KWBU-TV Celebrates Increased Power, New Broadcast Facility

News Photo 712
(L to R) KWBU General Manager Kliff Kuehl, Bernard and Audre Rapoport of the Rapoport Foundation, Michael Oppenheimer of Clear Channel Communications and Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. cut the ribbon celebrating the completion of KWBU-TV's new broadcast facility and transmission tower.
Chris Hansen / Baylor Photography
Oct. 11, 2002

Central Texas public television station KWBU-TV celebrated the completed construction and installation of its new Channel 34 broadcast facility today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the tower site near Moody.

Among those participating in the ceremony were Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr., Waco philanthropists Bernard and Audre Rapoport and Clear Channel Communications general manager Michael Oppenheimer.

Because of the upgraded transmission system and tower, KWBU-TV has nearly quadrupled the geographical area covered by the station's broadcast signal, including all of Falls, Bell and Coryell counties and parts of Milam, Limestone, Hill and Bosque counties. Previously only residents of McLennan County could receive the station's five-kilowatt signal, which has been increased to 1,950 kilowatts.

The tower was donated by Clear Channel Communications while the transmission system was funded in part by grants from public and private organizations in the state, including Waco's Rapoport Foundation.

"KWBU is a member of the 14-station Texas Public Educational Broadcasting Network, and the stations all went together to apply for funding to increase broadcasting coverage and build an interconnected network," said Carla Hervey, KWBU office manager.

KWBU vice president and general manager Kliff Kuehl said the enhanced signal is the first of two major technical changes which will be made. The second is the station's eventual introduction of digital broadcasting, which will include a joint broadcasting test project done in cooperation with KERA-TV in Dallas. The project will help demonstrate data casting and applications for homeland security to President Bush when he is staying at his ranch in Crawford.

"We will install a digital transmitter in the spring 2003," Kuehl said. "Between the time of the analog signal upgrade (in August 2002) and the installation of our full power digital transmitter, we will conduct data casting tests with KERA. They'll send a digital signal to us, and we will convey it to Crawford, where President Bush's office will be able to capture it on a data cast card."

The purpose of the test is to determine whether or not the Bush Administration would like federal security organizations such as the FBI to use the data casting system.

Kuehl said all installation and testing of the digital transmitter will be completed by May 1, 2003, which will allow KWBU to broadcast data and standard and high definition television signals throughout Central Texas.

KWBU is a non-profit educational channel operated by Brazos Valley Public Broadcasting Foundation.

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