The partnership between KCOS and Texas Tech Public Media in Lubbock (KTTZ) will provide our audiences with an even greater variety of original programming, and more opportunities for people to engage with the PBS content they love. Learn more below!
Q. What is this new partnership?
El Paso’s PBS station (KCOS) and Texas Tech Public Media’s PBS stations and NPR station (KTTZ) are entering a formal partnership to capture efficiencies and expanding programming. The partnership will enable these stations to consolidate operational activities while strengthening their backbone services, allowing local staff to focus more on local storytelling and educational engagement.
Both stations will continue to set their own programming and continue local outreach.
Q. What does this mean for KCOS?
KCOS will continue to showcase the PBS programming you know and love. We will also maintain our offices and production studio in El Paso and continue to work with our local community partners and local advisory board.
The partnership will expand KCOS’s access to funding, resources for educational outreach, and opportunities for professional collaborations. In order to capture efficiencies, KCOS’s broadcast license will transfer to KTTZ operator Texas Tech Public Media, and some operational and administrative functions will be streamlined between the two organizations.
Q. What does this mean for KTTZ?
The partnership will not affect KTTZ’s programming, schedule, or local partnerships.
Through consolidating resources, KCOS and KTTZ will gain access to new federal grants and funding streams for West Texas PBS stations and offer additional collaboration opportunities between staff in El Paso and Lubbock.
Q. Why are KCOS and KTTZ entering this partnership?
Combining our resources will pave the way for long-term sustainability of both stations while providing the full range of top-tier PBS programming, delivered across a wide range of digital platforms, to more than 1 million residents in our region.
Together we can provide our audiences with an even greater variety of original content, on the air and on demand, while creating new opportunities for people to access and engage with the PBS content they love.
We also look forward to growing partnership opportunities with public and private businesses and organizations to better address the educational needs of the region and to facilitate greater community engagement around key issues.
Q. How will this affect the channels or programs I watch?
The existing PBS KCOS and KTTZ channels will remain in place, and each will retain its independence in setting their schedules and bringing valuable PBS content to their audiences. You will notice very little, if any, changes to how or what you watch on your local PBS channel.
In order to capture the operational efficiencies made possible by their new relationship, KCOS and KTTZ will bring their eight broadcast channels (KCOS PBS Channel 13, KCOS Create Channel 13.3, KCOS EPCC-TV Channel 13.2, and KCOS-HDTV Channel 13.1 in El Paso and KTTZ PBS Channel 5, KTTZ HDTV Channel 5.1, KTTZ Create Channel 5.2, KTTZ 24/7 PBS Kids Channel 5.3 in Lubbock) and four radio stations (KTTZ-FM Channel 89.1, KTTZ HD2, KTTZ BBC World Service on HD3 in Lubbock and KNCH-FM Channel 90.1 in San Angelo) under the umbrella of Texas Tech Public Media.
Q How will viewers benefit?
This exciting new partnership between KCOS and the Emmy-winning Texas Tech Public Media will free up existing resources and create opportunities for collaboration. Viewers will benefit from additional resources for local programming development and distribution, and for local educational outreach. This includes expanded access to PBS LearningMedia, a free online resource offering K-12 educators in El Paso thousands of curriculum-aligned digital resources for the classroom.
Benefits will also include a 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel via TV and live streaming on digital platforms; local community engagement featuring film screenings and discussions of PBS films; and PBS Passport, a member benefit offering extended access to an on-demand library of PBS programming.
Q. What does the change mean for our community?
The new partnership will bring new educational content, opportunities and community events to El Paso. Texas Tech Public Media has committed to expand its educational engagement efforts into El Paso through initiatives that will honor educators and veterans and help more area schools use PBS Learning Media in the classroom.
Local partnerships with area nonprofits and businesses will not be affected, and we fully expect to continue to collaborate with these entities via community outreach and events. A local advisory board will provide insight and feedback on local programming and scheduling.
Q. Will any programs be canceled?
At this time, no scheduling changes are planned. Our goal is to serve you better by expanding programming and service options -- from adding new PBS programs and a dedicated 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel to developing locally-relevant programs and community engagement activities that address the people, places, interests, and issues of our West Texas region.
Q: Where will this organization be based and who will lead it?
KCOS’s current offices and production studios will remain in El Paso to serve as headquarters for local programming and outreach initiatives. Paul Allen Hunton, General Manager for Texas Tech Public Media at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, will oversee the combined organization. In El Paso, Emily Loya will serve as Station Manager, leading the KCOS team.
Q. How will this partnership be funded, and will it affect existing staff positions?
KCOS and KTTZ already generate significant external funding through generous donations, corporate support, federal and state agency grants, and support from Texas Tech University. These funding streams will continue, and some will expand through new offerings and opportunities. Most of the staff positions will remain, although some people may retrain and migrate to different activities as the needs and priorities of the partnership evolve.
Q. Where will my donation go if I donate to KCOS?
Donations from El Paso residents to KCOS will remain earmarked for community programming and initiatives.
Q. How will the merger affect KCOS staff?
We expect minimal staff disruptions, and we hope that the merger will enable us to hire more communications professionals, producers and editors over the coming years.