Educational Television Channels - KLCS

KLCS, digital channel 41 and virtual channel 58 via PSIP, is a member station of the Public Broadcasting Service, and is owned by the Los Angeles Unified School District. KLCS is known on the air as "The Education Station for all Generations" and is based in downtown Los Angeles. It is the fifth most-watched Public television station in the country and one of three PBS stations serving the Los Angeles television market, alongside KVCR-TV in San Bernardino and KOCE in nearby Orange County. KCET (also based in Los Angeles), the former primary PBS station for the Los Angeles market, voluntarily severed ties with PBS effective January 1, 2011. PBS has announced that KOCE will then serve as the primary PBS television station in the Los Angeles area.

Pre-KLCS Years, 1957-1973
In October 1957, the Los Angeles Unified School District began producing televised instructional programs to be viewed in school by its students. By the 1966-67 school year, it was producing over 700 TV programs per year for broadcast on various local stations in the Los Angeles area and leasing airtime to broadcast 40 hours of instructional programming Monday through Friday each week. Over the years the district earned the support of teachers and administrators who were impressed with the effectiveness of the programs on the learning experience in the classroom.

In 1963, the LAUSD began the application process to acquire a license from the Federal Communications Commission and launch its own TV station, with UHF channel 58 its designated location on the dial. The district also applied for in 1967 and later received state and federal grants to build and equip a broadcast facility for the new station. In the summer of that year, advocates for the LAUSD testified before the FCC on the benefits of an instructional TV station for students, staff and the local community. Five years later, on March 3, 1972, the FCC granted the district a license to broadcast on channel 58, and the new station began operations on November 5, 1973 as KLCS, the call letters an apparent acronym for Los Angeles City Schools.

KLCS Today
KLCS is one of eight U.S. television stations licensed to a local school system, and today produces more than 700 hours of educational, informational, sports, and entertainment programming a year, including live telecourse instruction from the California State University system. It is one of five television stations licensed in the City of Los Angeles that continue to utilize their original call signs, the other stations being KTLA, KTTV, KCET, and KMEX.

Since 1984, KLCS has produced Homework Hotline, a weekday after-school call-in program where students receive homework help from LAUSD teachers and other faculty who appear on the show. In its first year Homework Hotline was featured in a Time magazine article titled "Education: Help from the Hotline", and over the years it has won many Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, including two in 1986 for Best Instructional Program and Creative Technical Crafts.

Unlike most public television stations, KLCS neither holds an annual pledge drive nor simulcasts its programming in High Definition alongside a Standard Definition signal. However, its website lists special premiums and discounts given to subscribers who support the station at various levels, including recognition on air and in KLCS' monthly viewer magazine.

Instead of broadcasting a 24-hour program schedule, KLCS still signs off at the end of each broadcast day, ceasing programming on some or all of its four subchannels at either 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. and resuming its schedule the next morning at either 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. One subchannel may continue overnight programming, such as for PBS Create or regular meetings of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, while the others have individually signed off. In lieu of a test pattern, a overnight-themed title card is aired reminding viewers to tune in the next morning when programming resumes. This makes KLCS one of the largest-market TV stations in the United States to still have traditional sign-on and sign-off procedures.

Digital television
KLCS' digital signal is multiplexed:

Channels Programming
58.1 Main KLCS programming / PBS
58.2 PBS Kids
58.3 Create
58.4 Telecourses*

*The Annenberg Channel originally aired on channel 58.4 until October 1, 2008, when that service was discontinued.

Analog-to-digital conversion
KLCS shut down its analog signal on June 12, 2009 at 3:00 PM, as part of the DTV transition in the United States. Its short farewell video was a montage of the station's on-air logos over the years, set to the song It's The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., then the signal was shut off in a flash cut. This song was also used by other stations to commemorate the transition to digital broadcasting, including Los Angeles station KTLA. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 41, using PSIP to display its virtual channel as 58.