The Rural Alaskan Television
, special liscensing from the FCC
was received by Alaska
to install low power television stations in rural Alaska. Stations in Unalaska
and St. Paul Island
went on their air, and began broadcasting out to the rural communities of Alaska. These two stations carried programming that was taped from Anchorage stations, and replayed later. The two stations eventually merged into a larger on, RATNet, and offered programming from all the major networks, NBC
, and etc. RATNet was in most cases the only form of television that was recieved out in the bush
, which was why it received special despensation
from the FCC
to tape and rebroadcast. Also included were Alaska-specific shows, such as Alaska Weather (starring Reuben B. Eaton III), and various Native news programming and talk shows.
In 1996, RATNet was transformed, along with a management shift, into the Alaska Rural Communcations Service (or ARCS), and offered much the same service as RATNet had.
Alaskans who lived in the more urbanized areas of Southeast Alaska
, in Juneau, AK
, and Ketchikan, AK
, also received RATNet and then ARCS for many years. But in 1999, the service was removed from all cable listings. The reasoning behind that was; "The programming on ARCS is unfairly competing with the network affiliates
in Juneau and Ketchikan". Unfortunately, the television service also provided what many (especially Natives living in Southeast Alaska) considered an invaluable service.