Iowa PBS
TypeNon-commercial educational broadcast television network
United States
Availabilitystatewide Iowa
TV transmitters9
Headquarters6450 Corporate Drive, Johnston, Iowa
OwnerIowa Public Broadcasting Board
Launch date
  • April 27, 1959; 64 years ago (1959-04-27) (KDIN-TV)
  • 1969; 55 years ago (1969) (statewide network launch)
Picture format
Affiliation(s)PBS, APT
AffiliatesSee § Stations and § Translators
NET (1959–1970)
Official website

Iowa PBS, formerly Iowa Public Television (IPTV), is a network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member stations in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is operated by the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board, an agency of the state education department which holds the licenses for all the PBS member stations in the state. Iowa PBS' headquarters are located at 6450 Corporate Drive in Johnston, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines.


Logo as "Iowa Public Television" used until 2019

Iowa is a pioneer in educational broadcasting; it is home to two of the oldest educational radio broadcast stations in the world, the University of Iowa's WSUI and Iowa State University's WOI.

The electrical engineering department at the State University of Iowa (SUI) in Iowa City demonstrated television with an exhibit at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on August 28, 1931. J. L. Potter supervised the project. At the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair, the television experiment was set up in the communications laboratory of the electrical engineering building at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

By 1933, the University of Iowa received an FCC license for experimental TV station W9XK, later W9XUI, providing twice a week video programming, with WSUI radio providing the audio channel. By 1939, the FCC allocated TV channels 1 and 12 for W9XUI.[1] This early attempt at educational broadcasting ended by December 1941, with the entrance of the United States into World War II.[2][3][4]

The University of Iowa later applied for a construction permit for station WSUI-TV on channel 11 in February 1948.[5]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) froze the granting of new television licenses, on September 30, 1948. The FCC, at the time, was swamped with hundreds of requests for licensing. It was creating a problem for allocation and causing interference issues. The FCC wanted time to study the issues and work towards a better overall solution.[6]

The freeze, originally set to last just six months, was extended when the Korean War began. Plus, the issues the FCC was trying to resolve were complicated and many. It ended up taking four years to end the freeze.

The April 14, 1952, FCC "6th Report and Order" effectively lifted the freeze. The decisions had been made on all five dilemmas. In the end, a color standard was chosen, 242 channels were designated for educational non-commercial use, strict rules separated stations sharing channels, channel allocation was resolved with an assignment table, and the entire spectrum of UHF band channels was authorized for use.

In 1951, the university supported the reallocation of channel 11 to Des Moines for an educational television station there.[7]

Meanwhile, Iowa State University's WOI-TV in Ames avoided the 1948 Freeze and began commercial broadcast operations in 1950 and carried some National Educational Television programming.[8] Des Moines Public Schools applied for the channel 11 allocation and signed on KDPS-TV as the educational station for central Iowa in 1959. However, in the 1960s the only other areas of the state with a clear signal from an educational station were the southwest (from Nebraska ETV's KYNE-TV in Omaha), and the northwest (from South Dakota ETV's KUSD-TV in Vermillion).

In 1969, the state of Iowa bought KDPS-TV from the Des Moines Public Schools and changed its calls to KDIN-TV, intending it to be the linchpin of a statewide educational television network. As part of the state's ambition, it rebranded KDIN as the Iowa Educational Broadcasting Network.

The network's second station, KIIN-TV in Iowa City, joined IEBN in 1970 to expand statewide educational programming to eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. Soon afterward, IEBN became a charter member of PBS. By 1977 the newly renamed Iowa Public Broadcasting Network had eight full-power stations. The Iowa Public Television name was adopted in 1982 and began on-air January 1, 1983. In 2003, it purchased KQCT-TV in Davenport, which repeated the programming of Quad Cities PBS station WQPT-TV in the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. The calls were changed to KQIN.

IPTV was originally run by the state's General Services Department before Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill creating Iowa Public Television as a separate state agency on May 16, 1983. In 1986, IPTV became part of the state's Cultural Affairs Department, and on July 1, 1992, IPTV became part of the Iowa Department of Education.

Combined, the nine Iowa PBS stations reach almost all of Iowa and portions of the surrounding states of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

On December 2, 2019, IPTV announced that it would rebrand as Iowa PBS in 2020, in alignment with PBS' new national brand identity.[9]


Nine full-power TV stations make up the network; all stations have callsigns beginning with the letter K, as licensed by the FCC, and ending in IN (standing for Iowa Network). Aside from their transmitters, the network's stations (except KDIN-TV) do not maintain any physical presence in their cities of license.

