The Diocese of Fresno Education Corp. was granted a construction permit for KNXT Channel 49 by the Federal Communications Commission on February 5, 1985 after submitting an application only seven months earlier. The Diocese had 18 months to build the station offices, studios and transmitter and purchase all the necessary equipment. It was decided that the main offices be located on the grounds of the Pastoral Center in Fresno adjacent to San Joaquin Memorial High School. Master Control facilities were housed at St. Mary’s Convent, Visalia. Several classrooms and offices of the former Ryan Seminary were converted to station facilities. The station’s transmitter was built on Blue Ridge Mt. in Tulare Co. at an elevation of nearly 6,000 ft. with 2.5 million watts of power in order to serve over 2 million people from Bakersfield to Merced.
On November 2, 1986 the station went on the air receiving a grant of $250,000, which funded a satellite receiving antenna and equipment. The original staff included 6 staff members working in Fresno and Visalia. Initially the station transmitted 17 hours daily and produced 6 local programs. Among these were English and Spanish Masses, Gardening in the Valley, Buenos Dias, Christ Alive and Teachings on the Torah. Station affiliates included: EWTN (Eternal Television Network), CTN (Catholic Telecommunications Network), and Santa Fe Communications. In addition organizations such as Paulist Press, St. Francis Evangelization, the Christophers, Republic Pictures and The Samuel Goldwyn Co. provided programming. These resources made it possible for Channel 49 to fulfill its goal of bringing quality family television to the Central Valley.
In the fall of 1989 the master control department was moved to Fresno, after certain geographic FCC guidelines were modified. This increased the efficiency of operations. The local production of Masses, Crossings (a program that taught English to Hmong immigrants), Daily Mediations, Breaking Open the Word, Compartiendo La Palabra, Os Portugueses No Vale were added to Channel 49’s lineup. Each program seen on the station reaches a different segment of the Valley’s population as it educates and inspires viewers.
Bishop John T. Steinbock, who was appointed to the Diocese of Fresno in 1991, brought a new vision to KNXT. As a result of his support and guidance the station has acquired new equipment and sought grant funding from local and state sources. He has advised station personnel on new programming projects such as live productions of Diocesan events.
As the station grew it was quickly added to area cable systems. A translator station in Taft/Maricopa area of Kern County extended the program range of KNXT. On January 1, 2005 digital Channel 50 went on the air, as mandated by the FCC and rebroadcasts the programming on Channel 49. On July 5, 2007 KNXT added low power Channel 38 on Mt. Adelaide east of Bakersfield to expand our coverage to the city of Bakersfield and Kern County. In September of 2008, Channel 38 was added to the bright house cable channel 442 throught Bakersfield and the surrounding areas.
KNXT-TV serves Catholics and non-Catholics in seven counties of the Central Valley, with a population exceeding 2.4 million.
KNXT-TV is a 501 ( c ) (3) and is funded by contribtions from viewers, Catholic organizations, on-air solicitations, grants and the Diocese of Fresno.