannel 28.3.

On June 19, 2012, KBTC added a low power, 1 kW transmitter on channel 16 to serve Seattle.

On January 28, 2016, KBTC added NHK World on subchannel 28.2. MHz Worldview was shifted to 28.3, and TVW moved to 28.4.[2]

On November 7, 2017, K24IC-D suffered a prolonged transmitter outage due to a hardware failure. The transmitter resumed operation on November 11.

On September 26, 2019, KBTC moved its low-power Seattle translator to channel 28.[3] With the conversion of MHz Worldview into a subscription-based streaming service, the 28.3 subchannel switched to First Nations Experience on February 28, 2020.[4]

Digital channels

The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5][6]
1080i 16:9 KBTC
Main KBTC-TV programming / PBS
28.2 / 15.2 720p NHK_WLD NHK World
28.3 / 15.3 480i MHZ FNX
28.4 / 15.4 4:3 TVW TVW


As the Seattle market's secondary PBS station, KBTC generally carries network programming on a delay of several days to week, and runs a more non-traditional PBS schedule than KCTS. More traditionally, it runs PBS Kids programming from the late morning into the early evening.

Local production

KBTC's local production efforts revolve around the weekly public affairs program Northwest Now, which features interviews with newsmakers, election night coverage, and electronic news gathering pieces shot in the field. In addition to regular Emmy nominations, the program has won several Telly and Society of Professional Journalists Awards.

Full Focus is an award-winning half-hour documentary-style show that looks at some of the people, places, and historical events that have helped shape Western Washington. While Full Focus is no longer in regular production, episodes produced by KBTC Managing Editor Tom Layson, Oregon-based producer Forrest Burger, and former KBTC filmmaker Daniel Kopec are available on the station's website.

News programming

KBTC and Business Examiner produced a local program called the South Sound Business Report. The program first aired on April 20, 2010, on Seattle's CW owned and operated station KSTW (channel 11). The SSBR has since ceased production.


  1. ^ "What digital TV delay means to North Olympic Peninsula viewers". Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "KBTC Public Television - KBTC 28.2 - NHK WORLD". Archived from the original on October 3, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Technical alerts". KBTC. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "MHz Worldview". KBTC. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KBTC
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCKA

External links

This page was last edited on 7 June 2020, at 02:32
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