KBTC-TV is an American public television station in Tacoma, Washington. It is the secondary Public Broadcasting Service member station in the Seattle-Tacoma market. It broadcasts on digital channel 27 (remapping to its analog channel number, 28, using PSIP), and Comcast cable channel 12. Its offices and broadcasting center are located on the campus of owner Bates Technical College. The property was purchased from KSTW when that station moved to Renton in 2001.
Bates Technical College also owns full-time satellite KCKA (digital 19, virtual 15) in Centralia. KBTC's programming is also repeated on low-powered signals K41KT-D channel 41 Grays River (serving the inland areas of Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, as well as northern Clatsop County, Oregon) and K24IC-D channel 24 Bellingham (serving the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands regions, as well as Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia, from Mount Constitution). Both repeaters remap to PSIP channel 28.
The station originally 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"). Previous to that time, KTPS had operated on Channel 62. Bates took over in 1992 and changed the calls to KBTC on October 12, 1992.
KBTC's scheduled programming is digital-only, effective June 12, 2009. 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 were 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.
Most recently, KBTC's local production efforts revolve around the weekly public affairs program, Northwest Now. After several on-again, off-again runs - the program came back into regular production when Puyallup-based New Media Solutions (NMS) was contracted to re-format and produce the program starting in the spring of 2012. Northwest Now was recognized with an Emmy award in the summer of 2013. With the start of season five in October 2013, Northwest Now was moved in house with the hiring of NMS President Tom Layson who now serves as the station's Managing Editor. Northwest Now features interviews with news makers, election night coverage, and ENG (electronic news gathering) pieces shot in the field.
Full Focus is a 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, KBTC Managing Editor Tom Layson produced the three most recent programs which featured the stories of a physically challenged survivor of a severe infection, the restoration of an historic jet aircraft, and a look at an exhibition by the Women Painters of Washington. Previous award winning Full Focus producers include Forrest Burger and Daniel Kopec.
KBTC and BusinessExaminer also produced a local program called the "South Sound Business Report". The program first aired on April 20, 2010. South Sound Business Report had aired on the Seattle CW O&O station KSTW (Channel 11). The SSBR has since ceased production.