A Video Tour of KBTC Television

[QZVX note: Video and station programming synopsis courtesy of Tom Layson.]

[Digital 27] (Bates Technical College) -Tacoma- KBTC-TV, virtual channel 28 (UHF digital channel 27), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station serving all of Western Washington. With the combined power of the station’s transmitters and translators, KBTC has the largest over the air signal footprint in the region. The robust over the air signal also provides the station with carriage on the various MSOs (cable TV) all across Western Washington. The station is available on satellite on both DISH and DirectTV as well.

The station is licensed in Tacoma to Bates Technical College. KBTC-TV’s transmitter is located on 35th Street in northwest Tacoma. The station’s studios are located on the college’s Central Campus on South 19th Street in Tacoma; the property was purchased from KSTW when that station moved to Renton in 2001.

Most recently, KBTC’s local production efforts revolve around the weekly public affairs program, Northwest Now. Managing Editor Tom Layson re-launched the show in the spring of 2012 and has since been joined by former KING/KCPQ assignment desk editor Chris Anderson who is the show’s associate producer and who shoots Digital First shorts for Northwest Now’s social media.

The station is a recipient of several important grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting including Ready to Learn, Veterans Coming Home and American Graduate. These grants support the station’s partnership work to address critical early education needs of children and families in underserved communities and to develop content that is responsive to local issues. The station regularly convenes screenings and discussions including the Insight Speaker Series, events featuring veterans’ stories of service, and summer camps and family paint nights in the furtherance of the station’s educational mission.

KBTC-TV also operates full-time satellite KCKA (virtual channel 15, UHF digital channel 19) in Centralia, whose transmitter is located atop Crego Hill. KBTC’s programming is also repeated on low-powered translators K41KT-D, channel 16 in Grays River (serving the inland areas of Wahkiakum and Pacific counties, as well as northern Clatsop County, Oregon) and K24IC-D, channel 24 in Bellingham (serving the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands regions, as well as Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, from Mount Constitution). Both repeaters remap to PSIP channel 28.

The station originally signed on the air September 25, 1961 as KTPS-TV, owned by the Tacoma Public Schools (licensed under the district’s official name, “Tacoma School District No. 10”). KTPS initially operated on Channel 62; it moved to channel 28 in 1982, and shortly after the channel change, KCKA came into operation. Bates took over both KTPS-TV and KCKA in 1992 and changed KTPS-TV’s callsign to KBTC on October 12 of that year.

KBTC’s programming became digital-only on June 12, 2009. On November 1, 2009, KBTC began broadcasting in 1080i HD on 28.1, with MHz Worldview appearing on subchannel 28.2. On May 15, 2010, K24IC-D began broadcasting in 1080i HD from Mount Constitution. On December 6, 2010, KBTC added TVW on subchannel 28.3. On June 19, 2012, KBTC added a low power, 1 kW transmitter on channel 16 to serve Seattle. On January 28, 2016, KBTC added NHK World on subchannel 28.2. MHz Worldview was shifted to 28.3, and TVW moved to 28.4.

28.2 KBTC DT2 NHK World
NHK WORLD airs on channel 28.2, a subchannel of KBTC Public Television. NHK WORLD is a 24/7 English language public media service featuring original television programming produced and scheduled by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). NHK WORLD delivers a unique and diverse blend of programming featuring domestic and international news about Japanese society, politics, scientific advancement, culture, history and lifestyles. NHK WORLD is watched by television viewers around the globe and through this partnership will be available to the 4.3 million viewers throughout western Washington
The broadcast reach for KBTC/KCKA includes all western Washington communities from the Canadian border through Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia Centralia Chehalis onto Kelso/Longview. Viewers will find NHK World on KBTC 28.1, KCKA 15.2, Comcast HD channel 115, and through other cable services. This new television service expands on KBTC’s commitment to provide western Washington television viewers with rich media experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain.

28.3 KBTC DT3 MHz Worldview
MHz Wordlview airs on channel 28. 3, a subhcannel of KBTC Public Teleivison. MHz Worldview is a national U.S. channel presenting international news and entertainment in English.
Known for its ‘Programming for globally-minded people,’ MHz Worldview serves as a liaison in bringing programs and understanding from around the world to American audiences. With a belief in promoting and illuminating world awareness, MHz Worldview delivers a wide range of world dynamics, showing all the world has to offer, direct from the source, without political or commercial confines.

Author: Tom Layson

Tom Layson is KBTC’s Managing Editor and comes to the job with more than 30 years of experience having worked as a television news reporter and anchor in Yakima (KIMA), Terre Haute (WTHI), Louisville (WAVE), Sacramento (KOVR), Columbus (WSYX), and New York-New Jersey (News 12 Network). Tom anchored 13 hours of wall-to-wall live coverage in the NY/NJ market during 9-11 which won the N.J. Associated Press’ station award for best 9-11 coverage. Layson is the past president of the New Jersey Associated Press Broadcaster’s Association, a prodigious winner of journalistic awards and recognition including an Emmy for KBTC’s Northwest Now, and is a recognized thought leader in public affairs having served a columnist for local newspapers, a commentator on local talk shows, a current media analyst for CBS radio, and a consultant who teaches the effective marriage of shooting, writing and editing to those working as one-man content creators. Tom Layson is a Contributing Editor for Puget Sound Media. For more info about Tom Layson, see the article, "Introducing Tom Layson"

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