The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) is a state network of PBS member television stations serving the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The authority operates as a statutory corporation that holds the licenses for all of the PBS stations operating in the state; it is managed by an independent board of gubernatorial appointees, and university and education officials, which is linked to the executive branch of the Oklahoma state government through the Secretary of Education.
In addition to offering television programs supplied by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and acquired from various independent distributors, the network produces news, public affairs, cultural, and documentary programming; the OETA also distributes online education programs for classroom use and teacher professional development, and maintains the state's Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) infrastructure to disseminate emergency alerts to Oklahoma residents. The broadcast signals of the four full-power and fifteen translator stations comprising the network cover almost all of the state, as well as fringe areas of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas near the Oklahoma state line. (Its Tulsa satellite station, KOED-TV [channel 11], operates independently from KRSU-TV [channel 35] in Claremore, a non-commercial independent station owned by Rogers State University, which is the only public television station in Oklahoma that is neither associated with OETA nor is a PBS member outlet.)
The OETA network's main offices and production facilities are located at the intersection of Kelley Avenue and Britton Road in northeastern Oklahoma City (adjacent to the studio facility shared by the duopoly of CBS affiliate KWTV-DT [channel 9] and MyNetworkTV affiliate KSBI [channel 52], both owned by locally based Griffin Communications, which maintains a no-cost land use agreement with the authority for the OETA facility and the digital transmitter of OETA flagship station KETA-TV [channel 13]); it also maintains a satellite studio located on North Greenwood Avenue (on the campus of the Oklahoma State University extension branch) in Tulsa.
Incorporation and development
The OETA network traces its history to November 19, 1951, when a state educational television development conference was held to direct the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to file applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reserve certain broadcast television frequencies in selected cities throughout Oklahoma for non-commercial educational stations. In a unanimous vote, the Oklahoma Legislature subsequently approved House Concurrent Resolution #5, which urged the FCC to reserve broadcast frequencies for non-commercial use. On May 18, 1953, Oklahoma became the first state that passed legislation to develop a statewide educational television service, when the legislature passed House Bill #1033, creating the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority as an independent statutory corporation. The bill—which was co-sponsored by State Rep. W. H. Langley (D-Stilwell) and State Sen. J. Byron Dacus (D-Gotebo), and was signed by Governor Johnston Murray—charged the organization with providing educational television programming to Oklahomans on a coordinated statewide basis, made possible with cooperation from the state's educational, government and cultural agencies, under the supervision and direction of the statute authority.
After appointing its members, in August 1953, the OETA Board of Directors held its first meeting and began the process of forming a statewide public television network. The FCC granted a construction permit to build a television station on VHF channel 13 in Oklahoma City on December 2, 1953; it would later grant OETA a second permit to build a non-commercial station on VHF channel 11 in Tulsa on July 21, 1954. To help finance the venture, the OETA was authorized to issue revenue bonds redeemable with financial funding accumulated in the public building fund. It would take three years for OETA to sign on its first station, as the legislature failed to appropriate operational funding to the statute corporation, which it was required to allocate under mandate of the authority charter; legislators believed that donations from private entities and the public would be able to cover the operating expenses for the upstart stations.
After securing a broadcast license from the FCC, $540,000 in legislative appropriations, and private funding from various special interest groups (led by a $150,000 donation by Daily Oklahoman publisher Edward K. Gaylord and the donation of $13,000 worth of broadcasting equipment from RCA), KETA-TV in Oklahoma City—which would become the network's flagship—was finally able to sign on the air over channel 13 on April 13, 1956; it was the first educational television station to sign on in Oklahoma, the second in the Southwestern United States (after KUHT in Houston, which launched in May 1953 as the nation's first public television station) and the 20th non-commercial station to sign on within the United States. Channel 13 originally operated from studio facilities located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman; its transmitter antenna (which began construction on August 1, 1955) was based in northeast Oklahoma City near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Kelley Avenue, per an agreement with the Oklahoma Television Corporation that granted the OETA free use of the 1,572-foot (479 m) transmission tower and adjacent land near the studio building of KWTV (channel 9). (The tower was decommissioned when KETA and KWTV switched to digital-only broadcasts from a separate tower in 2009; the antenna and the upper half of the tower were disassembled by crane during the summer of 2014, and its remnant sections were imploded that October.)
