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Channel 12, Lincoln

City of License: Lincoln, NE

First Air Date: November 1, 1954

Operating Power: ERP 26.9 kW Visual, 13.5 kW Aural

Original Call Letters: KUON TV

Network Affiliation: DuMont

General Manager: Harold Anderson, VP & GM

Issued To: Cornhusker Radio & Television Corporation

Through the Years

  • 1953

    February 18, 1953-  Original Sign on as Lincoln’s first television station.  Broadcast Schedule:  5pm-11:30 pm.    Studio & Transmitter:  40th & W Street ( 940 North 40th St.).  Antenna Height:  407 feet.  Studio Facilities:  Two studios- 30×42 feet and 10×10 feet.  DuMont studio camera; two 16 mm film cameras.

  • 1954

    February, 1954-  Station is purchased by John Fetzer (Fetzer Broadcasting Co., owned 52% by Mr. Fetzer and 48% by his wife, Rhea H. Fetzer, vice president and secretary) for $300,000.  Purchase includes licenses and equipment assets only; no real estate or building.

    Fetzer owns KFOR AM/TV, purchased from the previous summer for $650,000.  Upon FCC approval, KOLN-TV will be moved from its present Channel 12 to Channel 10, retaining its present call letters, and raising power to the maximum 316 kW.  The Channel 12 grant was planned to be surrendered to the FCC.  It was later announced Mr. Fetzer is transferring the Channel 12 facilities and transmitting equipment to Byron J. Dunn, President of the National Bank of Commerce of Lincoln, as trustee for the University of Nebraska.

    The agreement also provides that Mr. Fetzer will permit the University to operate the Channel 12 transmitting equipment, with Mr. Fetzer providing a technical consultant and underwriting service and maintenance costs during that time.  Mr. Fetzer also offered use of this KOLN-TV studios to the university in producing programs.

    March 13, 1954- Fetzer moves KOLN from its sign-on channel 12 to KFOR’s channel 10 and donates the channel 12 facilities and license to the University of Nebraska for its educational station.

    November 1, 1954-  KUON-TV goes on the air with its new calls from KOLN-TV’s studios, where the stations had to take turns using studio space.  When KOLN was live, KUON had to broadcast film and vice versa.  Also upon its sign on, KUON-TV joined the National Educational Television network which had begun operations in May, 1954.  General Manager is Jack McBride, and KUON was the 7th public television station in the nation.   McBride additionally served as General Manager of the nine-station Nebraska ETV Network and Secretary of  the Nebraska Educational Television Commission since its creation in 1963.

  • 1956

    Operated in trust since 1954 by Byron J. Dunn, president of the National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln, the FCC grants the Channel 12 license to the school’s Board of Regents.

  • 1957

    KUON TV moves to its own studios in the Temple Building on the UNL Campus.

  • 1960

    The Nebraska Council for Educational Television is created by six school districts in Nebraska.

  • 1963

    The state legislature, per a committee’s recommendation, approves plans for a statewide educational television network under the control of the Nebraska Educational Television Commission.   A deal was quickly reached in which Lincoln’s KUON-TV would remain under UNL’s ownership and serve as the state network’s flagship station.

  • 1972

    A new building at 1800 North 33rd Street, Lincoln, is dedicated as the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Center, later renamed for former State Senator Terry Carpenter as well as NET’s first General Manager, Jack McBride.

  • 1991

    February, 1991-  Original owner John Fetzer dies at the age of 89.

  • 1996

    Jack McBride retires as General Manager of NET, succeeded by Rod Bates.  McBride is inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame the following year.

    During his tenure, Bates positioned NET in the top tier of Public Radio and Public Television in the country. Program production reached new heights. He also secured funding for the digital conversion of the nine NET radio and television transmitters.

    Bates served on the PBS Board of Directors, the executive committee of the National Educational Television Association, and was Chairman of the American Public Television Stations Association and Chair of American Public Television.

  • 2008

    Jack McBride passes away.

  • 2013

    Rod Bates retires as only the second General Manager of NET’s existence, and is replaced by Mark Leonard.  Bates is inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2014.