Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
United States
City Dallas, Texas
Branding KERA
Slogan Go public.
Channels Digital: 14 (UHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
Translators K44GS-D 44 (UHF), Wichita Falls, Texas
Owner North Texas Public Broadcasting
First air date September 14, 1960 (1960-09-14)
Call letters' meaning New era in broadcasting
Sister station(s) KERA (FM), KKXT
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 13 (VHF, 1960–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1960–1970)
Transmitter power 475 kW
Height 500 m
Facility ID 49324
Transmitter coordinates 32°34′43.5″N 96°57′13″W / 32.578750°N 96.95361°W / 32.578750; -96.95361Coordinates: 32°34′43.5″N 96°57′13″W / 32.578750°N 96.95361°W / 32.578750; -96.95361
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile

KERA-TV is a PBS member television station serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex on channel 13. KERA TV produces original content in North Texas, and carries national and international public television programming. As a member-supported, not-for-profit public television station, KERA's mission is to serve North Texans through public television and multimedia resources that educate, inspire, enrich, inform and entertain.[1] KERA TV is among the top three most-watched public television stations for children's programming.[1] KERA TV produces the original show CEO with Lee Cullum and has produced many other programs that have been distributed statewide and nationally.

KERA TV includes two additional channels. KERA World offers acclaimed documentary, public affairs and news programming on channel 13.2.[2] KERA Create features the best of public television's crafts, cooking and do-it-yourself programs on channel 13.3.[3]

KERA TV shares its call letters and offices with NPR member station KERA (90.1 FM). While there is cross-promotion between the two stations, each operates their own pledge drives.


Original Programs

KERA has long contributed original programming to the nationwide PBS system, including documentaries such as JFK: Breaking the News and the national Emmy Award-nominated Matisse and Picasso. KERA also produced the PBS documentary series The U.S. - Mexican War, which aired between 1995 and 2006. Other programs that have been distributed statewide and nationally include The Texas Debates, CEO and The Can Cliburn: 50 Years of Gold.

CEO with Lee Cullum features interviews with chief executives from the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. The show explores what it takes to make a company successful in today's global marketplace, asking questions about leadership style and ethics. This original monthly series of interviews with North Texas business leaders airs on both KERA TV and KERA FM.

Frame of Mind offers a collection of locally produced films, documentaries and video shorts in a series showcasing Texas-made, independent films. Frame of Mind is a co-production of KERA's Art&Seek and the Video Association of Dallas.

KERA Productions:

Children's Programming

KERA is among the top three most-watched public television stations for children's programming, reaching kids at an age when it matters most and opening a world of positive possibilities to help them achieve their potential. KERA's commercial-free, curriculum-based educational shows reach over 325,000 North Texas children each week, totaling more than 3,300 hours of educational programs each year. For many North Texas children, KERA is the first learning environment they will experience before kindergarten.


As a PBS member station, KERA broadcasts non-commercial, educational television programming distributed by PBS. PBS programs broadcast on KERA include NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Masterpiece, Nature and Antiques Roadshow.


The station began its life as a broadcasting arm of the Dallas Independent School District and was developed by local nonprofit Area Education Television Foundation, Inc. (which later evolved into North Texas Public Broadcasting), in cooperation with the district.[4] The district paid the station to carry instructional telecourses that it would produce for broadcast on channel 13. Southern Methodist University originally applied for the channel 13 allocation in the late 1950s, but had trouble raising enough funds for its start up costs. DISD superintendent W. T. White announced in October 1958 that it was expected to sign on the air by the beginning of the 1959-60 school year, with programming to include Spanish language instructional programming for area elementary school students.[4] The foundation had difficulty in meeting its fundraising goals to start broadcasting; by May 1959, the foundation was said to be $265,000 short of its $890,000 target to cover the proposed station's first two years of broadcasting.[5]

KERA 13 ident used until 2000

The station's early operation benefited frequently through help from the commercial broadcasters in the Metroplex. Its original license application had received permission by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast from Fair Park (on land donated to the station by the Dallas city government), but in 1960 it applied to be permitted to broadcast from studios on Harry Hines Boulevard[6] that were set to be vacated by ABC affiliate WFAA-TV (channel 8), which was building new studio facilities at Young and Houston Streets to accommodate the operations of WFAA-AM-FM-TV as well as those of local newspaper The Dallas Morning News (ironically, WFAA-FM once held the KERA-FM calls now used by channel 13's radio sister);[7] the building on Harry Hines, which the Dallas Independent School District purchased for $400,000, had been used by WFAA from its sign-on (as KBTV) in 1949.

The station signed on the air on September 14, 1960. It temporarily operated from studios at the Davis Building in downtown Dallas, behind the original WFAA building, in two portable buildings that were made to resemble a schoolhouse; it migrated its operations to the Harry Hines Boulevard facility in April 1961. It used the original WFAA-TV transmitting facility until it moved its transmitter to a tower at Cedar Hill that is shared with KTVT (channel 11); the station's transmitter only covered Dallas and surrounding suburbs, until a new transmitter was installed on August 31, 1970 that expanded KERA's signal coverage into Fort Worth. In 1974, it became the first television station in the United States to broadcast episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and is often credited with introducing the program to American audiences.[8]

KERA-TV's previous ident used from 2000 until January 2016.

