A Brief History of Arkansas PBS

1966
Orginal Arkansas PBS Building

On December 4, KETS/Channel 2 licensed to Little Rock by the FCC begins broadcast as Arkansas' first educational television station. (KETS began as a black and white transmitter, later being adapted to broadcast color programs.)

1966
1976
First Master Control

On October 29, KETS is joined by its first sister station KETG/Channel 9 to service southwest Arkansas. Less than two months later on December 9, KAFT/Channel 13 begins service to northwest Arkansas. And a month later on January 13, 1977, KTEJ/Channel 19 begins service to northeast Arkansas creating what is to become the Arkansas PBS (Arkansas PBS).

1976
1980
Tower Being Erected

On June 21, the fifth sister station, KEMV/Channel 6, joins the Arkansas PBS system to provide service to north-central Arkansas. Along with cable carriage, Arkansas PBS's coverage is now expanded to over 90% of the state of Arkansas.

1980
1983
Original Arkansas Week Set

"Arkansas Week" debuts on Arkansas PBS to provide the state's only primetime, in-depth public affairs program about issues affecting Arkansas.

1983
1984

The Arkansas PBS Foundation is created to conduct all fundraising for Arkansas PBS. The Foundation Board is made up of the eight ETV Commissioners and seven at-large elected lay members. The Friends of Arkansas PBS becomes the volunteer and public relations support organization for Arkansas PBS.

1984

Arkansas PBS partners with the Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind to broadcast the Arkansas Radio Reading Service for the Blind as Arkansas PBS's second audio channel (SAP) to provide the reading of newspapers and information to blind citizens.

1984
1994

Arkansas PBS adds an extension to the existing building to provide storage space, tape library and office space.

1994

Arkansas PBS adds a third over-night feed of ITV programs for schools. This allows Arkansas PBS to replace the daytime feed of ITV programs with more pre-school programming as part of the Ready to Learn initiative from PBS.

1994

Arkansas PBS is awarded its first Regional EMMY for "Edge of Conflict: Arkansas in the Civil War".

1994
1997

Arkansas PBS presents an appeal in a civil case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The precedent-setting case involves whether Arkansas PBS is primarily a broadcaster with journalistic First Amendment rights to limit televised debates versus a state agency restricted to providing free access to candidates. Arkansas PBS eventually wins its landmark appeal.

1997
1998
John Philpot and Phyllis Spear

Arkansas PBS's monthly hunting, fishing and outdoors series, "Arkansas Outdoors", is distributed internationally. Arkansas PBS's documentary "The Lost Squadron" is awarded a Regional EMMY award.

1998
Construction on new building

Arkansas PBS breaks ground and begins construction of a major building expansion, which will greatly expand Arkansas PBS's broadcast studios and is financed by the state legislature and governor.

1998
1999

Arkansas PBS produces "Aging Successfully with Doctor David", Arkansas PBS's first full-length series in partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The series goes national.

1999
2000
Church and Grave Yard

Arkansas PBS receives its third Regional EMMY award this time for "Precious Memories: Our Vanishing Rural Churches".

2000
2001
Current Arkansas PBS Building

Arkansas PBS completes construction on a major building expansion more than doubling its existing space. This new complex prepares Arkansas PBS for the ability to provide expanded services to Arkansas through digital broadcasting.

2001

Arkansas PBS begins the conversion to digital as mandated by the FCC. Phase One will be the complete replacement of the Microwave Interconnection System. Phase Two will be the replacement of five transmitters and broadcast operations. Phase Three will be the replacement of all production equipment. Phase One and Two are to be completed by November 2003 as required by the FCC. Phase Three will be completed as funds are made available one or two years later.

2001
2002
Girl Playing French Horn

Arkansas PBS receives its fourth Regional EMMY award for "The Sound of Dreams".

2002
2003

Arkansas PBS completes Phase One the complete replacement of the analog Microwave Interconnection System of its digital conversion plan. Phase Two the replacement of five analog transmitters and analog broadcast operations and Phase Three the replacement of all analog production equipment to be completed by May 2004 for Arkansas PBS to begin its digital broadcast.

2003

Arkansas PBS receives its fifth Regional EMMY award for "The Forgotten Expedition" - the story of the other "Lewis and Clark" team to explore the southern part of the Louisiana Purchase.

2003

Arkansas PBS, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, began providing Instructional Videostreaming to help schools statewide with state approved curriculum, offering more than 20,000 video segments in a wide range of subjects complete with interactive support materials and teacher guides.

