is a television station
in San Mateo, California
, broadcasting locally on digital channel 43 as a PBS
member station. KCSM also transmits on analog Ch 60, using the old, original Ch 14 transmitter on the college campus. The current analog transmitter has a much weaker signal than the San Bruno Mountain
facilities the station was forced to abandon in 2004.
Owned by the San Mateo County Community College District with sister radio station KCSM, the station serves the San Francisco Bay Area from studios at the College of San Mateo. KCSM operates 24 hours a day with a focus toward adult education. During weekdays it offers college-level telecourses and in prime-time/weekends provides PBS, locally-produced, and a wide array of syndicated programming.
KCSM FM and TV were originally established by the College of San Mateo as training facilities for radio and TV broadcasters. Many well-known media personalities were educated at CSM, including KGO Radio's production director Michael Amatori, tabloid TV reporter Steve Wilson
sportscaster and San Francisco Giants
announcer Jon Miller
Between 1964 and 1980, CSM offered a full range of courses in broadcasting and broadcast electronics, unusual for a community college; they were much more extensive than better known 4-year university programs. The station and its companion FM were staffed and operated by students. This was discontinued in the 1980s, and today KCSM is operated by professional broadcasters.
was founded by Dr. Jacob H. Wiens, chair of the electronics department at the College of San Mateo, on October 12
. During its early years, broadcasting on channel 14, it operated on campus from black and white studios with 13,800 watts of power from a transmitter at the college, comparable to today's low-power
stations. In 1979 KCSM accepted the generous trade of KDTV San Francisco
's full-power color facilities and moved to channel 60 atop San Bruno Mountain
's Radio Peak .
Indecency and The Blues
In March 2006, the FCC fined KCSM $15,000 for content in the documentary, The Blues: Godfathers and Sons
, which had been broadcast in March 2004. The series documented the birth and world-wide influence of the blues as a musical genre. One installment contained interviews with artists and others who expressed their feelings of oppression by the music industry, including variations of the "F-word" and "S-word." The FCC determined the content to be "indecent." According to the FCC, "The gratuitous and repeated use of this language in a program that San Mateo aired at a time when children were expected to be in the audience is shocking.”
Within days of the decision, law firms from across the country offered their services pro bono to fight the ruling. Because of the upswell of support, KCSM has requested an extension of time to file its appeal.
KCSM ceased broadcasting scheduled programming on analog channel 60 on May 15
, due to a costly rent increase for full-power transmitter space. they ran a billboard for the next several days advising viewers that they would only operate their digital service from then on, , though it continues to be available through cable
. KCSM discontinued analog broadcasts nine days later, on May 24
. It multi-casts three sub-channels
on digital television
On May 3, 2005 KCSM received Special Temporary Authorization from the FCC to restore its analog signal at low power, operating on the campus of the College of San Mateo It briefly simulcast the Jazz TV (60.3) feed for two hours every evening, with the rest of the broadcast day being a simulcast of KCSM FM, but now offers only the simulcast (with relevant video "bulletin board" screens).