Two public TV outlets may merge
By Bart Preecs
A merger or some form of combined operation for Eastern Washington’s two public television stations is moving closer.
A formal proposal involving KSPS-TV, owned by Spokane School District 81, and KWSU-TV, owned by Washington State University, could be made public as early as next month, KWSU manager Dennis Haarsager said Friday.
The stations were reported as long as a year ago to be considering joint operation.
“There are five public television stations in Washington (and) only one of them, KCTS in Seattle, can be considered financially healthy,” Haarsager said. “I think there will be fewer than five public stations left in a couple of years, and Claude Kistler (KSPS general manager) and I want one of those left to be in Eastern Washington.”
Haarsager, head of all radio-television services at WSU, said some form of joint operations would be attractive for both stations.
“They have a very strong fundraising operating,” he said of the Spokane station. “We’re weak in that area.
“We have excellent production facilities and access to student help. They’re not as strong in that area.”
Other savings could come from eliminating duplication in engineering production and administration.
A spokesman for KSPS, which broadcasts on Channel 7 in Spokane, confirmed that discussions have been going on, but couldn’t provide further details. Kistler is on vacation.
“We would probably want to keep both Channel 7 and 10 (in Pullman) and simulcast our programs from both stations,” Haarsager said.
He said a merger would not affect any non-broadcasting operations of the two stations, such as programs for District 81 schools in Spokane or telecommunications links between Spokane and Pullman.
“But having the broadcasting operations working together would make it easier to have telecommunications work together also,” he said.
Saturday, July 23, 1983