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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Branding PBS 6
Channels Digital:
KUAT: 30 (UHF)
KUAS: 28 (UHF)
Subchannels (see article)
Translators K20GG-D Duncan
Affiliations PBS
Owner University of Arizona
(Arizona Board of Regents for the benefit of the University of Arizona)
First air date KUAT: March 8, 1959
KUAS: July 22, 1988
Call letters' meaning KUAT:
University of
University of
the Indonesian word for strong
KUAT Secondary
Sister station(s) KUAT-FM
Former channel number(s) Analog:
6 (VHF, 1959-2009)
27 (UHF, 1988-2009)
Former affiliations NET (1959-1970)
Transmitter power KUAT: 667.5 kW
KUAS: 50 kW
Height KUAT: 1092.1 m
KUAS: 177.9 m
Facility ID KUAT: 2731
KUAS: 2722
Transmitter coordinates



KUAT-TV (also known as PBS 6 is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member Public television station in Tucson, Arizona, United States. Owned by the Arizona Board of Regents and operated by the University of Arizona, it broadcasts from the facilities of Arizona Public Media, located on campus in the Modern Languages Building. KUAT's transmitter is located on Mount Bigelow and broadcasts in digital on UHF channel 30. The station can be seen in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix under the right conditions.

KUAT-TV's audio signal was heard on 87.75 MHz until March 31, 2009.

The station operates a full-time satellite, KUAS-TV, which covers northwest Tucson and the communities west of Mount Lemmon that are shielded from the KUAT signal. Its transmitter is located on Tumamoc Hill, west of downtown Tucson, broadcasting in digital on UHF channel 28. KUAT is also rebroadcast on translator station K20GG-D in Duncan, Arizona.


  • History 1
  • Programming 2
  • Digital television 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Former logo.

KUAT-TV launched on March 8, 1959 as the first public television station in Arizona. It was an affiliate of National Educational Television (NET), forerunner to PBS, from 1959 through 1970, when PBS replaced NET.

Like the other stations in the Mount Bigelow tower farm, KUAT-TV is barely viewable in much of northwest Tucson and areas west of Mount Lemmon (even though its coverage area should theoretically include most of southern Arizona). The Santa Catalina Mountains abruptly end with a steep drop-off in Oro Valley, a Tucson suburb, and communities near the mountain are shielded by terrain from the signal. As a result, much of this area only got a grade B ("rimshot") signal from KUAT-TV until the arrival of cable television in Tucson in the 1970s.

Eventually, the U of A activated Tucson's second noncommercial license on UHF channel 27, and opened KUAS as a satellite of KUAT. The construction permit was granted on July 25, 1985, and after two failed attempts, the station went on the air on July 22, 1988 under Program Test Authority, and was licensed on December 20.

In July 2003, the Aspen fire interrupted the KUAT transmitter's remote control system. The station was forced to remain off the air, instead of signing on in the morning, as it could not restart its transmitter. Operations on KUAS and cable distribution were unaffected.[1]

Both stations were granted construction permits to build digital facilities in August 2001, and both signed on in February 2003. KUAT-DT received Special Temporary Authorization to operate at reduced power the same month. KUAS-DT was licensed on June 5, 2003, and KUAT-DT received a license for its full facilities on September 23, 2004.


As a PBS member station, KUAT-TV televises the most popular PBS shows, such as Frontline, NOW, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week and Antiques Roadshow.

Two notable long-running series on KUAT are produced in-house: Arizona Illustrated, a nightly newsmagazine which has provided in-depth coverage and analysis on local public affairs issues since 1980, and The Desert Speaks, an Emmy Award-winning natural history and travel series (hosted for its first few seasons by veteran Western TV and film actor Don Collier). University students handle most of the production of Arizona Illustrated, providing them with valuable hands-on experience. The Desert Speaks is produced in high-definition, has been distributed nationally to PBS member stations and has been picked up by the high-definition television channel, HDNet. KUAT also produces Reflexiones Domingo, a Spanish-language newsmagazine that airs on Sunday mornings.

In addition to its primary programming, KUAT operates two digital subchannels on channel 6, V-me and Create and two subchannels on channel 27, KUAT Kids and PBS World. V-me is a Spanish-language public television network offering programming focused on the Latino culture, while Create focuses on home improvement, do-it-yourself, arts and crafts, cooking and travel. KUAT Kids, formerly known as PBS Kids, offers youth-focused educational and entertainment programming, while World features non-fictional programming.

Arizona Public Media also operates The UA Channel, which is only available on Cox and Comcast cable systems in the Tucson area.[2] The UA Channel offers programming of specific interest to the University of Arizona community and includes many locally-produced programs.

Digital television

Channel Video Aspect Programming
6.1 720p 16:9 Main KUAT programming / PBS
6.2 480i 4:3 V-Me
6.3 Create
Channel Video Aspect Programming
27.1 720p 16:9 Simulcast of KUAT-DT1
27.2 480i 4:3 KUAT Kids
27.3 PBS World


  1. ^
  2. ^

External links

  • KUAT-TV website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for KUAT
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for KUAS
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for K20GG-D
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KUAT-TV
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KUAS-TV
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