KETA—as well as the full-power repeaters it would sign on in later years—originally served as a member station of the National Educational Television and Radio Center (NETRC), which evolved into National Educational Television (NET) in 1963. During its first fourteen years of operation, KETA – and later, KOED – maintained a 20-hour weekly schedule of instruction programming, broadcasting only on Monday through Friday afternoons from August through May; much of the station's programming in its early years consisted of video telecourse lectures televised in cooperation with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, which offered course subjects attributable for college credit. Programming from NET aired on KETA year-round during prime time for two hours each Monday through Friday.
In June 1956, ABC elected to use KETA to telecast the network's coverage of the 1956 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and Presidential election results. In seeking a waiver of FCC rules requiring advertisements to be deleted when an educational outlet carries a sponsored program, ABC noted that it was denied "effective competitive access" in Oklahoma City, due to the fact that KWTV and NBC affiliate WKY-TV (channel 4, later KTVY and now KFOR-TV) were the only stations operating in the market at that time and already had primary network allegiances. (ABC's original full-time Oklahoma City affiliate, KTVQ [channel 25, allocation now occupied by Fox affiliate KOKH-TV], had ceased operations during bankruptcy proceedings in December 1955; its Enid affiliate, KGEO-TV [channel 5, now KOCO-TV], had begun a transition into an Oklahoma City-based outlet that would take eight years to complete.) The OETA later withdrew KETA from the waiver petition, leading to the FCC unanimously refusing to "entertain" an ABC-only request to waive the rules.
Expansion into a statewide network
Over the course of nineteen years, the authority gradually evolved into a statewide public television network. KOED-TV (channel 11) in Tulsa, which was founded through a legislative appropriation granted to the authority, became the first of KETA's three satellite stations to go on the air, on January 12, 1959. The launch of the state's second educational television station made Oklahoma only the second U.S. state to have an operational educational television network (after Alabama Educational Television, now Alabama Public Television, which began its expansion into a statewide network with the April 1955 sign-on of its second television station, WBIQ in Birmingham). (The authority petitioned to move KOED's allocation to that reserved by local commercial station KJRH-TV [channel 2] in July 1981, but was ultimately denied permission to take over the frequency.) In 1970, KETA and KOED became member stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), which was launched as an independent entity to supersede and assume many of the functions of the predecessor NET network.
OETA experienced significant growth under former Oklahoma State Department of Education Director of Communications Bob Allen, who became the authority's executive director in June 1972 and remained in that position until he retired in December 1998. Allen, who would also serve on the Board of Directors of PBS and other national public television organizations during his tenure at the member network, initiated many efforts to help grow OETA into his vision as a network that would distribute educational and cultural programs throughout Oklahoma's 77 counties.) and Bill Thrash, who was appointed as OETA's station manager and program director after having worked at KTVY's programming and managerial departments since the 1970s,[ In 1973, OETA expanded its broadcast schedule to 49 hours per week; that year, the network expanded its weekday lineup into the late-evening hours, and began to offer programming on weekends with the addition of a daytime lineup on Saturdays. OETA moved its operations to Oklahoma City in 1974, when it opened a new studio and office facility next to KETA's Kelley Avenue transmitter site, which was constructed through funds appropriated by the legislature and allowed the member network to begin producing locally originated programming. To accrue additional donations to fund programming and operational expenditures, OETA inaugurated its annual "Festival" pledge drive in 1975; the first edition of the two-week event—which is held each March—saw OETA raise more than $125,000 in public and private donations to help with programming dues and acquisitions. In 1976, OETA purchased a mobile broadcasting unit for the production of programs in the field, which allowed it to conduct remote broadcasts at various locations throughout Oklahoma. The following year, the state legislature's OETA appropriation funding for 1977, granted the authority funds to purchase an extensive curriculum of instructional telecourse programs for broadcast on the network to schools across Oklahoma.
On December 1, 1977, the network launched its third station, KOET (channel 3) in Eufaula, as a satellite of KOED-TV to serve most of east-central Oklahoma (its signal overlaps with that of KOED near and to the adjacent north of the Interstate 40 corridor [including portions of McIntosh County north of the city of Eufaula] in that section of the state, and with KETA in portions of Creek, Okfuskee, and Hughes counties near State Highway 56). The sign-on of KOET—which the FCC had reserved its would-be channel 3 allocation for noncommercial use on August 20, 1975, and granted it to petitioner OETA on December 28, 1976—was made possible in part by a 1966 federal grant to the authority that was intended to fund the expansion of the state network and to allow it to purchase color broadcasting equipment. In 1978, OETA produced the first program to be syndicated nationally by the member network to other public television stations, when it broadcast the U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships; that year also saw the premiere of OETA's first regionally syndicated series, The Other School System, a 13-part program co-hosted by Art Linkletter and former Miss America (and Clinton native) Jane Jayroe.
