we began looking into a timeline of PEG (Public Educational-Governmental) channels on cable, and mass communications in general for USD259 and WSU in Wichita. USD259 was given three channels and WSU one channel by Air Capital Cablevision, as part of their franchise application in Wichita and Sedgwick County, KS. USD259 converted their mass communications from hauling educational films around in vans to various schools that had requested them. WSU began showing some educational films and tapes, and both planned to use a character generator for announcement of scheduled programming. This was prior to satellite usage by either entity.
As C.E. of Air Capitol Cablevision, I set up a portable dish in WSU's parking lot and left a receiver with them for a week end preview. With a
network to assist with programming chores, the voracious appetite of the public was better satisfied. In time, WSU participated in ITFS with Multimedia Cablevision (purchased AirCap) by leasing three of four
channels they licensed to the cable system, and they programmed one in a two way ITFS channel, even microwaving that A-1 channel to Hutchinson Community College.
Multimedia also leased channels from, and assisted Friends & Newman Colleges in the necessary license filing for four each ITFS channels,
to achieve a total of 22 entertainment, news and weather channels for its wireless cable television enterprise. Later on, WSU's views changed on the efficacy of ITFS, and they dropped programming the A-1
channel. Multimedia also sold their Wireless Cable venture to another business. Eventually that went away as well, but WSU still was able to lease out all four of the ITFS Band channels to others for various uses,
but continued hard wired programming Channel 13 on the Wichita Cable system (now owned by Cox), and USD259 surrendered two of its PEG channels when the franchise was switched to over to Cox. That brings us to the
present, and WSU's views have now changed such that they have relinquished channel 13 on the Wichita Cable system as of June 30, 2017.
I don't know what all went into that thinking, but the recent cuts of budgets to all state funded colleges and uncertainties of future funding
may have played a major role in this decision. WSU has also become more comfortable with streaming programs on demand on the Internet, as have many educational facilities. If you think about it, the infrastructure
requirements for streaming are considerably less, especially with new ventures. What would have been spent on large buildings, and two or three shifts of persons to staff a programming operation now shifts to a
library agreement with program sources, and server facilities. Program acquisition has changed from terrestrial and satellite microwave to Internet connections. The streaming option has improvements in reliability,
reduced labor, maintenance and infrastructure costs from startup through ongoing, assuming enough bandwidth is available to the user. Take note broadcasters! All it would take is a shift in public viewing
preferences, and the costly high powered transmitters and the high towers of today might turn into servers with distribution through cell phone towers and Internet to cell phones and smart TV receivers in the home.
Outlying rural areas could be served with low power or translator type off air transmitters and the entire structure of broadcasting as we know it today could be upended!
I would be remiss if I did not mention a recent interview of retired photographer and KAKE TV news anchor Larry Hatteburg by KPTS GM, Victor
Hogstrom. Larry made a statement I thought encompassed much of the history of broadcasting. He said something along the line of: "I was proud to be a part of television when television meant something to the
community." He had been recalling the part local TV played in the community, before the buyouts by large media companies and the loss of local control and local decision making.
Larry remembered the live programming using local groups and individuals. He told of trips to foreign lands to film subjects that had local
ties to or that were important to his viewers. It was an interesting interview and brought up memories that have relevance to the subject at hand - Timeline of Television in Wichita. Fortunately for Larry, now
retired, his GM, Martin Umanski, set Larry up with the title for and franchising of the feature he was producing, "Hatteburg's People", which is now successfully running on KPTS and KSNW. I hope you have the chance
to see this series soon in your market.
Early engineers in Wichita, include Harold Newby, KAKE; Ken Cook and Dale Heckle, KWCH; Russ Goyette, Rod Herring, and Glenn Bell KARD/KSN-TV.
Many had their start in radio, but all were innovators and mentors to many young engineers, and they all found ways to shape what television would become as it began to evolve with addition of color; stereo; moved
from using electron tubes to transistors to integrated circuits; and video tape replaced film.
KSN led the way in expanding their influence to Western Kansas with the purchase of the bankrupt Tri-Circle Network, headquartered in Great
Bend, followed by KWCH and KAKE to complete reception of all three major networks by most of the viewers in Central and Western Kansas, as well as some Eastern viewers. It is true, that much of the development and
change that occurred in broadcasting in Kansas and elsewhere was a direct result of the attitudes of the FCC. When TV bloomed in Kansas, no cross ownership was allowed between newspapers, radio, and television
stations. It had been allowed between radio and newspapers earlier, because it existed in Oklahoma City at the time.
The FCC wanted no thought control in the mass media, especially as it related to one entity or party controlling attitudes expressed in the
media in any one market, and by this time cable television had been thrown into the mix. Later, as satellite delivery of varied programs and opinions changed on the possibility of "thought control" in any given
market, cross ownership of multiple station ownership in a single market was relaxed as well as mixed media in a single market. It has been interesting to contemplate these changes over time. The end result is that
newspapers are losing dominance, subscribers, and are retreating to multiple papers being printed and controlled in larger and larger geographic areas, but the same can be said of locally produced programming
including radio and television news. Locally produced programming outside of news has been generally taken on by educational stations, but even many local stations have contracted with leading news stations in the
same market to produce news shows for their own use.
The same thing had occurred as early as 1963 - 64, when Western Kansas stations had the main segment of their news reduced to a small insert of
actual local news. The main segment of the news originated in Wichita. When ad sales fell further in Western Kansas that trend was accelerated. I suppose the entire process could be summed up in the phrase, "Follow
the money". Sadly, that applies to more things than broadcasting, as Internet sales and the direct reduction of sales in local malls and in major department stores in smaller towns. Many small rural towns are drying
up as they lose their large grocery stores, schools, US Post Offices, and even restaurants. The revenues are not there for major grocery affiliates, and in many cases, persons willing to submit to the long hours
necessary for less and less income is not a scenario that is conducive to sustaining small businesses.
Kent Cornish of KAB writes:
While the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not decided whether or when to have another national EAS test this year, the FCC's EAS rules provide for yearly updates to the Form One information in the Electronic Test Reporting System. Recently, the FCC released a Public Notice containing instructions on how to register for ETRS using the Commission Registration System (CORES). Among the improvements made to the ETRS in 2017 is that filers will now use a single account to file on behalf of multiple FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs).
The Commission will release a Public Notice in July announcing the availability of Form One of the ETRS, and the date by which EAS Participants
will be required to have updated their Form One information in the ETRS. Instructions for updating Form One are linked below. We suggest you hold on to these pending release of the July Public Notice. Thanks.
Kent Cornish, President
Kansas Association of Broadcasters
Kent has also requested
of engineers ideas and subjects for speakers that are pertinent to our changing times for KAB's Engineering Day. Let him know.
Raun Hamilton of Southwest Audio Video writes:
Southwest Audio Visual is holding an Equipment Showcase that is something you sure don't want to miss. We will have over 25 vendors that will have the latest equipment on hand for you to see, as well as the reps to ask questions with, and get demos from.
The exhibitors as it stands right now involves: