Iowa Public Television (IPTV) is a network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member stations in the state of Iowa. IPTV is owned by the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board, an agency of the state education department which holds the licenses for all the PBS member stations in the state. IPTV's studios are located in Johnston, Iowa; a suburb of Des Moines.

History

Iowa is a pioneer in educational broadcasting; it is home to two of the oldest educational radio broadcast stations in the world, the University of Iowa's WSUI and Iowa State's WOI.

The electrical engineering department at the State University of Iowa (SUI) in Iowa City demonstrated television at an exhibit at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on August 28, 1931. J. L. Potter supervised the project. At the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair, the television experiment was set up in the communications laboratory of the electrical engineering building at The University of Iowa in Iowa City.

By 1933, The University of Iowa received an FCC license for experimental TV station W9XK, later W9XUI providing twice a week video programming, with WSUI AM providing the audio channel. By 1939, the FCC allocated TV channels 1 and 12 for the W9XUI television station.[2] This early attempt at educational broadcasting ended with US entrance into World War II.[3][4] The concept of pure educational television, which Dr. E.B. Kurtz and his Iowa colleagues pioneered, was buried by the commercial television system which dominated development of the electronic media in Iowa after World War II.[5]

WOI-TV in Ames began broadcast operations in 1950, as a sister station to WOI radio,[6] and had carried some National Educational Television programming until Des Moines Public Schools signed on KDPS-TV as the educational station for central Iowa in 1959. However, in the 1960s the only other areas of the state with a clear signal from an educational station were the southwest (from Nebraska ETV's KYNE-TV in Omaha), the northwest (from South Dakota ETV's KUSD-TV in Vermillion), and in eastern Iowa from The University of Iowa's WSUI-TV in Iowa City.

In 1969, the state of Iowa bought KDPS-TV from the Des Moines Public Schools and changed its calls to KDIN-TV, intending it to be the linchpin of a statewide educational television network. As part of the state's ambition, it rebranded KDIN as the Iowa Educational Broadcasting Network.

The network's second station, KIIN-TV in Iowa City had resumed broadcast operations in 1950 from Iowa City as WSUI-TV on channel 12.[7] WSUI-TV joined IEBN in 1970 to expand statewide educational programming to eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. Soon afterward, IEBN became a charter member of PBS. By 1977 the newly renamed Iowa Public Broadcasting Network had eight full-power stations. The Iowa Public Television name was adopted in 1982. In 2003, it purchased KQCT-TV in Davenport, which repeated the programming of Quad Cities PBS station WQPT-TV in the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. The calls were changed to KQIN.

IPTV was originally run by the state's General Services Department before Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill creating the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board on May 16, 1983. In 1986 IPTV became part of the state's Cultural Affairs Department, and on July 1, 1992, IPTV became part of the Iowa Department of Education.

Combined, the nine IPTV stations reach almost all of Iowa and portions of the surrounding states of Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Stations

Nine full-power TV stations make up the network, all stations have callsigns beginning with a K, as licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), & ending in IN "IN" stands for Iowa Network.

StationCity of license (other cities served)ChannelsFormer ChannelsFirst air dateSecond letter’s
meaning
ERPHAATFacility IDTransmitter Coordinates
KBIN-TVCouncil Bluffs
(Omaha)
33 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Analog: 32 (UHF)September 7, 1975Council Bluffs200 kW98 m29108
KDIN-TV1Des Moines11 (VHF)
Virtual: 11 (PSIP)
Analog: 11 (VHF)
Digital: 50 (UHF)
April 27, 1959Des Moines22.5 kW600 m29102
KHINRed Oak35 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Analog: 36 (UHF)September 7, 1975Horizons600 kW475 m29085
KIIN3Iowa City
(Cedar Rapids)
12 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Analog: 12 (VHF)
Digital: 45 (UHF)
January 1, 1939 / February 8, 1970Iowa City57 kW439 m29095
KQIN2Davenport34 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Analog: 36 (UHF)December 16, 1991Quad Cities368 kW233 m5471
KRINWaterloo35 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Analog: 32 (UHF)December 15, 1974WateRloo250 kW584 m29114
KSIN-TVSioux City28 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
Analog: 27 (UHF)January 4, 1975Sioux City400 kW348.3 m29096
KTINFort Dodge25 (UHF)
Virtual: 21 (PSIP)
Analog: 21 (UHF)April 8, 1977Television600 kW355 m29100
KYINMason City18 (UHF)
Virtual: 24 (PSIP)
Analog: 24 (UHF)May 14, 1977Mason CitY533 kW448.5 m29086

Notes

  • 1. KDIN-TV used the callsign KDPS-TV from its 1959 sign-on until 1969.
  • 2. KQIN used the callsign KQCT as a relay of Moline, Illinois-based WQPT-TV from its 1991 sign-on until it was acquired by IPTV in 2003.
  • 3. KIIN operated as W9XUI from 1939 to WW2 and then as WSUI-TV from 1950 until 1970.