Station City of license
(other cities served)
(RF / VC)
First air date Second letter's meaning ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates Former callsigns Public license information
KBIN-TV Council Bluffs
(Omaha, NE)
33 (UHF)
September 7, 1975 (48 years ago) (1975-09-07) Council Bluffs 200 kW 98 m (322 ft) 29108 41°15′15″N 95°50′8″W / 41.25417°N 95.83556°W / 41.25417; -95.83556 (KBIN-TV) KBIN (1975–1980) Public file
KDIN-TV Des Moines 11 (VHF)
April 27, 1959 (64 years ago) (1959-04-27) Des Moines 22.5 kW 600 m (1,969 ft) 29102 41°48′33″N 93°36′54″W / 41.80917°N 93.61500°W / 41.80917; -93.61500 (KDIN-TV) (Alleman) KDPS-TV (1959–1969) Public file
KHIN Red Oak 35 (UHF)
September 7, 1975 (48 years ago) (1975-09-07) 600 kW 475 m (1,558 ft) 29085 41°20′39″N 95°15′22″W / 41.34417°N 95.25611°W / 41.34417; -95.25611 (KHIN) (Hancock) KJAA (CP, 1974–1975)[10] Public file
KIIN Iowa City
(Cedar Rapids)
12 (VHF)
February 8, 1970 (54 years ago) (1970-02-08) Iowa City 57 kW 439 m (1,440 ft) 29095 41°43′15″N 91°20′30″W / 41.72083°N 91.34167°W / 41.72083; -91.34167 (KIIN) (West Branch) KIIN-TV (1970–1980) Public file
KQIN Davenport
MolineRock Island, IL)
34 (UHF)
December 16, 1991 (32 years ago) (1991-12-16) Quad Cities 199.5 kW 233 m (764 ft) 5471 41°18′44.5″N 90°22′46.2″W / 41.312361°N 90.379500°W / 41.312361; -90.379500 (KQIN) (Orion, IL) KQCT (1991–2003) Public file
KRIN Waterloo 35 (UHF)
December 15, 1974 (49 years ago) (1974-12-15) Waterloo 250 kW 584 m (1,916 ft) 29114 42°18′59″N 91°51′31″W / 42.31639°N 91.85861°W / 42.31639; -91.85861 (KRIN) (Rowley) KRIN-TV (1/24/1980–11/3/1980) Public file
KSIN-TV Sioux City 28 (UHF)
January 4, 1975 (49 years ago) (1975-01-04) Sioux City 400 kW 348.3 m (1,142.7 ft) 29096 42°30′53″N 96°18′16″W / 42.51472°N 96.30444°W / 42.51472; -96.30444 (KSIN-TV) KSIN (1975–1980) Public file
KTIN Fort Dodge 25 (UHF)
April 8, 1977 (46 years ago) (1977-04-08) 600 kW 355 m (1,165 ft) 29100 42°49′2.7″N 94°24′41.9″W / 42.817417°N 94.411639°W / 42.817417; -94.411639 (KTIN) (Bradgate) Public file
KYIN Mason City 18 (UHF)
May 14, 1977 (46 years ago) (1977-05-14) 533 kW 448.5 m (1,471.5 ft) 29086 43°28′32″N 92°42′30″W / 43.47556°N 92.70833°W / 43.47556; -92.70833 (KYIN) (Meyer) Public file


In 2012, an application was filed for a digital replacement translator to extend coverage of KRIN into Dubuque, but as of 2021 this application is still pending.[11]

Digital television


The digital signals of Iowa PBS' stations are multiplexed:

Subchannels of KDIN-TV[12]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
11.1 1080i 16:9 IowaPBS Main Iowa PBS programming / PBS
11.2 720p PBS Kids
11.3 480i World
11.4 Create
17.2 480i 16:9 Comet Comet (KDSM-DT2)
17.3 Charge! Charge! (KDSM-DT3)
  Broadcast on behalf of another station
Subchannels of the other Iowa PBS stations[13]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
xx.1 1080i 16:9 IowaPBS Main Iowa PBS programming / PBS
xx.2 720p PBS Kids
xx.3 480i World
xx.4 Create

Analog-to-digital conversion

Iowa PBS (as IPTV) shut down its stations' analog signals on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:[14]

Late night programming

Starting August 31, 2013, Iowa PBS (as IPTV) had gone off-the-air nightly from midnight to 5 a.m. over-the-air due to budget concerns, reduced from a 24-hour schedule. Mediacom continued to carry the network in their markets with 24-hour programming due to their direct fiber connection from IPTV in Johnston to their Des Moines headend, which distributes the four IPTV channels statewide. The national satellite services carry the network's primary HD channel (IPTV.1) and have a fiber connection so the channel was available 24/7 to their subscribers. At the present time, they do not carry the three subchannels.

The network restored over-the-air 24-hour service on January 15, 2019; late night programming mainly consists of the national PBS schedule.[15]


Although Iowa PBS provides PBS programming and also coordinates several political debates during the Iowa Caucuses, it also produces original programs, such as:

Friends of Iowa PBS

In 1970, Friends of Iowa Public Television (Iowa Public Television Foundation Board) was created for the development, growth and support of Iowa PBS through the building of a strong statewide membership base. Its 65,000 member households across Iowa and bordering states contribute nearly 90% of the out-of-pocket costs for acquiring and producing general audience programming.[16] When IPTV rebranded as Iowa PBS in December 2019, Friends of Iowa Public Television changed its name to Friends of Iowa PBS.


  1. ^ "Television stations authorized by the FCC, January 1, 1941". RCA Radio Travel-Log. 1941. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "The FCC: Seventy-Six Years of Watching TV" (PDF). FCC. Summer 2003. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  3. ^ Plummer, Rick. "A Short History of Television Station W9XK/W9XU". Early Television Museum. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "The Untold Story, W9XK - Iowa City". Wartburg College. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "Outlook Among [TV] Grantees, CPs, And Applications" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. April 12, 1948. p. 91.
  6. ^ "The Freeze". Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  7. ^ "Comments on Proposed [Non-Commercial] Allocations" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. May 14, 1951. pp. 74–75.
  8. ^ "ISC paid for TV with Federal Funds" (PDF). The Daily Iowan. January 25, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  9. ^ "Iowa Public Television will become Iowa PBS in 2020". IPTV. December 2, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "FCC History Cards for KHIN" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Application Search Details". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  12. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KDIN
  13. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KBIN
  14. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "IPTV Schedule". IPTV. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Friends of Iowa Public Television Foundation". IPTV. Retrieved August 30, 2013.