The agreement will provide expanded quality programming in both Lubbock and El Paso
The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents on Friday (Aug. 9) approved the partnership of Texas Tech Public Media (KTTZ) with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) station in El Paso, KCOS, that will give both stations a wider audience reach with the merger of resources and programming.
The partnership is contingent upon the approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Under the agreement, KCOS will remain in El Paso and continue to provide local programming and educational information to the community.
"Texas Tech Public Media and KCOS share similar missions of educating and inspiring their local communities to stay informed and engaged, as well as bringing innovative programming that challenges the brains of younger and older minds alike," said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University president. "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 agreement, Texas Tech Public Media will bring KCOS' four television channels (KCOS PBS Channel 13, KCOS Create Channel 13.3, KCOS EPCC-TV Channel 13.2 and KCOS-HDTV Channel 13.1) under its umbrella to combine with KTTZ's four television stations (KTTZ PBS Channel 5, KTTZ HDTV Channel 5.1, KTTZ Create Channel 5.2, KTTZ 24/7 and PBS Kids Channel 5.3) 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).
The partnership has received support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which has pledged to provide new funding streams and grants to solidify the partnership.
Viewers in El Paso will continue to enjoy the same quality programming they have become accustomed to from KCOS upon the transfer of its broadcasting license to Texas Tech. An advisory board of El Paso officials will provide feedback on local programming and encourage local support, and the station is expected to remain a vital partner for area nonprofits, businesses, members and donors.
"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," KCOS General Manager Emily Loya said. "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."
This partnership will provide for enhanced collaboration between KTTZ and KCOS on more regional programming and storytelling. KTTZ is a two-time Emmy Award-winning station that has been nominated for three others under the leadership of general manager Paul Allen Hunton, who will head up this new partnership.
"The Texas Tech Public Media family is excited to welcome KCOS, and we are looking forward to collaborating with our colleagues in El Paso," Hunton said. "We are committed to continuing to support local programming and outreach in El Paso. We plan to increase the use of PBS Learning Media in El Paso schools and develop even more robust local coverage of state and regional issues."