The network also has eight low-power repeater signals, located in Ottumwa (channel 18 K18GU-D), Keosauqua (channel 24 K24IM-D), Fort Madison (channel 28 K28JD-D), Decorah (channel 28 K28KK-D), Sibley (channel 33 K33AB), Lansing (channel 39 K39LW-D), Rock Rapids (channel 43 K43LX-D), and Keokuk (channel 44 K44AB-D).

Some of the transmitters are located a fair distance from their cities of license:

  • KIIN's transmitter, while listed as residing in Iowa City (Johnson County), is actually situated north of West Branch in Cedar County. It was moved there in 1970 from the University of Iowa campus in order to serve the entirety of eastern Iowa, including the Quad Cities, pre-dating the 2003 acquisition of KQCT/KQIN.
  • KRIN's city of license is Waterloo but its transmitter is near equidistant between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo-Cedar Falls, located on the KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids's ABC affiliate) tower in southern Buchanan County between Rowley and Walker, which also has the transmitting facilities of Cedar Rapids CBS affiliate KGAN-TV and Cedar Falls-based Iowa Public Radio station KUNI-FM, meaning half of the stations on the tower used by KRIN are licensed to Cedar Rapids while the other half are licensed to Cedar Falls or Waterloo.
  • KQIN's analog transmitter for UHF channel 36 was located in central Davenport, between the KWQC-TV studios (no connection to the station, other than giving its analog channel to KWQC for its post-transition DTV channel assignment) and the St. Ambrose University campus, near VanDerVeer Park. However, its digital transmitter is co-located with most of the other Quad Cities market stations along US 150 in Orion, Illinois (including now former parent station WQPT), making KQIN the only IPTV station with its transmitter outside the state of Iowa.

Digital television

Digital channels

The digital signals of IPTV's stations are multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[8][9][2][2][2][2][2][2][2]
xx.11080i16:9IPTVMain IPTV programming / PBS
xx.2480i4:3IPTV LearnsPBS Kids (6am-6pm) (SD1)
Create (6pm-6am) (SD1)
xx.3IPTV WorldWorld (SD2)

Analog-to-digital conversion

IPTV's stations shut down their analog signals 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 channel allocations post-transition are as follows:[2]

  • KBIN-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 32; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.
  • KDIN-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 50 to VHF channel 11.
  • KHIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 36.
  • KIIN shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 45 to VHF channel 12.
  • KQIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 34. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 36.
  • KRIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 32; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.
  • KSIN-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 27; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 27.
  • KTIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 21; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 25. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 21.
  • KYIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 24; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 18. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 24.

Late night programming

Since August 31, 2013, IPTV has gone off-the-air nightly from midnight to 5 a.m. over-the-air due to budget concerns, reduced from a 24-hour schedule. Mediacom continues to carry the network in their markets with 24-hour programming due to their direct fiber connection from IPTV in Johnston to their Des Moines headend, which distributes the three IPTV channels statewide; the national satellite services carry the network's over-the-air signal, thus also going off the air from midnight to 5 a.m. The network hopes to restore over-the-air 24-hour service in the near future; late night programming mainly consists of the national PBS schedule.[2]

Programming

Although IPTV provides PBS programming and also coordinates several political debates during the Iowa Caucuses, it also produces original programs such as , a panel discussion show; with hosts Scott Siepker and Kellie Kramer highlighting outdoor recreation, environmental issues, conservation initiatives, and Iowa's outdoor natural resources; and , a nationally distributed show about agribusiness. Dan Wardell is the Host of the Children's Television block, featuring programs such as "The Big Comfy Couch" and "Sesame Street". The Toonami TIE (Total Immersion Event) Trapped in Hyperspace was reported to air on KQIN in 2002, although it is unlikely because Toonami is a property of Cartoon Network.

Friends of Iowa Public Television

In 1969, Friends of Iowa Public Television (Iowa Public Television Foundation Board) was created for the development, growth and support of IPTV through the building of a strong statewide membership base. Its 65,000 member households across Iowa and bordering states contribute nearly 90% of the out-of-pocket costs for acquiring and producing general audience programming. The envy of many PBS stations and state educational TV / radio networks, these 65,000 households continue their support of IPTV's mission to educate, enlighten and entertain.[2]