A Short History of Pioneer PBS | By Brendan Stermer | 1952 - 2014
The origins of public television in the United States can be traced to 1952, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reserved 242 channels on the public spectrum for non-commercial, educational use. The first of these stations to launch in the upper Midwest was KTCA-TV, channel 2, which began broadcasting in St. Paul, MN in 1957. Soon after, KTCA officials developed plans for a six-state educational television (ETV) network to serve North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin through a series of linked microwave towers. Appleton, in western Minnesota, was identified by the FCC as a logical location for a new link in this network because it was in the geographic center of an area not yet covered by an ETV signal and, once constructed, it could serve as a relay point to carry KTCA programming via microwave signal to other stations in the network.