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Prairie Public Television
Prairie Public.png
statewide North Dakota
Channels Digital: see table below
Subchannels see table below
Owner Prairie Public Broadcasting, Inc.
First air date January 19, 1964
Call letters’ meaning see table below
Sister station(s) Prairie Public Radio
Former affiliations NET (1964-1970)
Transmitter Power see table below
Height see table below
Facility ID see table below
Transmitter Coordinates see table below

Prairie Public Television (also known as Prairie Public, or simply PPTV) is the PBS member network for the U.S. state of North Dakota. Part of Prairie Public Broadcasting along with the Prairie Public radio network, the network currently has nine digital stations. Combined, the stations reach all of North Dakota, plus portions of Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. The network is headquartered in Fargo.



In 1959, North Central Educational Television, the predecessor organization to PPTV, was incorporated. On January 19, 1964, KFME signed on from Fargo as North Dakota's first educational television station.

KFME then set up a satellite station in 1974, KGFE in Grand Forks, marking the beginning of what is now the statewide PPTV network. A year earlier, KFME had almost shut down due to lack of funding. KFME acquired a color video tape recorder in 1967, and color cameras were purchased in 1975. Also in 1975, the organization adopted the "Prairie Public Television" name, and appeared on cable TV in Canada for the first time when it was picked up by cable systems in Winnipeg][1] and Brandon, Manitoba.

In 1977, the state legislature granted PPTV funding to build a statewide network. Residents in Bismarck and points west had tried to get their own station since 1968, and PPTV had been available on cable since the early 1970s. To make the statewide expansion possible, PPTV purchased a satellite earth station in 1978 to receive PBS programming.

KBME in Bismarck was established in 1979, bringing public television to the western portion of the state for the first time. KSRE in Minot followed suit in 1980 and, KDSE in Dickinson in 1982. PPTV purchased the Fargo American Life Building in 1983 and moved into the new broadcasting facilities to there in 1984. In 1989 PPTV went to a 24 hour broadcast schedule. Prairie School Television began in 1988, and the Prairie Satellite Network distance education network, with 70 sites was completed in 1994. Later, KWSE in Williston signed on in 1983, and KJRE in Ellendale/Jamestown signed on in 1992.

Prairie Public Television became the first broadcaster in North Dakota to broadcast in high definition, with KFME-DT and KBME-DT, of Fargo and Bismarck respectively, debuting in 2002. Digital-only station KCGE-DT signed on from Crookston/Grand Forks, in 2003, with the rest of the PPTV analog stations broadcasting in HDTV by 2004. The transmitter for KGFE was damaged in May 2004, due to ice buildup on the tower, which caused very large chunks of ice to fall off and go through the roof of the transmitter building. This caused water damage to the transmitter's equipment, as well as damage to the roof of the transmitter site. KGFE went back on the air on February, 2005 on low power. KMDE-DT of Devils Lake signed on in 2005, covering the western half of KGFE's viewing area.

Several documentaries about southern Manitoba have been produced, including: Portage Avenue: Dreams of Castles in the Sky, Red River Divide, Assiniboine Park: A Park for all Seasons, Lake Winnipeg's Paradise Beaches, among others. Manitoba has historically been a significant supporter of Prairie Public Television (the population of Winnipeg alone is slightly larger than the population of the state of North Dakota), in part because unlike most other provinces, Manitoba has never had its own full-time public or educational television station. In return, the station has opened up many of its contests for Canadian residents, and has sponsored events in Manitoba, including the International Friendship Festival in Winnipeg.

Local Programming

Prairie Public TV has broadcast a weekly regional program, of various names through most of its history:

  • SPIN (1976)
  • North Dakota This Week (1980)
  • Skyline (early 1980s)
  • Prairie News Journal (1990–1997)
  • PlainsTalk (1998)
  • Prairie Pulse (2004–present) - hosted by John Harris also broadcasts in High Definition.

