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Montana PBS
Montana PBS logo 2019.png
Channels
Programming
Affiliations.1: PBS
.2: PBS Kids
.3: Create
.4: World
.5: TVMT simulcast
Ownership
OwnerKUSM, KUHM: Montana State University
KUFM: University of Montana
KBGS, KUGF, KUKL: Montana University System
History
First air date
October 1, 1984 (38 years ago) (1984-10-01)
Technical information
Facility IDSee below
ERPSee below
HAATSee below
Transmitter coordinatesSee below
Links
Websitewww.montanapbs.org

Montana PBS is the PBS member public television network for the U.S. state of Montana. It is a joint venture between Montana State University (MSU) and the University of Montana (UM). The network is headquartered in the Visual Communications Building on the MSU campus in Bozeman, with a separate studio on the UM campus in Missoula.

The network comprises six stations — flagship KUSM-TV (channel 9) in Bozeman and full-power satellites KUFM-TV (channel 11) in Missoula, KBGS-TV (channel 16) in Billings, KUHM-TV (channel 10) in Helena, KUGF-TV (channel 21) in Great Falls and KUKL-TV (channel 46) in Kalispell — and a network of 60 low-power repeaters in Montana. KUSM and KUHM are licensed to MSU, KUFM to UM, and KBGS, KUGF and KUKL to The Board of Regents of the Montana University System.

History

In 1983, several Gallatin Valley residents led by Nancy Fikkema formed Montanans for Children's Television (MCT) to press for a PBS station in the area. They wanted to give the few residents without access to cable a way to watch public television, especially PBS children's programming. [1] At the time, Montana viewers had to rely on cable or translators for PBS programming. Depending on the location, cable systems in western Montana piped in KSPS-TV in Spokane or KRMA-TV in Denver, while cable systems in eastern and central Montana piped in Prairie Public Television from North Dakota or KUED in Salt Lake City. KRMA–now known as Rocky Mountain PBS–and KSPS still operate translators in Montana. Additionally, some commercial stations in Montana, including KTVQ in Billings and KFBB in Great Falls, carried Sesame Street and may have carried other PBS programs.

The University of Utah, owner of KUED, was willing to bring a KUED satellite station to Bozeman if there was enough local support. However, the only viable facilities for such a station were at MSU, and school officials balked at using educational funds for public benefit. With this in mind, MCT published a survey in the Bozeman Chronicle asking if at least 2,000 people were willing to contribute $2 per month for a local public television station. After the survey found there was sufficient public support, KUSM signed on for the first time on October 1, 1984. The transmitter was donated by Montana broadcasting pioneer Joe Sample. MSU didn't have enough funding at the time to support a public television station, and the Gallatin Valley didn't have nearly enough people at the time for viewer-supported public television. Station engineers switched to and from the signal of KUED in Salt Lake City for most PBS programming until 1987, giving MSU time to train its staff and build local financial support.[1] With KUSM's debut, Montana became the last state with an educational station within its borders, 14 years after Mississippi became the last state east of the Mississippi River with its own PBS station.

In 1987, KUSM became a full member of PBS. In 1988, KUSM was added to TCI's cable systems in the eastern two-thirds of Montana. KUED had been carried on TCI and its various predecessors since 1965. TCI began phasing out KUED on its systems in the summer of 1988, with KUSM completely replacing KUED in that part of the state by 1990.[1]

Early on, UM partnered with MSU to extend KUSM's reach to western Montana. By 1991, KUSM began branding as Montana Public Television, reflecting its new statewide reach.[1]

UM had won a construction permit for KUFM-TV in 1992. The station signed on for the first time in 1996, and the two stations began broadcasting as a network on New Year's Day 1997. In 1999, the network rebranded as Montana PBS.

Montana PBS's third full-powered station, KBGS-TV in Billings, signed on in late 2009. The fourth full-powered satellite, KUGF in Great Falls, signed on in fall 2010. KUKL-TV in Kalispell followed in 2011.

The network has expanded rather slowly, relying on cable and satellite coverage for most of its viewership. This didn't pose as much of a problem as it may seem at first glance due to a partnership with the state's cable systems. Even in the digital era, cable and satellite are all but essential for acceptable television in most of Montana.

