KCTS 9's mission is to inspire a smarter world.
KCTS 9 first went on the air on Dec. 7, 1954, broadcasting from the campus of the University of Washington and using equipment donated by KING-TV owner Dorothy Bullitt.
During the 1950s and 1960s, KCTS 9 primarily supplied classroom instructional programs used in Washington State's K–12 schools, plus National Educational Television programs. Outside of schoolrooms, KCTS 9's audience among the general public was somewhat limited, and most programming was in black and white until the mid-1970s.
In 1970, National Educational Television was absorbed into the newly created Public Broadcasting Service. Under PBS affiliation, KCTS 9 began offering a vastly enhanced scope of programming for the general public, including British programming.
KCTS 9 moved to its present location on the Seattle Center campus in 1986. KCTS 9 became independent of the University of Washington in 1987.
KCTS 9 is seen throughout southwestern British Columbia on local cable systems, as well as across Canada on the Bell TV and Shaw Direct satellite providers, as well as on many other Canadian cable TV systems. KCTS 9 receives substantial financial support from its far-flung Canadian audience as well as from viewers in Washington State.
Since 1994, KCTS 9 has also operated Yakima's PBS station, KYVE, which has served central Washington since Nov. 1, 1962.
In December 2015, KCTS 9 announced a strategy to redefine itself by bringing its content to diverse media platforms in order to serve more people across multiple generations. As a demonstration and advancement of the strategy to expand regional coverage and support the need in our community for substantive local journalism, KCTS merged newsrooms with Crosscut.com, a nonprofit daily news website, as well as acquired What’s Good 206, an emerging local website that presents a millennial perspective on issues close to home.
In January 2016, KCTS Television became Cascade Public Media (“CPM”), a multi-platform public media organization that includes KCTS 9, Crosscut and What’s Good 206. The organization remains a nonprofit, community-licensed, publicly supported organization committed to supporting social and civic engagement, arts and culture and education and family initiatives.