2003
2004

Arkansas PBS completes its initial $12 million digital conversion project and begins broadcasting on June 11 on digital channels:

  • KAFT-DT/Fayetteville (serving
    northwest Arkansas)
  • KEMV-DT/Mountain View (serving north central Arkansas)
  • KETG-DT/Arkadelphia (serving southwest Arkansas)
  • KETS-DT/Little Rock (serving central Arkansas)
  • KTEJ-DT/Jonesboro (serving northeast Arkansas)
2004
2005

Arkansas PBS moves to multicasting of four separate programs on its digital channels. In addition to replicating the analog program signal as one of the four multicast program streams, Arkansas PBS creates three additional program streams:

  • Arkansas PBS Scholar (to provide
    instructional programming and
    professional development to
    schools and educators)
  • Arkansas PBS Kids (non-commercial, educational children's programs different from the regular Arkansas PBS program schedule)
  • Create (lifelong learning lifestyle, how-to general audience programs).
2005
2006

On May 17, 2006, Arkansas PBS begins broadcasting on KETZ-DT/El Dorado to serve south and southeast Arkansas as well as north central Louisiana.

2006

Arkansas PBS launches "ArkansasIDEAS" Arkansas Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools to provide high-quality, standards-based, professional development offerings, online programming, and instructional resources to Arkansas K-12 educators.

2006

Arkansas PBS celebrates 40 years of service to the people of Arkansas.

2006
2007

Arkansas PBS receives its sixth Regional EMMY award for the documentary "Charles Banks Wilson".

2007
WWII Veteran Being Interviewed

Arkansas PBS creates "In Their Words" an oral history for television and the Internet that records the experiences of Arkansas WWII veterans for future study. Eventually, more than 500 stories are recorded and archived for posterity.

2007
2008

On January 11, the KETS analog 2 antenna and transmitter is destroyed when the KATV-7 broadcast tower that held KETS equipment since 1966 collapses during maintenance. By summer a temporary, emergency, low-power antenna and transmitter is finally installed and limited broadcast in central Arkansas resumes. The KETS digital broadcast is not affected during this time.

2008

Arkansas PBS begins work to change the digital broadcast frequencies of KETS and KETZ to allow for increased power and coverage areas in central and southeast Arkansas after the national termination of analog broadcast.

2008

"Arkansas Week", Arkansas PBS's premiere weekly public affairs program, celebrates 25 years of service.

2008

Arkansas PBS begins regularly podcasting and videostreaming local productions using the newest technology available.

2008

Arkansas PBS is named a best mid-sized workplace in Arkansas for 2008 for the first time by the Governor's Work-Life Balance Awards Program.

2008

Arkansas PBS is recognized as a national Psychologically Healthy Workplace by the American Psychology Association.

2008
2009

Like most television broadcasters around the country, Arkansas PBS is forced to delay the termination of its analog broadcasts when Congress delays the analog shut-down date by four months. Because of work to complete the change in broadcast frequencies, KETS (analog and digital) and KETZ are forced to remain off the air for four additional months. Arkansas PBS was able to serve about 60% of central Arkansas through direct fiber connection or alternative reception by many cable companies and DishNetwork during that time.

2009

Arkansas PBS terminates the analog broadcast at KTEJ/Jonesboro and reduces the analog broadcast at KEMV/Mountain View when old equipment fails to operate after loss of power due to massive ice storms in those areas.

2009

Arkansas PBS begins 24-7 broadcast in High Definition (HD) digital in January. This requires the combining of the Create and Arkansas PBS Kids channels into one service along with Arkansas PBS Scholar as two Standard Definition (SD) services. The Arkansas Information Reading Service for the Blind is added as an audio-only channel as the analog SAP channel goes away.

2009

Arkansas PBS is named a best mid-sized workplace in Arkansas for 2009 for the 2nd consecutive year by the Governor's Work-Life Balance Awards Program.

2009
Bob Ross painting

On June 12, Arkansas PBS's remaining analog stations (KAFT, KEMV, and KETG) are shutdown as analog broadcast in the U.S.A. comes to an end. Work immediately begins to maximize broadcast power at these three digital stations along with KTEJ.

2009

Arkansas PBS receives its seventh and eighth Regional EMMY awards both for the documentary The Buffalo Flows, about the history and impact of the Buffalo River in Arkansas.

