KSMQ Public Television is the PBS member station in Austin, Minnesota. It broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on UHF channel 20 (virtual channel 15.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter in rural east-central Mower County, northwest of Ostrander. Locally owned by KSMQ Public Service Media, Inc., the station maintains studios on the campus of Riverland Community College on 8th Avenue Northwest (near I-90) in Austin.

History

The station signed on the air in December 1971[2] as KAVT-TV, broadcasting on analog UHF channel 15 from a transmitter located near Austin. It was owned by the Austin school board. The station changed to the current KSMQ callsign in 1984. The school board sold the station to KSMQ Public Media, a community group, in 2004

While much of the station's programming comes from PBS (which the station has been a member station since its inception), the station features additional programming supplied by numerous sources, including the National Educational Telecommunications Association and American Public Television. In the mid-2000s, the station signed on its digital signal on UHF channel 20 from the Ostrander tower shared by Fox affiliate KXLT-TV.

KSMQ Public Television produces a wide variety of local content, including a weekly arts program, "Off 90"; "On Q," a weekly public affairs program; and the agricultural educational program "Farm Connections." Additionally, since 2012 the station has produced documentaries focused on topics of regional concern, including immigration and school bullying. During election years, KSMQ Public Television produces and broadcasts panel discussions featuring every state legislative district in its viewing area. KSMQ Public Television is the recipient of five regional Emmy Awards for excellence in its locally produced programs. On May 2, 2015, KSMQ Public Television was presented with the Commanders' Award for Public Service by the U.S. Army. The Commanders' Medal, the fourth-highest Army decoration bestowed to civilians, was given to KSMQ Public Television for its continuing educational and marketing efforts in support of its 2013 World War II documentary "The Typist."

During the early morning hours of September 5, 2012, KSMQ's STL tower collapsed due to damaging straight-line winds as severe thunderstorms moved through the Austin area, partially falling onto a building that housed the station's power equipment. No one was injured.[3] The station set up alternate transmitter facilities the following evening by installing a microwave dish atop its studios that was manually redirected at its transmitter near Grand Meadow.[4] While insurance is expected to cover the costs of constructing a new broadcast tower, the station subsequently set up a fund for the construction due to a minimum $7,000 deductible that the station must pay.[4] In December, 2013, the station recouped a portion of its loss from an insurance settlement.

Digital television

Digital channels

This station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming
15.1480i4:3KSMQ-DTMain KSMQ programming / PBS
15.2KSMQ-WVMHz Worldview ("KSMQ MHz Worldview")
15.3KSMQ-CRCreate ("KSMQ Create")
15.4KSMQ-MNMinnesota Channel ("KSMQ MN")

Analog-to-digital conversion

KSMQ-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 15, on May 1, 2009.[5] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 20, using PSIP to display KSMQ-TV's virtual channel as 15 on digital television receivers.

Cable and satellite

KSMQ is carried by Dish Network and DirecTV, and by cable operators in southeast Minnesota.

KSMQ is available alongside KTCA on Charter Cable in Mankato area.