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KCOS, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, branded on-air as PBS El Paso, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to El Paso, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Texas Tech University. KCOS' studios are located on Viscount Boulevard (northeast of I-10) in northwest El Paso, and its transmitter is located atop the Franklin Mountains on the El Paso city limits.

History[]

The station first signed on the air on August 18, 1978, originally broadcasting on VHF channel 7. It was the first English-language television station to sign on since KVIA-TV (channel 7) debuted 22 years earlier in September 1956.

Prior to KCOS's debut, El Paso was the largest city in the United States that did not have a PBS member station. Some viewers in the market were able to receive Las Cruces, New Mexico-based KRWG-TV (channel 22). However, the Franklin Mountains significantly impaired KRWG's signal coverage deep into the market, rendering the station unviewable in most of El Paso itself. PBS arranged for NBC affiliate KTSM-TV (channel 9) to carry Sesame Street in the market from the show's 1969 debut until KCOS' sign-on (this was a common practice in other markets throughout the country that similarly lacked access to public television). Until KCOS signed on in 1978, cable providers in the El Paso market piped in KRWG and out-of-market PBS station KNME in Albuquerque.

On July 10, 1981, KCOS switched channel positions with KVIA, the city's ABC affiliate, and moved to VHF channel 13. This was done to give KVIA a greater broadcast signal range on parity with KTSM-TV and CBS affiliate KDBC-TV (channel 4).

On August 12, 2019, a purchase agreement was announced that would see KCOS purchased by Texas Tech University for a token amount of $1,000, due to the El Paso Public Television Foundation struggling to fundraise throughout the decade. All local personnel will remain in place under the new ownership, which would see it become a sister station to Lubbock's KTTZ-TV, KTTZ-FM and KTXT-FM. The sale was completed on September 30, 2019.

On November 4, 2019, KCOS rebranded as PBS El Paso to mark its new ownership, as well as align itself with the new brand identity of PBS unveiled that day.

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