OETA launched its fourth and final full-power station on August 6, 1978, when KWET (channel 12) in Cheyenne signed on as a satellite of KETA, serving west-central and portions of northwestern and southwestern Oklahoma, and the far eastern Texas Panhandle (OETA filed a petition to reserve channel 12 for non-commercial use on February 18, 1976, and granted it to the authority on May 13 of that year). OETA also began building a network of low-power UHF translators (each operating at 1,000 watts) to service areas of the state that were unable to receive the four full-power VHF stations. That same year, the network signed on its first two repeaters—located in Hugo and Idabel—to relay KOET's programming into southeastern Oklahoma.
In 1979, under the guidance of Governor George Nigh, OETA activated four additional translators to relay KWET and KETA's programming to the Oklahoma Panhandle and portions of northwestern Oklahoma. By the time the translator network was completed in 1981, with the sign-on of six repeaters in northwestern, north-central, and south-central Oklahoma, OETA extended its coverage to nearly the entire state (as of 2017, OETA's full-power stations make up the vast majority of its overall coverage, reaching roughly 80% of Oklahoma's geographic population), with fringe coverage from select translators into portions of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. In 1981, OETA opened a satellite facility in east Tulsa on North Sheridan Road and East Independence Street (southwest of Tulsa International Airport) to serve as a secondary production facility and to house the operations of KOED and its relays; the first television program to be produced out of the new Tulsa facility, Arts Chronicle, made its debut on the network the following year. 1981 also saw OETA enter into an agreement to syndicate Creative Crafts, an arts and crafts program that had been produced by KTVY in Oklahoma City since 1950, on the network's stations on a 13-week trial basis.
On April 2, 1983, straight-line wind gusts between 100 and 120 miles per hour (160 and 190 km/h) at the upper sections of KETA's broadcast tower tore loose brackets that held in place a 1,600-foot (490 m) long, 6 1⁄8-inch (160 mm) thick copper transmission cable that linked to the station's transmitter dish, ripping the cable from the tower and causing a short in the transmitter. Over-the-air service to KETA and its translators in north-central and southern Oklahoma was restored later that week, after KWTV allowed its fellow tower tenant to use their backup cable until repairs could be conducted. However, to facilitate upgrades to its transmission system that would begin on August 15, KWTV management notified Governor Nigh that it needed to use the cable to replace clamps attached to channel 9's main cable line, a situation that would have resulted in OETA having to suspend programming for two weeks. After the Oklahoma State Contingency Review Board rejected the authority's request for emergency funds for the transmission cable replacement, on July 21, Allen initiated his own fundraising effort: it included a funding solicitation mailers that were delivered to 34,000 private and public donors who contributed to the "Festival '83" pledge drive that March (who were asked to contribute pledges averaging $6.40 per person), and a stunt conducted by Allen himself, in which he climbed onto the tower to seek donations from the public. The effort raised $248,000 in donations ($40,000 above his funding goal of $218,000). The failure to obtain legislature approval to be granted funding for the repairs came as OETA received a 24.8% reduction in state funding in its 1983 funding appropriation, stemming from a decline in state revenue that necessitated budget cuts that adversely affected several other state agencies; the cuts led to OETA implementing a two-day furlough of its entire staff of employees that December. Also that year, the authority established the OETA Foundation, becoming one of the earliest public television stations in the nation to adopt an endowment model for private donations; the foundation's programming endowment plan was created to solicit and receive permanent endowment donations to help support Oklahoma's public television system.
To help improve OETA's standing in the state, Allen initiated several ambitious programming efforts; in 1987, the authority's production unit, The Oklahoma Network, acquired the national syndication rights to The Lawrence Welk Show, producing compilation episodes combining excerpts from the classic variety series and original hosted wraparound segments; OETA subsequently began distributing the program to other PBS member stations throughout the United States. Then in 1989, the network premiered Oklahoma Passage, a five-part miniseries told in the form of a first-person story illustrating the first 150 years of Oklahoma's history from the perspective of a Georgia family who moved to the Indian Territory in the 1840s. In 1990, OETA premiered Wordscape, a 16-part nationally syndicated instructional series for children in Grades 4 through 6, providing grammar instruction through two to five word cells per 15-minute episode, which were tied to a common theme; in 1991, the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded the program with a Heartland Emmy Award for Outstanding Youth/Children’s Program.
