Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of organization is KCPT?
KCPT is a 501(c) 3 organization.

How do I get a copy of a PBS or KCPT program?
Many KCPT productions and most national PBS programs are available for purchase. Please visit our online store for ordering information and pricing. PBS videos are available online at Shop PBS (ordering through the Shop PBS website supports KCPT) or by phone through PBS (1-877-PBS-SHOP) or VideoFinders (1-800-343-4727). It is a violation of copyright laws for KCPT to make a copy or “dub” of a PBS program for you.

Where do I send comments or concerns about a program I saw on KCPT?
We value your comments and concerns, so we have a policy that all e-mails, letters and phone calls will generally receive an answer within several business days. When we evaluate a program, our viewers’ opinions do carry a great deal of weight. So, if you loved a show, please let us know. Likewise, if you disliked a program, it is also very important that you let us know why. Because your comments may impact our future decisions about programs, we encourage you to send Viewer Services your thoughts via email (customer_service@kcpt.org), by phone 816-756-3580 or by mail (125 E. 31st St., Kansas City, MO, 64108).

KCPT does not have any impact on the creation or content of national PBS programs. So, in some cases, it is more appropriate to direct your comments and questions to PBS or the shows’ producers. If you disagree with a show’s concept, information or ideas, the best way to voice your concern is to go straight to the source by contacting the show’s creators or using the feedback system on the PBS website.

For questions about KCPT’s local productions (Ruckus, Kansas City Week in Review, or any of our other locally-produced series), visit the local programs section of our website for more information. Many of our local productions are available for purchase at the KCPT Store.

Why does KCPT occasionally broadcast programs at a different time (or on a different day) than the national PBS schedule or not broadcast them at all?
There are a number of reasons that we may choose to broadcast a program at a different time than what is published for the national PBS schedule. One of the most basic reasons is simply that PBS schedules are based on the Eastern time zone, whereas the KCPT service area is on Central time. So, some KCPT programs air here in the Kansas City region one hour behind the PBS broadcast.

Many of the other reasons for broadcast differences are all based on the fact that KCPT is a PBS member station, not an affiliate network station like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, WB, or UPN. Some differences are obvious, like the fact that we do not have commercials. However, what many people do not realize is that PBS is not a network at all, but rather a television service. Networks pay their affiliate stations to carry national programming and therefore require that they run the shows at the same time everywhere. Alternatively, PBS stations pay for PBS programming, and since the individual stations own the broadcast rights, they have more autonomy in scheduling.

Some PBS material, called common carriage, is carried by all stations. Examples of common carriage programs are FRONTLINE and PBS NewsHour. PBS and various public television producers do provide an abundance of material to stations, but the majority of member stations choose to broadcast a vibrant mix of local and regional programs rather than a schedule filled with 100 percent national shows. KCPT, like most stations, also chooses to time-shift some national programs (either by hour or by day) in order to create the best schedule we can for the Kansas City region.

Other programs that PBS offers are completely optional and do not fall into common carriage. For these shows, KCPT may broadcast some on the same day as the national schedule, but others we may record and save for a later broadcast or not show them at all. The reasons for these decisions vary, but all are based on careful review of the show and how it might be received in the Kansas City market.

Why does KCPT have pledge drives? Why are they so often? Why do you play the same programs over and over?
Eighty-four cents of every dollar KCPT needs to operate comes from individuals and corporations right here in Kansas City. So, membership drives are one of the many fundraising tools we use to turn viewers into members of KCPT. All of us at KCPT understand how you feel about membership drives. We conduct them approximately four times per year, but, because they interfere with our regular programming, we understand that it does “feel” like they happen more often than that. We have been exploring less disruptive methods to boost membership, but at this time, our largest percentage of individual new members is generated from the drives. This makes them a very necessary, albeit sometimes frustrating, practice for our viewers.

During membership drives, we do broadcast a number of the programs several times. We do this so that we can generate as many new members as possible during the drive. The replay of highly successful membership programs is called “Members’ Choice,” because more members donate during those programs than any other. Typically only six percent of our viewing audience is tuned into a particular show at any given time, which means that an encore presentation of a membership show is still “new” to the remaining 94 percent of our audience.

How does KCPT make programming decisions?
Each day, there are hundreds of programs available to us for broadcast on KCPT. From children’s programming to national PBS prime-time shows, we carefully consider each program or series for its relevance and value to the Kansas City regional audience. Many programs in our prime-time hours are a part of the PBS common carriage lineup, which means that they are being carried on virtually every PBS station all over the country. Others, such as “how-to” shows or children’s programs, vary in broadcast days and times from station to station. In fact, there are so many programs available to us from various public television sources we could never show them all. Therefore, we must pick and choose. When making program selections, our two highest priorities are local KCPT productions and PBS common carriage programming. Any other program selection is discretionary, so we make determinations by carefully weighing the various aspects of the following criteria: subject matter, production quality, journalistic or artistic integrity, community value, audience appeal, local relevance, viewer feedback and cultural significance.

The region that KCPT serves is very diverse, and we believe it is part of public television’s mission to speak to that diversity with a program lineup that spans a broad range of opinions and experiences. Occasionally we broadcast a show with a select appeal even though some viewers may disagree with the content. Programs that foster an understanding of an opposing point of view can help create a local community dialogue. Regardless of the occasional disagreement with a show, our hope is that most of the time you are able to find programs on KCPT that brighten your life in some way—through a new emotion, a new idea or a new way of looking at things.

Why did you take off my favorite program?
KCPT purchases the broadcast rights for all the programs we air. Each program’s individual “rights” dictate to us how many times we can air a program in a given window of time. The average rights period is for four times over three or four years, although it could be much shorter or longer. At the end of that time period, we can no longer legally broadcast the program. Occasionally, old programs will be available again so additional rights can be bought.