On July 1, 2015, Gray Television announced that it would donate the license assets of Helena CW affiliate KMTF to Montana State University for integration into the Montana PBS system as its sixth full-power station (the station's CW Plus programming will continue to be carried on a subchannel of NBC affiliate KTVH, which Gray sold to Cordillera Communications in correlation to the deal).[2] The station, re-called KUHM-TV, will improve reception in areas around Helena unable to receive that city's local translator, K49EH-D.

Programming

Most of the local programs such as Backroads of Montana, 11th and Grant, and Montana Ag Live, as well as Montana historical documentaries and current event programs, are created by independent producers for Montana PBS. Due to a strong program for journalism and radio/television at UM and for documentary filmmaking at MSU, many of the network's local programs are produced by students.

Some of the Montana-made programming is also available online.

Stations

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  Download coordinates as: KML
Station City of license Channels
(RF/VC)
First air date ERP HAAT Facility ID Licensee Callsign meaning Transmitter coordinates Public license information
KUSM-TV Bozeman 8 (VHF)
9
February 2, 1984 (38 years ago) (1984-02-02) 17.9 kW 271 m (889 ft) 43567 Montana State University University System of Montana 45°40′24″N 110°52′2″W / 45.67333°N 110.86722°W / 45.67333; -110.86722 (KUSM-TV) Profile
LMS
KUFM-TV Missoula 11 (VHF)
11
October 9, 1992 (30 years ago) (1992-10-09) 12.3 kW 633.8 m (2,079 ft) 66611 University of Montana University of Montana 46°48′9″N 113°58′21″W / 46.80250°N 113.97250°W / 46.80250; -113.97250 (KUFM-TV) Profile
LMS
KBGS-TV Billings 16 (UHF)
16
June 24, 2009 (13 years ago) (2009-06-24) 29.8 kW 167.1 m (548 ft) 169030 The Board of Regents of the Montana University System Billings 45°46′9.2″N 108°27′26.3″W / 45.769222°N 108.457306°W / 45.769222; -108.457306 (KBGS-TV) Profile
LMS
KUGF-TV Great Falls 21 (UHF)
21
February 9, 2010 (12 years ago) (2010-02-09) 23.4 kW 152.7 m (501 ft) 169028 Montana State University - Great Falls 47°32′9.2″N 111°17′2.1″W / 47.535889°N 111.283917°W / 47.535889; -111.283917 (KUGF) Profile
LMS
KUKL-TV Kalispell 15 (UHF)
46
October 5, 2011 (11 years ago) (2011-10-05) 23.4 kW 830 m (2,723 ft) 169027 Montana State University - Kalispell 48°0′48.2″N 114°21′54.5″W / 48.013389°N 114.365139°W / 48.013389; -114.365139 (KUKL-TV) Profile
LMS
KUHM-TV Helena 29 (UHF)
10
August 15, 1998 (24 years ago) (1998-08-15)
(Joined Montana PBS September 1, 2015)
43.4 kW 697 m (2,287 ft) 68717 Montana State University Montana State University - Helena Montana 46°49′29.6″N 111°42′12.6″W / 46.824889°N 111.703500°W / 46.824889; -111.703500 (KUHM-TV) Profile
LMS

Notes:

Translators

Montana PBS operates one of the largest translator networks in Montana.