Acquisition of a second station in Oklahoma City ("The Literacy Channel")
On April 23, 1991, Heritage Media announced that it would donate the license, transmitter facilities and master control equipment of Fox affiliate KAUT (channel 43, now an independent station owned by Tribune Broadcasting) in Oklahoma City to OETA, in an agreement—under which the donation of the license and equipment was contingent on Heritage completing its purchase of independent station KOKH-TV from Busse Broadcast Communications—that included a two-year option for the authority to purchase KAUT's remaining assets for $1.5 million. OETA had earlier been involved in a 1987 proposal by Visalia, California-based Pappas Telecasting Companies, under which Heritage would have donated the KAUT license to OETA for $1 million in exchange for Pappas acquiring the programming inventories of both KAUT and rival independent KGMC (channel 34, now KOCB), including the rights to channel 43's Fox affiliation, for transfer to channel 25, and entering into a 25-year lease to allow OETA to operate the KAUT transmitter facility for $1 per year; KGMC (then owned by Seraphim Media) was to have become a Home Shopping Network affiliate and acquire some religious programs to fill certain ancillary timeslots. OETA planned to help fund the conversion of channel 43 into an educational station through start-up grants, including a $75,000 grant awarded by management from KOCO-TV. A later revision to the plan saw OETA file an application with the FCC to purchase KGMC as a contingency measure. OETA's involvement in the earlier plans received disapproval from then-Governor Henry Bellmon, who noted that authority management had earlier claimed it did not have enough funding to operate its existing stations adequately. The state legislature's OETA funding appropriation bill for FY1990 prohibited the authority from using state funds towards expenses for the proposed second educational station, and from proposing the appropriation of additional state funding to finance the acquisition and programming conversion if sufficient private funding was not obtained. Complicating matters further, Governor Bellmon called for a state audit of the OETA statute corporation to address allegations from a former employee that the member network's management had misused public funds, and that station employees were required to attend foundation-related meetings and worked for the foundation's pledge drive on state and additional uncompensated time. Although the transaction would receive FCC approval, the Pappas deal was terminated in February 1989 after the company missed its deadline to finalize the KOKH purchase; the three stations continued on as rival commercial stations until the 1991 license donation.
On August 15, 1991, OETA converted channel 43 into a PBS member station, serving as a secondary outlet to KETA-TV; KAUT's Fox affiliation and inventory of syndicated programming migrated to channel 25, in addition to 30 employees, and other equipment and intellectual property from channel 43. The following year, in 1992, the station's callsign was changed to KTLC to reflect its on-air branding as "The Literacy Channel," which intended to identify its commitment to telecourse programming (which, dating to the Pappas proposal, OETA had intended to increase by 250% through the conversion, with the bulk—making up 22 hours of the station's weekly schedule—being carried by channel 43). The development of "The Literacy Channel" was part of a broadcasting pilot initiative between OETA's Board of Directors, the OETA Foundation Board of Trustees, and Heritage Media; Sandy Welch, PBS' senior vice president for education services at that time, and management with the Children's Television Workshop collaborated with the consortium in the development of the format, which OETA and PBS intended to use as a model for instructional and educational programming on a national level. OETA solicited $300,000 in private funds for programming acquisitions for the station's conversion into an educational outlet; studio, transmitter and other operational acquisitions would require additional funding appropriated by the Oklahoma Legislature, which expressed limited objection to OETA's acquisition of channel 43 this time around.
As a PBS station, KTLC aired same-day broadcasts of programs it shared with the main OETA network, along with some programs acquired from American Public Television and other syndicators for exclusive local broadcast on channel 43. The schedule included fitness programs on weekday mornings, instructional programs and select PBS series from late evening until sign-off, and a broad mix of adult education programs on Saturday and Sunday early afternoons and late evenings; children's programs made up the majority of the schedule, airing from mid-morning to early evening (a situation atypical of most PBS stations, which typically air children's shows exclusively during the daytime hours). KTLC broadcast from 6:00 a.m. to midnight under OETA ownership, initially maintaining those hours throughout the week until September 1995, when it implemented a reduced eight-hour schedule from 4:00 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. (Because of the station's part-time scheduling, area cable providers carried basic cable networks over KTLC's assigned channel slots when the station was not broadcasting, with Cox Cable's Oklahoma City system carrying QVC on channel 13—which experienced co-channel interference with KETA's analog broadcast signal—during the station's off-hours from January 1992 until June 1998.)
