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Technical Requirements For Programs Submitted to KET

All KET programs must meet certain production quality standards. The following are specific technical guidelines on packaging, length, format, funding, and product offer tags.

KET is available to assist with any questions and/or issues pertaining to production or program submission. Prior contact with KET is recommended to help avoid any issues with program content, production quality, formatting, and/or requirements for broadcast (such as length, credits, rights, captioning, etc.). 

All program submissions must meet the KET and/or PBS technical specifications.

Please note, these guidelines apply only to programs distributed locally to KET. Rules governing product offers may vary with national distributors such as NETA or PBS. It’s important that producers confirm prior to submitting.

Program packaging

Packaging can vary from distributor to distributor, but the PBS Producer’s Handbook offers a good guide.

Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

Program Tease (optional)
Engaging content to capture the audience’s attention.
:30 approximately, no longer than 3:00
Underwriter Credits “Funding for this program made possible by…”Up to :15 per funder; no more than 1:00 max. Funders listed in descending order of amount.
Program ContentVarying length
Website announcement (optional)Up to :15 max
Production Credits *
Must be legible in size and length of on-screen time. In-kind credits and “special thanks” included, in the same style as production credits. Ends with copyright notice, dip to black.
Up to 0:30 max for a half-hour; up to 0:45 max for an hour or longer program
Underwriter CreditsMust be the same funders, in the same order as at the program open.
Agency logoUp to :06 for your production company’s fullscreen logo

* The production credits should be comprised of individuals and organizations that have direct involvement in the production of the program. Any credit that is not directly related to the production of the program should not be included. The production credits are meant to be informational in nature and not promotional of any individual or company. You can have up to five (5) production credits in the open sequence, but they cannot be repeated in the closing credits.

Standard Lengths:

  • For Children’s Programs:
    •  Program length of 30 minutes = 28:40
    •  Program length of 60 minutes = 58:40
  • For other KET Programs:
    •  Program length of 30 minutes = 26:40
    •  Program length of 60 minutes = 56:40
    •  Program length of 90 minutes = 86:40
    •  Program length of 120 minutes = 1:56:40 (While content sometimes dictates a longer or shorter length, programs must not exceed 28:00 or be less than 25:00 on the half-hour.)


If your program is accepted for broadcast, a master file may be submitted in the formats listed below. Detailed parameters, including FTP credentials and formatting details, will be provided by KET.

  • MPEG-4 AVC QuickTime
  • MPEG-4 XDCAM EX35 Quicktime
  • ProRes 422 LT QuickTime file or portable hard drive

Programs must be fully edited and ready for broadcast. DVDs and VHS tapes are not acceptable for broadcast.

Physical media submitted must be labeled on both the container and the media itself. Portable hard drives must also be labeled. The following information must be included on the label:

  • Program or series title
  • Episode number/episode subtitle
  • Program’s actual run time in Hours:Minutes:Seconds
  • Stereo or mono audio
  • Name of producing entity (producer/company name)
  • Copyright:
    •  Medical claims of any kind
    •  Mention of a contest, auction, or sale of goods or services

Test File Process:

Because of the nature of how these files are processed, we would like for you to send us a “TEST” File via FTP or on a hard drive so we can run it through our processes and make sure it satisfies these requirements. This file needs to be sent well prior to any airdate that you may have been given so we can validate that the file meets broadcast parameters. By starting this validation process well prior to the airdate, we will have the adequate time needed to get the actual program file processed, checked, and prepared for air. If submitting your program on a hard drive, the hard drive used for delivery must only contain your program and additional material relevant to the program (i.e. captioning documents, trailers, spots, etc.).

If you need further instructions on how to send us a program file, contact John Stone at KET, 859-258-7481 or

We would like for this “TEST” file to be no more than 40 seconds in length: 5 seconds of black at either end of the material and 30 seconds of actual program material you plan on sending us.

HD Video Specs should be:

  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Video format: 1080i/59.94
    File Types: MPEG-4 AVC QuickTime, MPEG-4 XDCAM EX35 Quicktime, or ProRes 422 LT QuickTime file
    Bitrate: 35 Mbps
    Scan Order: Top field first or Upper field first (TFF)
    Video Luminance Level: The brightest part of any scene should never rise above 100 IRE, 100%, or 1V.
    Black Level: Must be set to 0 IRE or 0V
    Audio Channels:
                  ○ Channel 1 – Stereo Left sum Mixed
                  ○ Channel 2 – Stereo Right sum Mixed
                  ○ Other channels muted

Files will contain a timecode (TC) track that provides continuous, sequential timecode from the start to the end of the file. One frame of black at the beginning and one second of black at end of the program file. The TC must start at 00:00:00:00.

Do not include bars and tone. They are not necessary and increase file size.

Files must conform to all aspects of ITU-R BT.709-6, and must be free of visual and aural defects.

Audio Loudness Requirements:

Refer to ATSC A/85:2013, “Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television” to understand PBS’s requirements for loudness management and surround-sound management. This document is available to download for free here.

  • Short Form Content:
    As stipulated in Annex J of ATSC A/85, metering of short-form content, (defined for PBS as 90 seconds or less), must conform to ITU-R BS.1770-3 for loudness measurement and true-peak measurement and must apply to all channels of 5.1-channel submissions (with the exception of the LFE channel which is not included in the loudness measurement), or to both channels of a 2- channel stereo program. For such short-form content (such as underwriting spots, video offers, etc.), measured loudness shall be averaged over the duration of the body of the program, and the resultant average must conform to -24 LKFS, +/- 2 LU. True Peak levels shall not exceed -2 dBTP at any time.
  • Long Form Content:
    ○ The audio mix of long-form (“program”) content must conform to the guidelines presented in ATSC A/85:2013, using ITU-R BS.1770-3 for loudness measurement and true-peak measurement and must apply to all channels of 5.1-channel submissions (with the exception of the LFE channel which is not included in the loudness measurement), or to both channels of a 2- channel stereo program. Measured loudness shall indicate the average loudness of normally spoken dialogue during the body of the program, and the resultant average must conform to -24 LKFS, +/- 2 LU. True Peak levels shall not exceed -2 dBTP at any time.
    ○ The loudness of normally spoken dialogue must remain consistent from act to act and throughout the body of the program.
    ○ The loudness of music and sound effects must not overwhelm, but rather it must be creatively blended with the loudness of dialogue in such a way that most viewers will easily discern the dialogue on first listening.
  • Pure Music Content:
    ○ In some programs, such as music performance programs where the length of dialogue is very short and the remainder of the program audio is not dialogue, the anchor element becomes the music.
    ○ The loudness measurement of such non-dialogue main portions of these programs is to be integrated (averaged) over the “body of the program”, using BS.1770-3 LKFS meters.
    ○ The target loudness of the “body of the program” is to be -24 LKFS +/- 2 LU when AVERAGED for the duration of the program.
    ○ The loudness of any dialogue (e.g., introductory comments, promos, etc.) in such music performance programs also must match the average loudness level of -24 LKFS +/- 2 LU.
  • Average dialogue:
    Programs may have music or effects true-peak levels no higher than -2 dBTP during moments of dramatic impact, as long as average dialogue levels are maintained as specified here.

Closed Captioning:

File must include embedded closed captions per SMPTE 436M (both 608 and 708).

Captions must conform to current FCC requirements for accuracy, placement, synchronicity, and completeness.  If a production isn’t able to include captioning, KET can provide that service for a fee.

If you have any questions about our technical specifications, don’t hesitate to contact us. It’s better to check first than to have to go back and change something.

Lee Delaney
Broadcast Operations Manager