On Monday, officials with KCOS PBS in El Paso and Texas Tech Public Media (KTTZ) in Lubbock announced their plans for a formalized partnership that will leverage the resources and programming of each station to reach a wider audience.
“Texas Tech Public Media and KCOS share similar missions of informing and educating their local communities, as well as bringing innovative programming that challenges younger and older viewers alike,” said Texas Tech University President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec. “It is this mission alignment that will allow our partnership to thrive and allow each station to have an even bigger impact in their communities.”
Under the new partnership, which was approved by the Board of Regents of the Texas Tech University System on Friday, August 9th and filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today, KCOS will remain based in El Paso and will continue to produce local programming and serve as an educator and storyteller in the community.
“This partnership will allow KCOS and KTTZ to consolidate operating expenses and activities and build capacity for innovation and greater local and regional service in the areas of content and education,” said KCOS General Manager Emily Loya. “Both stations will continue to produce and air their own programming, and both stations will continue to work with their existing partners to provide educational and cultural offerings to their diverse local audiences.”
“The Texas Tech Public Media family is excited to welcome KCOS, and we are looking forward to collaborating with Emily Loya and our colleagues in El Paso,” said Texas Tech Public Media General Manager Paul Allen Hunton. “We are committed to continuing local programming and outreach in El Paso, including increasing the use of PBS Learning Media in El Paso schools and developing more robust local content that tells the amazing stories of the people of El Paso and West Texas.”
KCOS and KTTZ expect to collaborate more on regional programs and stories through their partnership. KTTZ has won two Emmys and has been nominated for three additional Emmys under Hunton’s leadership. He will lead the combined organization.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) supports the new partnership and will provide access to new funding streams and grants to solidify the partnership.
“Local partnerships enable local public media stations to flourish by streamlining operations and allowing them to focus on producing quality educational programming with a strong regional flavor. We support the consolidation efforts of KCOS and KTTZ and hope the citizens in West Texas will benefit from the combined strengths and increased capacities of these two stations, said Ted Krichels, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Senior Vice President, System Development and Media Strategy
“This merger reaffirms PBS’s commitment to serve West Texans with content that educates, inspires and entertains. We’re thrilled that our member stations will team up to expand its footprint and continue to do what it does so well: strengthen communities, prepare children for success in school and help viewers explore the world around them,” said Jim Dunford, PBS Senior Vice President.
Viewers will continue to tune into the same KCOS channels after the stations combine resources and transfer the KCOS broadcasting license to Texas Tech University. An El Paso advisory board will provide feedback on local programming and encourage local support of the station, and KCOS will continue to be a valued partner to area nonprofits, businesses, and its valued members and donors.
“El Paso is rich in culture, people, history, and geography and there are so many stories that this community could share with the rest of Texas,” said Chris Cook, Managing Director of the Office of Communications and Marketing for Texas Tech Public Media. “We are excited to collaborate with KCOS to explore what’s new and exciting in and around El Paso such as new restaurants, the underground music scene, as well as promote the rich history in El Paso and share this with the rest of Texas. This partnership will provide the platform for us to do so.”
“KCOS is an example of one of EPCC’s many community partners, the station is a strong collaborator with El Paso’s education community and has been a dynamic partner to EPCC for many years. We look forward to the opportunities that will be created by their new partnership with Texas Tech, and continuing our collaborations with KCOS to educate and engage El Pasoans of all ages,” said Dr. William Serrata, President, El Paso Community College (EPCC).
“As the voice of El Paso, KCOS has been an important source of local programming, including shows about health and well-being that reach all El Pasoans. We share KCOS’s commitment to our region, and to improving the quality of life for those who live here. It has been and will continue to be a vital partner in our mission to build a healthier El Paso. We are delighted to see our hometown PBS station formalize its relationship with our Texas Tech University family, ” stated Dr. Richard Lange, President, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
In order to capture the operational efficiencies made possible by their new relationship, KCOS and KTTZ will bring their eight broadcast channels (KCOS PBS Channel 13, KCOS Create Channel 13.3, KCOS EPCC-TV Channel 13.2, and KCOS-HDTV Channel 13.1 in El Paso and KTTZ PBS Channel 5, KTTZ HDTV Channel 5.1, KTTZ Create Channel 5.2, KTTZ 24/7 PBS Kids Channel 5.3 in Lubbock) and four radio stations (KTTZ-FM Channel 89.1, KTTZ HD2, KTTZ BBC World Service on HD3 in Lubbock and KNCH-FM Channel 90.1 in San Angelo) under the operating umbrella of Texas Tech Public Media.
KCOS and Texas Tech Public Media filed an application today with the FCC to approve the partnership between the two West Texas public television stations. The Federal Communications Commission will have 30 days to review the application, and members of each station will be able to submit comments during this 30 day window.