The difficulties in operating and funding the two Oklahoma City stations led to the authority making the decision to sell channel 43 in the fall of 1997. On January 8, 1998, the Paramount Stations Group purchased KTLC for $23.5 million, the proceeds from which OETA earmarked to establish the Legacy for Excellence Trust Funds, a pool of endowment funds which, among other projects, went toward funding the construction of the network's digital broadcast transmitters. Paramount's purchase of the station was necessitated by UPN's displacement from KOCB on January 18, 1998 (which, as a consequence of a July 1997 affiliation agreement between The WB and KOCB owner Sinclair Broadcast Group involving the group's UPN-affiliated and independent stations, made UPN's programming unviewable in Oklahoma City for six months). Paramount converted channel 43 into general entertainment-formatted, UPN owned-and-operated station KPSG on June 19 of that year (the affiliation switch was originally set to occur on June 1, though technical issues twice postponed the date of the changeover). Under a five-year conditional clause included in the sale agreement between OETA and Paramount, KPSG was required to allow OETA to lease portions of its airtime after the station joined UPN, primarily to simulcast blocks of OETA's "Festival" and "AugustFest" programming for eight hours each weekend during the duration of the March and August pledge drives, continue airing PBS educational shows supplied by the member network each weekday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Channel 43 would drop all OETA-provided children's programming from its schedule in September of that year, and stopped carrying other ancillary PBS programming by 2001.)
In April 2000, OETA began installation of a digital satellite distribution network to replace its microwave distribution system, in an effort to modernize transmission relays to the 19 full-power and translator stations; the satellite feed was first uplinked to the authority's translators in the Oklahoma Panhandle, with the remaining stations being brought online that summer. In 2003, the four full-power OETA member stations each began to operate digital television signals; the launch of the signals came just before an FCC-imposed May 31 deadline for public television stations to commence digital transmissions, after delays by the state legislature in allocating funding for the upgrades until the 2001 legislative session, when it appropriated $5.6 million for OETA to install its digital transmission equipment (the OETA Foundation matched the appropriation with $5.6 million in private donations to fund the digital transition; funding for the network's digital transition would total at $11.5 million). In 2005, OETA began broadcasting some PBS programs across its digital-capable stations in high definition. In 2006, the authority launched three full-time digital channels as a subcarrier feeds: OETA OKLA (which is devoted to local and regional programs, both recent and archived, along with carrying select PBS-supplied programming content), OETA Kids (offering PBS-supplied and acquired children's programs) and OETA You (a member service of the PBS YOU instructional programming network, which became an affiliate of its successor service Create in January 2007). In December 2008, OETA began producing most of its locally produced productions in high definition; however, unlike the commercial television stations serving the state's four main television markets, most programming promotions supplied by PBS or short-form content produced internally or via outside providers aired during breaks between programs are not currently transmitted by the member network in HD (although underwriter sponsorship tags and select promos for OETA original programs are presented in the format).
As early as 2000, OETA developed plans to construct a new Tulsa facility to replace its existing Sheridan Road building, which suffered from infrastructure problems, space limitations, technical issues with its aging broadcast equipment, and equipment interference caused by airplanes arriving and departing from Tulsa International Airport. The authority obtained initial funding from several area legislative representatives, who pooled $250,000 in bond money diverted from the State Capitol improvement fund to go towards development of the new complex. OETA attempted to find a suitable facility when it decided to provide funding for the planned Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity at Tulsa Community College's South Boston Avenue campus, which was to include a television production facility funded independently of the college—to be named The Distance Learning Production and Broadcast Studio—connected or adjacent to the building to serve as its new Tulsa studio. The state legislature denied a proposal by the authority to appropriate funding to construct the studio building, resulting in OETA dropping out as a planned tenant at the Center for Creativity shortly before design renderings were submitted. On August 20, 2009, OETA announced that it would build a 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) studio facility on the campus of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa, with construction scheduled to begin in October of that year. OETA moved its Tulsa operations into the new Greenwood Avenue facility in March 2011.
