KERA: 25 YEARS OF QUALITY PROGRAMMING

Dallas’ beloved (and sometimes bemoaned) public television station reaches a hallmark in its history this month when
it officially turns 25. Despite changes in management, old equipment and a national PBS audience whose financial
support continues to lag, KERA/ Channel 13 is prospering.

KERA began broadcasting educational programs for the Dallas Independent School District back in 1960 when it took
over the run-down facilities at 3000 Harry Hines vacated by The Dallas Morning News. The station has come a
long way since then; it announced earlier this year a plan to become the top public television station in the
nation.

For you nostalgia buffs, we’ve listed a few moments from the station’s history.

●Sept. 11,1960-Channel 13 broadcasts its first program for the Dallas Independent School District, called
The Little Red School House of the Air. Edwin O. Cartwright is chairman.

●October 1969Sesame Street and The Forsythe Saga premiere as new public television series and
create a larger audience for Channel 13.

●December 1969-Two anonymous Fort Worth foundations contribute $270,000 to help meet costs of transmitting
Channel 13’s signal to that city.

●Feb. 16, 1970Newsroom debuts as a half-hour, weeknight program with Jim Lehrer as executive
producer and editor. The program is supported by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.

●March 18,1972-More than 500 people register to vote at Channel 13’s “First Bicentennial International Voter
Registration Musical Extravaganza.”

●Jan. 30, 1973-Channel 13 is awarded the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Journalism Award for
Outstanding Political Coverage for 1972 Election Specials and Newsroom.

●July 11, 1974-KERA/ 90FM becomes the first public radio station in North Texas.

●Sept. 22, 1974-Channel 13 is the first television station in the country to air the British comedy series
Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

●July 5, 1982-D-Day. New President and General Manager Richard Meyer announces cancellation of
Channel 13’s local programming; 23 employees get the ax in an effort to cut costs. In a related move, KERA’s monthly
magazine, Vision, is scrapped.

●October 1983-Sportsweek, hosted by Norm Hitzges, and News Addition, hosted by Bob Ray
Sanders,
premiere as weekly series, marking the return of locally produced programming on Channel 13.

●Feb. 2, 1984-KERA receives a $2.5 million grant for a six-part series on the history of the American West.
Called The West of the Imagination, the series is slated to air nationally on PBS in the fall of 1986.

●June 10, 1985-The 13th annual Channel 13 auction is the most successful in the station’s history. The
auction nets $817,528, surpassing its $700,000 goal.

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