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About Us > History


Brief History of KLRN

KLRN-TV Channel 9 began operations in September 1962 as a joint-city licensee serving both San Antonio and Austin with a transmitter located in New Braunfels. The transmitter was provided by San Antonio television pioneer Bob Roth and had been originally used by Roth's station, KSAT.

The station's license was held by the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council, a community organization with members from Austin, San Antonio, and other communities in the region. Primary broadcast operations at that time were located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

San Antonio operations were temporarily located in leased facilities at the Cambridge Elementary School. In 1968, the San Antonio studio relocated to rented space in the Institute of Texan Cultures building on the HemisFair grounds.

In 1979, a second transmitter also licensed to the Southwest Texas Public Television Council began operation in Austin as KLRU-TV Channel 18, to serve the central Texas area. In 1980, separate governing boards for each station were formed, organized under the original licensee Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. In 1984, the original New Braunfels transmitter was shut down and replaced by a new transmitter located in San Antonio. For the first time, the city of San Antonio had full broadcast coverage by its own public television station.

In 1987 Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council was dissolved and governance of KLRN became the sole responsibility of the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council. Channel 9's broadcast operations continued from the HemisFair studio until the Spring of 1994 when station operations moved to the new permanent facility at 501 Broadway.

The 501 Broadway site was built in 1924 to house the San Antonio Buick Company, later known as Spires Buick. With substantial community support, KLRN bought and renovated the existing building and added a studio wing, bringing the total facility square footage to about 36,000 square feet.

In addition to the studios and other technical facilities, the building also houses a Community Resource Center which is used for meeting space and teleconferences by the station and by outside clients. The studios are used for local, regional and national productions, and have provided production services for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and other programming services.

Currently, KLRN is preparing to move into the age of Digital Broadcasting to meet the FCC mandate for all television stations. DTV broadcast services began on May 1, 2003. KLRN now has the ability to provide High Definition TV, Multiple streams of Standard Definition TV and Datacasting. These new digital broadcast technologies greatly expand the station’s opportunities to serve the educational needs of the region and diversify the ways that KLRN meets its mission as The Learning Place.


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