The station's parent North Texas Public Broadcasting signed on a secondary PBS member station in the market, KDTN (channel 2), on September 1, 1988. It used the station primarily to run educational and instructional programming that had previously filled much of the station's daytime schedule. It then shifted to offering primarily entertainment programming from PBS and other public television distributors. It sold KDTN to religious broadcaster Daystar – which bought it in order to get a better signal in the market, selling its original flagship KMPX (channel 29, now an Estrella TV owned-and-operated station) in turn – in 2004. However, through a special arrangement, it announced plans to continue its digital programming on KDTN's digital signal, in order to free up bandwidth on its main digital signal to allow the station to upgrade to high definition broadcasts. However, it has not needed additional subchannel bandwidth from KDTN as it operates only one additional subchannel service outside of its main signal.

News Operation

On February 16, 1970, KERA became one of the earliest educational television stations to establish a news department, and began to air a 6pm newscast titled Newsroom, which was based on a similar program that aired on PBS's San Francisco member station KQED. In October 1976, the program was relaunched as a primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m., predating the move of then-independent station KTVT (channel 11, now a CBS owned-and-operated station)'s late evening newscast to the 9:00 p.m. timeslot in August 1990. It moved its evening newscast two hours earlier to 7pm on January 31, 1977, and renamed the program as 13 Report the following month. It shut down its news department on September 21, 1977.

Notable former on-air staff


Wichita Falls

Prior to the sign-on of the station's Wichita Falls translator, it had a unique arrangement to distribute its programming to the area, which was one of the few areas of Texas (and the United States, as a whole) without a PBS station of its own. A group headed by longtime State Representative Ray Farabee launched KIDZ-TV on UHF channel 24 in 1973; it maintained a full-power license, but operated at an effective radiated power of only 2.82 kilowatts.[9] Before the expansion of cable television into the area, the goals were simple; among them, to make the popular children's program Sesame Street available to Wichita Falls (at the time, it was standard for PBS to offer programs to commercial stations in areas without their own PBS stations, but for whatever reasons none of the three stations in the Wichita Falls-Lawton market were interested). The local group had planned to apply for and build a translator. At the time, translators were only allowed to use signals picked up off the air, and its signal was marginal at best in that part of North Texas.

KIDZ-TV shared tower space with Wichita Falls CBS affiliate KAUZ-TV (channel 6). It rebroadcast KERA during all of the hours that KAUZ was on the air, roughly between 6:00 a.m. and midnight. This meant that some specials that aired on weekends were cut off early when the KAUZ engineers (who tended channel 24 as a public service) went home.

By the late 1970s, FCC rules regarding translators were changed to allow the microwave feed to be used to feed the translator class of station. KERA was therefore able to build its own translator in Wichita Falls, also on channel 24, as K24AD. The translator provided a better picture, and could operate during all of the hours that KERA was on the air. It moved to UHF channel 44 in 2005 and changed its callsign to K44GS. In September 2009, the FCC granted the station a construction permit to convert its signal to digital; the permit remained valid until September 2012 (the current occupant of channel 24, K24HH-D, is unrelated to K24AD or the earlier KIDZ-TV).[10]


In October 2009, North Texas Public Broadcasting applied to the FCC for a translator license in Tyler. It requested a license for the station to operate on UHF channel 25.[11] The application was dismissed in March 2011.[12] Two additional ones are still pending for UHF channels 35 and 44, but no apparent actions have been taken on these to date.[13][14]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[15]
13.1 1080i 16:9 KERA Main KERA-TV programming / PBS
13.2 480i World World
13.3 4:3 Create Create

Analog-to-digital conversion

KERA-TV signed on its digital signal on UHF channel 14 in 2003. The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 13, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[16] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 14, using PSIP to display KERA-TV's virtual channel as 13 on digital television receivers.

See also


  1. 1 2 "About | KERA". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  2. "KERA World 13.2 | KERA". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  3. "KERA Launches KERA Create | KERA". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  4. 1 2 (No author.) "White sets plans for TV school", The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 15, 1958, page 8A.
  5. "Weather Vane" (news briefs column), The Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1959, page 29.
  6. (No author.) "Approval by FCC asked by station", The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 16, 1960, page 2.
  7. (No author.) "Contracts OK'd for building of WFAA studios", The Dallas Morning News, Dec. 31, 1959, page 1A.
  8. Peppard, Alan (2011-08-25). "Alan Peppard: Bob Wilson hailed in KERA documentary". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  9. Broadcasting Yearbook 1975, page B-136
  10. FCC data for K24HH-D
  11. FCC application for digital translator service, filed 10-2-2009. Retrieved 10-11-2009.
  12. Application Search Details, Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  13. Application Search Details, Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 09-07-2012.
  14. Application Search Details, Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 09-07-2012.
  15. RabbitEars TV Query for KERA
  16. List of Digital Full-Power Stations

External links

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