2009
2010

In late February 2010, Arkansas PBS completes a maximization project that nearly doubles the broadcast power at the KAFT and KETG transmitters and in early June 2010 that nearly triples the broadcast power at KEMV. Work continues on a similar project at KTEJ.

2010

Arkansas PBS is named a best mid-sized workplace in Arkansas for 2010 for the 3rd consecutive year by the Governor's Work-Life Balance Awards Program.

2010

Arkansas PBS restructures its multicasting service to better meet the needs of Arkansans:

  • AETN-PBS on AETN-1
    broadcasting in HD 24-7 the
    best of Arkansas PBS local productions
    and PBS programming
  • Arkansas PBS Create on AETN-2 (lifelong learning lifestyle and how-to general audience programs).
  • Arkansas PBS PLUS on AETN-3 featuring three program blocks:
    • Arkansas PBS Scholar (to provide
      instructional programming
      and professional develop-
      ment to schools and
      educators)
    • Arkansas PBS Kids (non-commercial, educational children's programs different from the regular Arkansas PBS program schedule)
    • Arkansas PBS World (top documentary, non-fiction and public affairs programming).
  • AIRS - Arkansas Information Reading Service for the Blind audio-only service on AETN-4.
2010

Arkansas PBS receives its ninth, tenth and eleventh Regional EMMY awards all for Silent Storytellers, a documentary about old cemeteries throughout the state.

2010

Arkansas PBS is recognized again as a Psychologically Healthy Workplace by the Arkansas Psychology Association, this time as a state finalist.

2010
2011

In the late summer of 2011, Arkansas PBS completes a maximization project that increases the broadcast power at the KTEJ transmitters by six times.

2011
Derwin Ivory in Master Control

Arkansas PBS upgrades its Master Control and Production Control facilities with digital monitors and HD equipment phasing out the decades-old analog technology

2011

Arkansas PBS is named a best mid-sized workplace in Arkansas for 2011 for the 4th consecutive year by the Governor's Work-Life Balance Awards Program.

2011
2012

On March 25, 2012 Arkansas PBS lost its long-time, faithful volunteer - Mrs. Jane Krutz. She was there to help turn on the first Arkansas PBS transmitter in 1966, was a tireless advocate during on-air fundraising campaigns, speeches and even before a Congressional sub-committee, and was helping raise financial support for Arkansas PBS programming right to the end of her life. She had previously been honored with the naming of the Jane Krutz Studio A at Arkansas PBS, where she spent so much of her time for 46 years. She will be forever missed.

2012
Mid-Century Modern Architectural Drawing

Arkansas PBS receives its twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth Regional EMMY awards all for the documentary Clean Lines, Open Spaces, about Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Arkansas.

2012
Arkansas PBS Administration Accepting Award

Arkansas PBS receives Ambassadors Awards from the Governor's Work-Life Awards Program as well as the Mature Workers Awards Program.

2012
2013

Arkansas PBS's first HD studio was created to produce in-studio local programs in High Definition.

2013

Arkansas PBS's thirty-plus year goal of having emergency back-up power generators at all transmitter sites was achieved thanks to a federal equipment grant. Now, Arkansas PBS's broadcast signal will not be lost for significant lengths of time due to a loss of electrical power during severe storms and inclement winter weather at these remote site.

2013
2014
Lone Tree in Field

Arkansas PBS receives its fifteenth and sixteenth EMMY awards all for the documentary Champion Trees about ancient, historic trees around the state.

2014
2015

Arkansas PBS's ArkansasIDEAS online professional educator development service was nationally recognized as the year's outstanding Education and Community Engagement project by the National Educational Television Association. The service is used by thousands of Arkansas educators to improve their teaching skills and maintain their required teaching certification.

2015
2016

In conjunction with the film "Jackie Robinson," Arkansas PBS worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiative to provide 42 scholarships for underprivileged youth to play summer baseball. The project was so successful that local partners established sustainable scholarships for future players.

2016

ArkansasIDEAS celebrates its 10th anniversary with more than 28,500 users and over 2 million credit hours awarded. The system has become a national model for professional development with more than 700 courses available.

2016

Arkansas PBS celebrated 50 years of public media in Arkansas on Dec. 4, 2016.

2016
2020

"New Name. Always Arkansas." Arkansas PBS becomes Arkansas PBS, with a renewed commitment to put Arkansas and Arkansas stories first. As we increasingly look to new platforms for audience engagement, information and entertainment, our new name will better represent who we are and how we serve in the digital age.

2020