In recent years, OETA's annual appropriation budget has been incrementally reduced by the Oklahoma Legislature, declining by 45% between July 2008 and June 2016 (total operating expenses decreased from just over $5 million in 2006 to $2.8 million for the 2017 fiscal year). State funding accounts for about one-third of OETA’s annual operating budget, with the remainder of the member network's funding coming from membership donations, in-kind contributions and private donations to the OETA Foundation. The cuts in state funding have led to the cancellation of some of the member network's news and documentary programs such as Oklahoma Forum (a public affairs program that featured topics related to the Oklahoma state legislature) and Stateline (which dealt with issues important to Oklahoma and also the United States), while OETA also laid off news staff at its State Capitol bureau. OETA has also operated with a reduced staff, leaving several vacant job positions unfilled for extended periods due to hiring freezes imposed by the authority; according to the Oklahoma Gazette, in 2010, OETA employed 68 staff members (well under the 84 employees it was authorized to maintain in on-air and administrative positions). In a June 2016 interview with the Tulsa World, executive director Dan Schiedel said that the OETA Foundation's private contributions from viewers and corporate donors have not been able to keep up with the reduction in state appropriations to the authority. The funding cuts have led to disagreements among state legislators. Some lawmakers have argued that OETA is no longer a "core government function" and should be eliminated as a government agency if it cannot be self-supported and that public television has been outmoded by an expanding array of cable and digital content that provide similar programming; lawmakers serving the state's rural communities, however, have opposed the cuts on the basis that the OETA network is one of the few programming options available for residents who do not subscribe to a cable or internet service provider.
Dispute with the OETA Foundation
On December 6, 2018, the OETA Foundation filed a declaratory judgment petition with the U.S. District Court of Oklahoma County against the OETA, alleging that the agency was trying to "obtain complete and unfettered control" over the foundation's assets through a new proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would set new rules governing its relationship with the OETA Foundation not covered by an existing 1992 agreement to protect monetary gifts from private donors and underwriters and to comply with state regulator requirements, including classifying the foundation as a "component unit of OETA" and a revokable restriction on its use of OETA service marks or logos. The petition claimed that OETA refused to report on expenditures when requesting disbursements of its Corporation for Public Broadcasting Community Service Grant funding (received by the foundation on behalf of OETA), had accused the foundation of appropriating donations for the development of the cultural program Mosaic, Oklahoma without OETA authorization, and had caused a 30% decline in foundation donations over the same period in 2017 by airing national fundraising programs from PBS and other distributors instead of the locally originated AugustFest pledge drive—which, like OETA's other twice-yearly pledge drives, featured a mix of special programs and live segments—in 2018. (OETA also suspended its 2019 Festival drive for similar reasons.)
The petition also claimed that OETA was negligent in its 2017 hiring of executive director Polly Anderson, disclosing in documents obtained through an open records request that Anderson had been placed on administrative leave by the University of Central Florida and subsequently resigned as executive director of Orlando PBS station WUCF-TV in December 2015, amid allegations she habituated a toxic work environment and misused university resources. Foundation representatives contended that OETA management believes that the foundation's demands for oversight over budget issues exceeded its authority, and that the Kirkpatrick Foundation and other unnamed private donors objected to provisions in the new MOU that would have given OETA greater operational control over the OETA Foundation and led the former to withdraw their support in July 2018 amid concern that the loss of the foundation's 501(c)(3) status would make their donations no longer be tax deductible. (Kirkpatrick executive director Louisa McCune mentioning in a letter to the foundation that it provides monetary gifts only to nonprofit organizations and not government entities.) In a statement, which also defended Anderson as having "adroitly steered the organization [...] with outstanding professionalism [and] integrity," OETA representatives also detailed other issues it says had arose with the foundation in the years since Daphne Dowdy was appointed as its president in 2014, including the withholding of funds and refusal to release financial documents to the agency for joint audits with the Oklahoma state government. (The OETA board later stated that the foundation had undertaken a disinformation campaign "aimed at undermining OETA in the hearts and minds of donors, citizens and public officials.")
