Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) is the organization that operates the KTCA and KTCI television stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. KTCA broadcasts on channel 2 and 34 (digital), and KTCI broadcasts on 17 and 16 (digital). The two stations were usually referred to individually, but the TPT name came around as the Twin Cities stations transitioned toward the use of high definition television, which blurs the line on what a television channel actually is. KTCA began broadcasting on September 3, 1957, and its sister station came online on May 3, 1965. Channel 17 was also earlier assigned to the Tedesco Brothers in the early 1950's to be a commercial station, WCOW-TV (see KDWB) affiliated with the DuMont network, but this station never made it on the air.
The organization has not been as prolific as some public television stations in the amount of material produced, but some very high quality productions have been made. The station produced Newton's Apple from 1983 to 1998 as well as the acclaimed 1994 movie Hoop Dreams.
The Friday night public-affairs program Almanac, which is distributed to other channels around the state via Minnesota Public Television, has been aired weekly for more than 20 years. Longtime hosts Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer are married—considered the most visible couple in Minnesota journalism, they have also spent time at other area stations. Eskola currently contributes political reports to WCCO radio and Wurzer now hosts the regional portion of Morning Edition at Minnesota Public Radio. Eskola is noted for his fondness for scarves, wearing a different one each week on Almanac. A special extra political report hosted by Mary Lahammer (daugher of longtime Associated Press political writer Gene Lahammer, now retired) has been airing for a few years during the time when the Minnesota State Legislature is in session.
KTCI channel 17 usually broadcasts weather information during daylight hours, providing a simple service similar to The Weather Channel. However, programming on 17 is preempted when the Legislature is convened, and the station carries C-SPAN-like coverage. In the evening around prime time, 17 often rebroadcasts programs that had been shown on channel 2 a few days before. In 2004, TPT began setting aside time on 17 for the "Minnesota Channel" or "TPT-MN" on Saturday and Sunday evenings, a timeslot dedicated to Minnesota-related programming that often includes shows produced by other PBS stations in the state.
A number of the programs broadcast in the TPT-MN time frame include ethnic programming targeting some of the different communities that now call Minnesota and the Twin Cities home. Some of these shows are also broadcast on public access cable television channels in the region:
KTCA experimented with an evening newscast named NewsNight Minnesota from the mid-1990s until 2001. Also broadcast throughout the state, it aired Monday through Thursday and took a slower approach to the news where stories were covered in greater depth.
TPT provided some resources for the program Mental Engineering, which analyzes advertisements aired on commercial television. Originally a public access TV program from St. Paul, it is reportedly the first such show to air nationally in prime time. In that episode, host John Forde and guests including Aisha Tyler, Lizz Winstead, and two others analyzed the ads aired during Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. It aired on PBS stations covering 85% of the United States.
More recently, the station produced Chris Farrell's series Right on the Money!, which was a companion series to his radio program Sound Money, produced by American Public Media. TPT has also worked on numerous individual documentaries and documentary series.
Channel 17 usually stops broadcasting at night. On KTCI's digital broadcast, one subchannel (called TPT-WX) is always broadcasting with weather information. Four other subchannels are typically carried on KTCI-DT:
- Standard definition TPT-2
- Standard definition TPT-17
- PBS Kids
- PBS You
The entire bandwidth of KTCA-DT is used for high-definition broadcasts, so it is called TPT-HD.
KTCA and KTCI are broadcast from the KMSP tower in Shoreview, Minnesota.
- Newton's Apple
- Right on the Money
- Twin Cities Public Television (http://www.tpt.org/)