KVPT, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 40), is a PBS member television station located in Fresno, California, United States. The station is owned by Valley Public Television, Inc. KVPT maintains studio facilities located on Van Ness Avenue and Calaveras Street in downtown Fresno, and its transmitter is located on Bear Mountain (near Meadow Lakes). KVPT airs PBS programming, as well as programs distributed by American Public Television and other distributors, along with independent productions and locally produced programs.
The station first signed on the air on April 10, 1977 as KMTF; it was founded by the Fresno County Public Schools district. Prior to the station's sign-on, PBS distributed select programs to the area's commercial television stations on a per-program basis; the only PBS station available in the market before channel 18 signed on was KVIE in Sacramento, which was carried on local cable providers.
In 1987, Fresno County Public Schools sold the station to the community-owned Valley Public Television, Inc. In 1990, the station launched a low-power translator station in Bakersfield on UHF channel 65, making Bakersfield one of the last markets in the country to add over-the-air public television service. That year, channel 18 changed its call letters to KVPT (the KMTF call letters would later be used by a television station in Helena, Montana from 1998 to 2015). In March 2007, KVPT purchased Multimedios Television affiliate K18HD-D from Mintz Broadcasting (owned by businessman Michael Mintz), which became the station's new Bakersfield translator.
For many years, the station was branded on-air as "Valley Public Television". On September 27, 2010, KVPT altered its branding to "Valley PBS", however the "Valley Public Television" name remains in use by its ownership group. With Los Angeles station KCET's dismembering from PBS in January 2011 (incidentally, KCET operates a translator in Bakersfield), KVPT is now the only PBS station located between Merced and Bakersfield.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|18.1||1080i||16:9||KVPT-HD||Main KVPT programming / PBS|
KVPT signed on its digital signal on April 25, 2008. The station shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 18, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 40. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 18.