PULLMAN, Wash. — Master control operations for Washington State University television stations KWSU/Pullman and KTNW/Richland will move to KSPS public television, Spokane, April 16.

WSU will continue to be the licensee for both stations and develop the program schedule for each from the Pullman campus. The master control and distribution services will take place at the KSPS Spokane facility. The management and programming, however, will not change.

“We have contracted with KSPS to provide digital master control and associated staff services,” said Warren Wright, station manager for KWSU and KTNW. “By doing this, we will not have to incur the significant capital expense of creating a complete new digital master control facility here on the Pullman campus and yet, realize all the benefits of having one.” WSU and the Spokane Public Schools (licensee for KSPS) worked cooperatively to engineer the facility and obtain federal grants and matching funds for its construction.

According to Wright, the federal government has mandated that all television stations in the United States have a digital signal on the air by May 1. In 2006, all stations are scheduled to turn off their analog transmitters and give that spectrum back to the government, he said. “This new master control arrangement will also allow us to program KWSU and KTNW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with both an analog and digital service,” he said. “We are currently on 18 hours, 7 day a week.”

On April 18, KWSU and KTNW will be signing on a new digital television service in the Tri-Cities. “We are currently installing and testing the new KTNW-DT (digital television) transmitter and antenna on Jump-Off Joe Butte, the same location as our analog transmitter,” Wright said. “Due to funding and other issues, we have requested a six-month extension to get our KWSU-DT transmitter on the air. The relocation of our master control operations and the new digital television service will not change the existing program service on either station. The changes will be transparent to our viewers except for the additional hours of service we are now able to provide.”