The first conference on Educational TV in the state of Oklahoma was held on November 19, 1951. This conference directed the State Regents for Higher Education to apply for the necessary educational television channels in Oklahoma. Accordingly, an application for a Construction Permit on Channel Thirteen in Oklahoma City was filed with the Commission on February 13, 1953.1
Subsequently, Governor Johnston Murray, and the Oklahoma Legislature created the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. Channel Thirteen was assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to the Authority on December 2, 1953, with the call letters KETA. Immediately after the Oklahoma City station's approval, the Authority filed for another VHF allocation--Channel Eleven in Tulsa.
The FCC approved a Construction Permit for Channel Eleven on July 21, 1954. The station was assigned the call letters KOED. Although permission had been granted to construct the two educational stations, work was delayed because of lack of funds.
In early 1956 facilities and cash were made available from private and public sources which resulted in both ETV stations becoming operational. Oklahoma City publisher E. K. Gaylord contributed $50,000, the Oklahoma Legislature appropriated $540,000, and the Radio Corporation of America donated $13,000 worth of equipment.2 This was enough to get the KETA Oklahoma City station on the air in April of 1956. KOED in Tulsa had to wait somewhat longer before joining her sister station on the airwaves.
To augment the OETA, a Tulsa Educational Television Board was established by interested community leaders to assist in putting the Tulsa station on the air. Led by Tulsa lumberman Ira Crews, the TETB worked closely with Authority member Charles C. Mason, who, as superintendent of Tulsa public schools, was eager to see Channel Eleven become operable. The turning point for KOED came when KOTV offered to provide space on its tower for KOED's antenna and transmission lines. KOTV also donated one-half of their transmitter building to the educational station.3
Since January 12, 1959, KOED-TV, Channel Eleven, has been in continuous operation. The coverage area extends some 50 miles from the transmitter, which is located 4 miles north of Sand Springs on Big Heart Mountain.4
At the present time, KOED receives the KETA signal on its microwave relay equipment, resulting in a simultaneous broadcast of the same material by both stations. The two stations combine to provide 60 per cent of the state's population with all possible types of educational televising, from films to lectures, being utilized.
KOED programs more than 60 hours each week from August through May. John W. Dunn, Director of ETV, does not believe this amount will increase until other requirements are met. Recently, the OETA applied to the FCC for an increase in power which will permit transmission of color programs. Dunn is also enlisting the support of the community antenna systems of Oklahoma to include ETV in their service to outlying communities.
Dunn produces 85 per cent of KOED's programs locally with the help of three part-time engineers. He anticipates color programming to begin prior to the 1968 season. In line with this development, Dunn is hopeful of establishing production centers at Stillwater and Tulsa to take advantage of greater programming opportunities. Dunn frankly would like te see more participation by the state's universities in educational television.5
At this writing, no person has expressed an interest in activating Channel Thirty-Five.6
2 Tulsa Tribune, April 22, 1957.
3 Tulsa Tribune, July 3, 1956.
4 Tulsa Tribune, January 12, 1959.
5 Letter from John W. Dunn, Director of ETV in Oklahoma, March 7, 1967
6 Letter from Ben F. Waple, Secretary of the FCC, April 3, 1967.