Prairie Public Television also broadcasts Almanac from Twin Cities Public Television in Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as carries TPT's digital Minnesota Channel on Prairie Public's digital channels, interestingly, throughout all of North Dakota.


Station City of license Channels First air date Call letters
ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
KFME Fargo Digital: 13 (VHF)
Virtual: 13 (PSIP)
January 19, 1964 Fargo-
29.7 kW 322 m 53321 47°0′45″N 97°11′41″W / 47.0125°N 97.19472°W / 47.0125; -97.19472 (KFME)
KGFE Grand Forks Digital: 15 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
September 9, 1974 Grand
22.6 kW 186.1 m 53320 47°58′38″N 96°36′18″W / 47.97722°N 96.605°W / 47.97722; -96.605 (KGFE)
KBME-TV1 Bismarck Digital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
June 18, 1979 Bismarck-
97.3 kW 392 m 53324 46°35′23″N 100°48′2″W / 46.58972°N 100.80056°W / 46.58972; -100.80056 (KBME-TV)
KSRE Minot Digital: 40 (UHF)
Virtual: 6 (PSIP)
January 25, 1980 Souris
146 kW 249.4 m 53313 48°3′2″N 101°23′25″W / 48.05056°N 101.39028°W / 48.05056; -101.39028 (KSRE)
KDSE Dickinson Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
August 4, 1982 Dickinson/
Stark County
8.35 kW 243.5 m 53329 46°43′35″N 102°54′57″W / 46.72639°N 102.91583°W / 46.72639; -102.91583 (KDSE)
KWSE Williston Digital: 51 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
April 8, 1983 WilliSton
53.9 kW 247.9 m 53318 48°8′30″N 103°53′34″W / 48.14167°N 103.89278°W / 48.14167; -103.89278 (KWSE)
KJRE Ellendale Digital: 20 (UHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
May 19922 James
72.3 kW 162.5 m 53315 46°17′56″N 98°51′56″W / 46.29889°N 98.86556°W / 46.29889; -98.86556 (KJRE)
KCGE-DT Crookston, MN
(Grand Forks)
Digital: 16 (UHF)
Virtual: 16 (PSIP)
2003 Crookston/
Grand Forks
105 kW 219.6 m 132606 47°58′38″N 96°36′18″W / 47.97722°N 96.605°W / 47.97722; -96.605 (KCGE-DT)
KMDE Devils Lake Digital: 25 (UHF)
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
2006 Minnewaukan-
Devils Lake
134 kW 244.5 m 162016 48°3′47.8″N 99°20′8.7″W / 48.063278°N 99.33575°W / 48.063278; -99.33575 (KMDE)

1: KBME-TV used the callsign KBME (without the -TV suffix) from its 1979 sign-on until 1998.
2: The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says KJRE signed on May 12, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on May 11.

Prairie Public Television is also relayed by translators K07NE Lisbon and K11QD Hazen.

Digital television

The network carries four digital subchannels:

(## = local channel)
Programming Service Programming Description
PPB1 Prairie Public Television HD Prairie Public Television's traditional schedule in 1080i high definition; standard definition programs are shown with pillarboxing.
PPB2 Prairie Public Television SD Prairie Public Television's traditional schedule in 480i standard definition for the benefit of cable providers/viewers, and viewers with traditional televisions connected to converter boxes. Widescreen programming is carried with letterboxing.
PPB3 Minnesota Channel Programming from Twin Cities Public Television's program service which provides shows of regional and political interest in 480i. Despite the channel's name, programming relevant to North Dakota is carried often on the network.
PPB4 PPB Lifelong Learning Channel A 480i channel featuring a mix of Instructional programming with content from American Public Television (APT), National Educational Television Association (NETA), Executive Program Service (EPS) and independent producers. Prairie Public provides encore airings of the PBS's weeknight primetime programming and locally produced documentaries during the weekends.

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Videon Will Offer Viewers New Fare". Winnipeg Free Press. July 11, 1975. p. 11.  


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