On December 14, 2018, OETA informed the OETA Foundation that it must vacate the network's Oklahoma City headquarters by January 13, 2019; in its reasoning for the eviction, OETA Board of Directors chairman Garrett King stated that the OETA Foundation had interfered with day-to-day operations by changing locks, attempting other building alterations and denied OETA personnel access to sections of the member network's main facility, along with having foundation staff make repeated attempts to hack into OETA's computer system. (The foundation defied the eviction notice, continuing to operate from the facility after the proposed deadline passed; OETA Foundation President Daphne Dowdy cited the organization's lack of a lease or rental agreement with OETA for the facility as to why it chose not to vacate its offices. Subsequently, on December 21, OETA asked the District Court for a summary judgement allowing it to terminate its current agreement with the OETA Foundation and be able to select and immediately transfer assets to another nonprofit organization if one was chosen to serve as its fundraising partner.
On January 8, 2019, the nine-member OETA Board of Directors voted unanimously to sever ties with the OETA Foundation and transfer all fundraising efforts to a new organization, Friends of OETA Inc., and adopted and ratified an attorney-client contract approved by the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter shortly after Friends of OETA was incorporated on November 30, 2018. OETA temporarily stopped accepting donations until a relationship between it and Friends of OETA was negotiated and formally ratified. Dowdy stated that the original foundation—which was required to relinquish all held assets, funds, information and property being held under the resolution—would continue fundraising and providing financial support for OETA as the action did not dissolve the OETA Foundation. The foundation also charged that Friends of OETA's management by OETA board members (with King as its president and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson acting as its secretary) created conflicts of interest that would result in the organization having a "complete absence of financial and ethical accountability." (The new organization would otherwise be run by an independent governing board to which the authority would elect and whose members it would be able to remove.)
On April 10, 2019, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority reached a “mutually acceptable” settlement agreement with the OETA Foundation, in which the foundation would dissolve and transfer "all funds and assets held in trust for OETA" (totaling $1.6 million) to Friends of OETA by 12:00 p.m. on April 12. As part of the agreement, Daphne Dowdy—whose role as OETA Foundation president was immediately terminated—would receive her remaining salary for 2019 as part of a severance agreement and was required to vacate her office at OETA's Oklahoma City headquarters by May 15, and all 16 OETA Foundation staffers (except for Dowdy) would be permitted to choose between receiving severance pay or seeking employment with either OETA or Friends of OETA. The OETA Board of Directors seated the Friends of OETA governing board during a regularly scheduled meeting at its Oklahoma City offices on April 24.
Full Power Stations
|Call signs||Location||CH||First Air Date|
|KETA||Oklahoma City, OK||13||April 13, 1956|
|KOED||Tulsa, OK||11||January 12, 1959|
|KOET||Eufaula, OK||3||December 1, 1977|
|KWET||Cheyenne, OK||12||August 6, 1978|
|TV stations in Oklahoma|
|Oklahoma City market:||Tulsa market:|
|KWET, Cheyenne||KOET, Eufaula|
|KETA, Oklahoma City||KOED, Tulsa|
|TV stations in Central, Northwestern and West-central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City|
|KFOR 4 (NBC) |
KOCO 5 (ABC)
KWTV 9 (CBS)
KWET 12 (PBS)
KETA 13 (PBS)
KTBO 14 (TBN)
KUOT-CD 21 (CTV)
KTOU-LD 22 (HSN)
KOMI-CD 24 (Youtoo)
KOKH 25 (Fox)
KTUZ 30 (TLM)
KLHO-LD 31 (TVALA)
KOCB 34 (CW)
KUOK 35 (UNI)
KUOK-CD 36 (UNI)
KBZC-LD 42 (OnTV4U)
KAUT 43 (Ind.)
KOHC-CD 45 (AZA)
KOCM 46 (Daystar)
KOCY-LP 48 (ESTRELLA)
KUOC-LD 48 (BUZZR)
KSBI 52 (MNTV)
KOPX 62 (Ion)
|TV stations in East-Central Oklahoma, including Tulsa|
|KJRH 2 (NBC) |
KOET 3 (PBS)
KOTV 6 (CBS)
KTUL 8 (ABC)
KOED 11 (PBS)
KXAP-LD 14 (ESTRELLA)
KDOR 17 (TBN)
KQCW 19 (CW)
KOKI 23 (Fox)
KUTU-CD 25 (UNI)
KTZT-CD 29 (Daystar)
KRSU 35 (ETV)
KMYT 41 (MNTV)
KTPX 44 (Ion)
KWHB 47 (Rel.)
KUOC-LD 48 (BUZZR)
KGEB 53 (GEB)