Public interest: Who knew Las Vegas’ PBS station was so successful?

Our local PBS station surpassed its concurrent end-of-fiscal-year campaign goal of $1.2 million on June 19.

Vegas PBS has been touting itself as the most-watched PBS station in the U.S. for the past few years, based on information it culled from TRAC Media Services. Judging by recent fundraising stats, listeners are doing more than tuning in to the local affiliate. The station, KLVX (Channel 10), quickly exceeded its June pledge goal of $150,000 and, on June 19, surpassed its concurrent end-of-fiscal-year campaign goal of $1.2 million, making this a record year for Vegas PBS, according to Director of Content Cyndy Robbins.

Why all the love? We’re guessing it’s not just that it’s the only station in town airing old episodes of The Lawrence Welk Show, which has loyal longtime fans, along with new devotees drawn to stars donned in billowy lemon-yellow dresses, chartreuse jumpers and red tuxedos.

Robbins attributes PBS Vegas’ success to its diversified programming, and its 6 a.m.-6 p.m. children’s offerings—along with its prime-time shows. Since last July 1, its most-watched program has been Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, followed by Antiques Roadshow, NOVA and From Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Vegas PBS says it has ranked No. 1 for 2010 through 2012, beating out other top markets such as Minneapolis, Chicago and Oklahoma City for total audience reach and frequency of viewing over a one-year period. With hundreds of channels now accessible for many households and funding cuts threatening public television as a whole, it’s quite an accomplishment.

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