KCTU-LD, virtual and UHF digital channel 43, is a digital low-power television station located in Wichita, Kansas, United States. The station is locally owned by River City Broadcasters, Inc. KCTU maintains studio facilities located on Douglas Avenue (near I-35/K-15) in southeastern Wichita, and its transmitter is located between St. Francis and South Commerce Streets in downtown Wichita. On cable, the station is available on AT&T U-verse channel 43.

History

The station first signed on the air in 1992.[3] On February 1, 1998, KCTU became the first commercial television station in the world to stream its programming online 24 hours a day to reach more viewers. In 2001, KCTU affiliated with Pax TV (now Ion Television). Because of the local programming and other network affiliations carried by the station (including a secondary affiliation with Urban America Television that lasted until that network's shutdown in May 2006), the station did not air as many infomercials as most Pax/i/Ion affiliates. The station dropped the network in 2008.

On May 10, 2007, the principal owners of KCTU through N&H Publishing Corp. announced the acquisition of the Wichita City Paper. Planned topics will be similar to those featured on the local programs seen on the station including local and consumer news, religious topics and veterans' issues. The local television program guide that was formerly featured as an insert in The Prospector, also began appearing in the City Paper.[4]

In August 2010, the station was affiliated with Estrella TV, a Hispanic network.[5] By June 2011, KCTU primary subchannel was pick up by AT&T Uverse.[3]

Ron and Sheryl Nutt, owners, placed the station up for sale in July 2012 with a July 22 deadline for offers.[6]

In late July 2013, TV Scout was add to the station's 4th subchannel with some initial formatting glitches.[7]

Cable carriage

As it is a low-powered station, KCTU is not carried on Cox Communications as it is not obligated to carry KCTU under "must-carry" regulations as those rules do not currently apply to low-power stations. According to KCTU, the station presented the provider with a petition from 6,000 Cox subscribers and community leaders to carry the station. Cox refused to give KCTU channel space for free. According to KCTU, Cox increased their lease fee to $70,264 per month. This has led KCTU to encourage Cox subscribers to keep demanding that it carry the station, and to watch KCTU's programming over-the-air and on the internet. On June 28, 2011, AT&T U-verse began to carry KCTU on channel 43; the provider had previously carried all the Wichita-Hutchinson market's other low-power stations.

Local programming

In addition to its various network programming, the station also produces some local public affairs programming, including the weekdaily newsmagazine Your Hour. KCTU was nominated for a Heartland Emmy Award for Best Dayside Newscast in 2005, reportedly the first such nomination for an English-language low-power station in a Nielsen Top 160 market. The station received a second nomination in 2010 for news graphics.