KCTS-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 9, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Seattle, Washington, United States and also serving Tacoma. The station's offices and studios are located at the northeast corner of Seattle Center, and its transmitter is on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

SeattleTacoma, Washington
United States
CitySeattle, Washington
BrandingKCTS 9
SloganReveal Your World
ChannelsDigital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
TranslatorsK18AD-D 18 (UHF) Wenatchee
OwnerCascade Public Media
First air dateDecember 7, 1954 (64 years ago) (1954-12-07)
Call letters' meaningKing County Community Television Service[1]
Sister station(s)KYVE
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 9 (VHF, 1954–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 41 (UHF, 1999-2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1954–1970)
Transmitter power21.7 kW
Height249 m (817 ft)
Facility ID33749
Transmitter coordinates47°36′57″N 122°18′32″W / 47.61583°N 122.30889°W / 47.61583; -122.30889Coordinates: 47°36′57″N 122°18′32″W / 47.61583°N 122.30889°W / 47.61583; -122.30889
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

KCTS-TV also operates semi-satellite KYVE (virtual channel 47, UHF digital channel 21) in Yakima, which serves as the PBS member station for the western portion of the Yakima/Tri-Cities market. KYVE maintains its own studios on Second Street in Yakima and transmitter on Ahtanum Ridge.

KCTS and KYVE are owned by Cascade Public Media.[2][3][4][5]


KCTS studios at Seattle Center.
KCTS crew recording an interview with Dennis Kelso, then-commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, during the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.
KCTS logo used from 1999 until late 2006.

KCTS first went on the air on December 7, 1954, broadcasting from the campus of the University of Washington, the station's original licensee, and using equipment donated by KING-TV owner Dorothy Bullitt. Channel 9 was a sister station to KUOW-FM, which the University of Washington put on the air two years earlier.

During the 1950s and 1960s, KCTS primarily supplied classroom instructional programs used in Washington State's 1–12 schools, plus National Educational Television (NET) programs. Outside of schoolrooms, KCTS' audience among the general public was somewhat limited, and most programming was in black-and-white until the mid-1970s (although the station did install color capability in 1967).

In 1970, National Educational Television was absorbed into the newly created Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). As a PBS member station, KCTS began offering a vastly enhanced scope of programming for the general public, including British programming.

Thanks to a major fundraiser drive during the mid-1980s, KCTS moved to its present location on the Seattle Center campus in October 1986; shortly after, in 1987, the University of Washington spun off KCTS, and the station became a community licensee.[6]

KCTS is seen throughout southwestern British Columbia on local cable systems, as well as across Canada on the Bell TV and Shaw Direct satellite providers, as well as on many other Canadian cable TV systems. According to KCTS, "over 800,000 viewers tune in every week" from British Columbia[7] KCTS receives substantial financial support from its far-flung Canadian audience as well as from viewers in Washington State.[citation needed]

In January 2016, as part of a broader strategy redefine itself as a content provider for various other platforms other than television, the name of the licensee, KCTS Television became Cascade Public Media; its properties include KCTS-TV, Crosscut, a non-profit daily news site, and Spark Public, a local website devoted to millennial life.[8]

Yakima, Washington
United States
ChannelsDigital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 47 (PSIP)
Subchannels47.1 PBS
47.2 PBS Kids
47.3 Create
Translators17 K17IL-D Ellensburg
AffiliationsPBS (1970–present)
OwnerKCTS Television
(Cascade Public Media)
First air dateNovember 1, 1962 (56 years ago) (1962-11-01)
Call letters' meaningYakima Valley Educational
Sister station(s)KCTS-TV
Former channel number(s)Analog:
47 (UHF, 1962–2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1962–1970)
Transmitter power50 kW
Height280 m (919 ft)
Facility ID33752
Transmitter coordinates46°31′58″N 120°30′33″W / 46.53278°N 120.50917°W / 46.53278; -120.50917
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

KYVE historyEdit

In 1994, KCTS merged with KYVE, which has served central Washington since November 1, 1962. However, this wasn't the first time that the two stations had partnered together; during the early 1960s KYVE's engineers switched to and from KCTS' signal until the station's owners, the Yakima Board of Education, got enough funding for the station to be self-supporting. The station became a community licensee in 1984, but found the going difficult until its merger with KCTS.

During the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, some programs included a combined KCTS/KYVE visual bug in the lower-right corner of the screen, indicating they were simulcast to both markets. However, since the early 2000s, KYVE has largely been a straight simulcast of KCTS. Combined, the two stations serve 2.4 million people, accounting for almost two-thirds of Washington state's population.

Digital televisionEdit

Digital channelsEdit

The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9][10]
1080i 16:9 KCTS-HD
Main KCTS-TV programming / PBS
Main KYVE programming / PBS
9.2 480i KIDS PBS Kids
47.2 4:3
9.3 16:9 Create Create
47.3 4:3
9.4 16:9 WORLD World

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

KCTS-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[11] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 41 to VHF channel 9.


KCTS is perhaps best known for producing/distributing the popular PBS Kids show Bill Nye the Science Guy, as well as other programs such as Students by Nature (not a PBS-distributed program), The Miracle Planet, cooking shows by Nick Stellino, Chefs A' Field, and the annual televised high school academic competition KYVE Apple Bowl, among other shows.

KCTS also operates a cable television service called KCTS Plus, currently carried on Seattle area cable systems. KCTS Plus runs 24-hour Classic Arts Showcase programming.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2010-12-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Hanscom, Greg; Power-Drutis, Tamara (December 2, 2015). "An Exciting New Chapter for Northwest Public Media". Crosscut.com. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Cullen, Hilda (December 2, 2015). "News Website Crosscut Merging into KCTS 9" (PDF) (Press release). KCTS-TV. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  4. ^ Tu, Janet I. (December 2, 2015). "KCTS-TV to absorb Crosscut and another local website". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  5. ^ Connelly, Joel (December 2, 2015). "KCTS-TV will merge with Crosscut". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  6. ^ http://depts.washington.edu/sthp/files/original/6c8c6ba3ae7a18f8927f6ba821867408.htm
  7. ^ http://kcts9.org/kcts-9-in-canada | KCTS 9 in Canada
  8. ^ https://kcts9.org/about
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCTS
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KYVE
  11. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit