KMTP-TV Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KMTP-TV

CitySan Francisco, California
AffiliationsNon-commercial Independent
OwnerMinority Television Project
First air date
August 31, 1991 (30 years ago) (1991-08-31)
Former channel number(s)
32 (UHF, 1991–2009)
33 (UHF, until 2018)
28 (UHF, 2018–2020)
Call sign meaning
Minority Television Project
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID43095
HAAT511.7 m (1,679 ft)
Transmitter coordinates37°45′19″N 122°27′10″W / 37.75528°N 122.45278°W / 37.75528; -122.45278
Public license information

KMTP-TV, virtual and digital UHF channel 32, is an independent non-commercial educational television station licensed to San Francisco, California, United States and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The station is owned by the Minority Television Project. KMTP's studios are located on Woodside Way in San Mateo. Its transmitter, shared with KCNS, KTNC-TV and KEMO-TV, is located atop Sutro Tower in San Francisco.[1]

KMTP airs a large amount of multilingual, ethnic programming. The station produces and broadcasts a daily news show, 5 Day News, and also broadcasts programming from Deutsche Welle TV, NASA TV, and the Classic Arts Showcase. KMTP is one of the few non-PBS-affiliated public television stations in the United States, and one of two such stations in the San Francisco Bay Area (the other being KPJK in San Mateo).


In 1954, the station began commercially as KSAN-TV on UHF channel 32; it was one of the first UHF TV stations in California.[2] Owned by the Patterson family, operators of KSAN radio, the station was a small production studio and broadcast operation housed in the renovated Sutro Mansion in San Francisco and showed an amalgam of boxing and wrestling matches, medical conferences, and old movies. The station went off the air in 1958. The KSAN-TV call letters now reside on the NBC affiliate on channel 3 in San Angelo, Texas.

The TV station was purchased by Metromedia in 1968, when the call sign was moved to an FM radio station and the TV station rechristened KNEW-TV, to match its co-owned KNEW radio and to complement Metromedia's flagship station in New York, WNEW-TV (now Fox owned-and-operated station WNYW).[2][3] KNEW-TV ran the syndicated Metromedia talk shows and variety programming of such stars as shock-talker Joe Pyne, and others.

This format was unsuccessful, and by 1970, channel 32 was given to leading public broadcaster KQED (channel 9) and had its call sign changed again, this time as KQEC, a member station of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).[4][2] KQED held onto the station until 1988 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the license, ruling that it had been off the air too long to remain in the hands of the KQED ownership (KQED kept KQEC off the air for most of 1972 through 1977, and then again for several months in 1979–80), and reassigned the license to Minority Television Project, one of the challengers of the KQEC license.[5] The present-day KMTP-TV signed on on August 31, 1991 as the nation's second African-American owned public television station.[6]

In the FCC's 2016–2017 Broadcast Incentive Auction #1001, KMTP-TV successfully bid to go off the air for a compensation of $87,824,258.[7][8] KMTP claimed in a March 31, 2017, press release, that it was negotiating with other broadcast stations in the Bay Area to share a channel. In FCC filings, it claimed a Channel Sharing Agreement had been signed, after completion of the auction, that would enable KMTP to continue broadcasting but on a different channel. This would be seamless for viewers as they would still tune to channel 32.[9]


In 2004, the FCC levied a $10,000 fine against KMTP for showing paid commercials on a station with an educational license.[10] While it is commonplace for PBS and similar stations to show underwriters' messages that resemble commercials, it is illegal for educationally licensed stations, like KMTP, to show advertisements that do not meet the standards for underwriting announcements.[11][12] KMTP appealed the decision in 2005, but the fine was upheld, prompting KMTP to file a lawsuit against the FCC in U.S. District Court the following year.[13]

In suing the FCC, KMTP felt it was unfairly penalized by the FCC's rules concerning underwriting that did not take into account foreign language broadcasting. The underwriting rules do not take into account foreign languages and the variations in pronunciations and meanings. KMTP carried out research to find out what the public interpreted a commercial to be. Using a numerical grading system, certain aspects of a video clip were found by the public to "feel" like a commercial or not like a commercial. These findings were presented to the FCC, as it did not depend on particular words or phrases which can be misinterpreted when foreign languages are used. The FCC rejected KMTP's attempt to clarify the underwriting rules, leaving KMTP with no choice but to take the matter to court.

On April 12, 2012, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two of the issues raised by KMTP's suit. The court ruled that noncommercial stations can air advertisements for both candidates and political position statements. The 1981 federal law was found to be violating free speech. This was a partial victory for KMTP, as it did not address the basic issue of how commercials differ from the sponsorships on which most public stations depend for financial support.[14]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
32.1 480i 16:9 KMTP Ethnic


  1. ^ a b Digital TV Market Listing for KMTP
  2. ^ a b c Richards, K. M. (2015). "KQEC/32, San Francisco CA". History of UHF Television. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "KNEW California Gold June 30, 1974". Bay Area Radio Museum. 5 August 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Ferretti, Fred (May 16, 1970). "Metromedia to Give TV Station To KNEW of San Francisco". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Friend, Alex (May 11, 1988). "FCC revokes license for San Francisco public TV station KQEC". Current. Archived from the original on July 1, 2004. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Bracks, Lean'tin (January 2012). African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence. ISBN 9781578593828.
  7. ^ FCC Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice DA 17-314 released April 13, 2017.
  8. ^ FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction – Appendix A (PDF). Federal Communications Commission (Report). April 4, 2017. p. 6. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  9. ^ "KMTP TV Benefits in FCC Spectrum Auction" (PDF). Minority Television Project. March 31, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  10. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2005/FCC-05-180A1.html[bare URL]
  11. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/decdoc/public_and_broadcasting.html#UNDERWRITING[bare URL]
  12. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/nature.html[bare URL]
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-02-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Appeals court OKs political ads on public stations". 13 April 2012.

External links[edit]