Why should I give to KCPT? I pay my cable bill; isn’t that enough?
As a non-commercial television station, financial support from individuals makes up almost half of every dollar we spend, so every dollar you contribute counts. Contrary to popular belief, about 90 cents of every dollar KCPT spends is generated in the Kansas City region from corporations, foundations and people just like you. In other words, only about 10 cents per dollar comes from government funding, and none of it comes from the cable companies. The advantage for viewers is that KCPT is truly a community station that is committed to the concerns and preferences of our region. Here are some important reasons to support KCPT:

  • Your gift directly supports local programming on KCPT, helping us chronicle our history, create public dialogue and showcase local talent and cultures.
  • Every dollar you give today ensures that a child somewhere in our community may learn to read a new word tomorrow due to our education and outreach initiatives.
  • Your support tells us that you like and value our programming. KCPT spends about $1.5 million a year to pay for the national programs on our air (Sesame Street, NOVA, Frontline, PBS NewsHour, This Old House). Your contribution directly supports our efforts to obtain the best programs available.
  • By giving to KCPT you are helping to do your part to bring thoughtful, educational and culturally stimulating television programs to the Kansas City region.
  • As a member of KCPT, you will receive great perks, like the KCPT Member Magazine and the KCPT Plus Card.
  • Through the expansion of our digital technology, we have been able to increase our programming and educational services. Your gift will help us pay for additional new technology.
  • By joining KCPT, you are showing businesses and foundations in the Kansas City region that KCPT is important for the community. Your support encourages increased giving from corporations.


How do I become a member of KCPT?
There are lots of ways to become a member: online, on the phone (816-756-3580) or via mail.

I have an idea for a new TV show or documentary. Who can I talk to at KCPT?
Please send your ideas and your contact information to:

Michael Murphy
125 East 31st Street
Kansas City, MO 64108

If you would like the materials returned to you, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Also see "Producing for KCPT."

Does KCPT give tours?
We are happy to offer group tours of the broadcast facility for both adult and children’s groups during regular business hours. Learn more about tours.

How do I contact KCPT?

KCPT
125 East 31st Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
816-756-3580
customer_service@kcpt.org

How do I contact PBS?
You can send mail to PBS headquarters at the following address:
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
viewer@pbs.org

I want to use a program I saw on KCPT for a classroom or community organization presentation. Can I show a video?
In general, all programs broadcast on KCPT have a one-year allowance for classroom/educational usage. However, it is always best to double check before taping or using a program for a broad audience. For local KCPT productions, please contact Viewer Services (816-756-3580). For national PBS programs, please consult PBS LearningMedia for copyright guidelines.

A narrator is describing everything that happens on your programs. How do I make it stop?
It sounds as though you’re hearing the Descriptive Video Service (DVS) option made available to audiences who are blind or visually impaired. You can turn this feature off and on fairly easily.

Most newer-model TVs with stereophonic sound systems are able to receive a Second Audio Program (SAP), which provides enriched verbal descriptions of what is heard and seen on a TV’s primary audio and video channels. Most TVs and VCRs require you to select the SAP channel in order to receive and record DVS. The selector is usually labeled SAP, MTS, Audio 2, or Audio B on your TV panel, remote control or on-screen menu. Un-selecting the SAP channel should eliminate the DVS option.

If you’re not able to un-select the SAP channel, review your TV manual or contact a TV vendor who can guide you through the process. Like closed captioning, DVS was also pioneered by PBS to ensure the widest possible audience is served.

Could you please give me directions to KCPT?
From the South & West:

I-35 North to exit 234A. Turn right at the exit and move to the left two lanes to enable a left-hand turn at the first light, Southwest Boulevard. Turn left and move to the right-hand lane preparing for a turn at the first light, 31st Street. Proceed East uphill, crossing Broadway and Main, approximately 1 mile. (*) KCPT is on the right-hand side of the street below the orange KCMO tower, one block east of Main Street.

Parking is located in front of the KCPT building, and in parking lots across 31st Street off Grand.

From the North, East and I-70 West:

Proceed to I-35 South and take the first exit after the viaduct, Broadway/27th Street.

Proceed South (uphill) on Broadway to the first light, 31st Street. Turn left toward Main Street and continue as above. (*)


Why can’t I get the Channel 19 signal?
Please email Marie Roberts at mroberts@kcpt.org describing your problem, including how you receive television — cable, over the air or dish. Be sure to re-scan your channels, as that is usually the problem.

Where is the KCPT transmitter located?
Our transmitter is located in Independence, Missouri.

How do I find out about current job openings at KCPT?
Current job openings are located on our website.

I’ve applied for a position with KCPT and haven’t heard anything yet. Who do I contact?
Contact our Human Resources staff at 816-756-3580.

I’d like to know more about an open position.
Please refer to the job posting on the website.

How do I get a copy of a program’s transcript?
We don’t offer transcripts for our locally produced programs, but DVD copies are available for a cost of $19.95. PBS NewsHour does offer transcripts (call 703-998-2170) as does Nightly Business Report (305-949-8321).

I didn’t get my premium gift after I pledged, what do I do?
Our Membership Department can research this for you. Email Becky at bjohnson@kcpt.org for more information.

What do I do if I have an issue with Closed Captioning?
Please contact the closed caption issue line at 816-659-8726.

How do I become a volunteer?
Submit your contact information through the online volunteer form to discuss opportunities.

How can I underwrite with KCPT?
Connect with more than 730,000 viewers each week: Become a Corporate Sponsor.

Does KCPT air Public Service Announcements or have a Community Calendar?
KCPT does not have the capacity to air Public Service Announcements. The website does not have a community calendar.

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