City of license Callsign Translating Channel ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter coordinates Owner
Arlee K17NE-D KUFM 17 0.15 kW 108 m (354 ft) 58661 47°15′47.7″N 114°4′53.3″W / 47.263250°N 114.081472°W / 47.263250; -114.081472 (K17NE-D) Montana State University
Belgrade, etc. K17KB-D KUSM 1.53 kW 192 m (630 ft) 33758 45°38′14.7″N 111°16′3.8″W / 45.637417°N 111.267722°W / 45.637417; -111.267722 (K17KB-D)
Big Sandy K13OQ-D KUGF 13 0.009 kW −18 m (−59 ft) 5287 48°9′41.4″N 110°1′51.7″W / 48.161500°N 110.031028°W / 48.161500; -110.031028 (K13OQ-D) Big Sandy TV Club
Billings K20HB-D KBGS-TV 20 15 kW 116.7 m (383 ft) 125475 45°46′0.0″N 108°27′29.5″W / 45.766667°N 108.458194°W / 45.766667; -108.458194 (K20HB-D) Montana State University
Boulder K27CD-D KUSM 27 0.372 kW −18 m (−59 ft) 6526 46°15′33.7″N 112°9′11″W / 46.259361°N 112.15306°W / 46.259361; -112.15306 (K27CD-D) Boulder
K36CX-D 36 0.182 kW 219 m (719 ft) 6527 46°30′36.7″N 111°55′57.9″W / 46.510194°N 111.932750°W / 46.510194; -111.932750 (K36CX-D)
Bridger K26NN-D KBGS 26 1 kW 91 m (299 ft) 168742 45°17′10.2″N 108°56′3.1″W / 45.286167°N 108.934194°W / 45.286167; -108.934194 (K26NN-D) Clarks Fork Valley TV District No. 1
Butte K24MP-D KUSM 24 4.55 kW 553 m (1,814 ft) 33757 46°0′27″N 112°26′33″W / 46.00750°N 112.44250°W / 46.00750; -112.44250 (K24MP-D) Montana State University
Chinook K22LD-D 22 0.431 kW 107 m (351 ft) 10843 48°28′8.4″N 109°16′12.6″W / 48.469000°N 109.270167°W / 48.469000; -109.270167 (K22LD-D) Chinook
Circle, etc. K18CR-D 18 1.12 kW 186 m (610 ft) 11222 47°17′0″N 105°24′56.9″W / 47.28333°N 105.415806°W / 47.28333; -105.415806 (K18CR-D) Circle TV Booster Club, Inc.
Conrad K16KB-D 16 0.373 kW 64 m (210 ft) 189999 48°11′13.1″N 112°1′18.4″W / 48.186972°N 112.021778°W / 48.186972; -112.021778 (K16KB-D) Conrad
Drummond K22MI-D KUFM 22 0.167 kW −137 m (−449 ft) 183075 46°37′2.2″N 113°10′55.5″W / 46.617278°N 113.182083°W / 46.617278; -113.182083 (K22MI-D) Granite County
Ekalaka K23DJ-D KUSM 23 1.91 kW 74 m (243 ft) 52824 45°54′4.9″N 104°33′1.8″W / 45.901361°N 104.550500°W / 45.901361; -104.550500 (K23DJ-D) Plevna Public School Trustees District #55
Emigrant K27LO-D 27 0.025 kW −220 m (−722 ft) 187245 45°20′6.7″N 110°41′24.7″W / 45.335194°N 110.690194°W / 45.335194; -110.690194 (K27LO-D) Paradise Valley TV District
Ferndale K33OH-D KUFM 33 0.112 kW 86 m (282 ft) 181725 48°4′4.3″N 114°2′19.3″W / 48.067861°N 114.038694°W / 48.067861; -114.038694 (K33OH-D) Swan Hill TV District
Helena K33OP-D KUSM 2.3 kW 206 m (676 ft) 43570 46°46′10.7″N 112°1′27.9″W / 46.769639°N 112.024417°W / 46.769639; -112.024417 (K33OP-D) Montana State University
Heron K13ZN-D KUFM 13 0.05 kW 240 m (787 ft) 182009 47°57′17.6″N 115°40′14.9″W / 47.954889°N 115.670806°W / 47.954889; -115.670806 (K13ZN-D) Trout Creek-Heron-Noxon TV District
Hot Springs K29ND-D 29 0.003 kW 518 m (1,699 ft) 181928 47°33′31.7″N 114°32′45.4″W / 47.558806°N 114.545944°W / 47.558806; -114.545944 (K29ND-D) Hot Springs
Joplin K35OF-D KUSM 35 0.351 kW 862 m (2,828 ft) 18191 48°51′16.5″N 111°8′32.3″W / 48.854583°N 111.142306°W / 48.854583; -111.142306 (K35OF-D) East Butte TV Club, Inc.
Kalispell KEXI-LD KUKL 1 kW 113 m (371 ft) 40102 48°10′33.9″N 114°21′0.2″W / 48.176083°N 114.350056°W / 48.176083; -114.350056 (KEXI-LD) Montana State University
Livingston K48NS-D KUSM 28 0.55 kW 287 m (942 ft) 18462 45°35′51.7″N 110°32′47.7″W / 45.597694°N 110.546583°W / 45.597694; -110.546583 (K48NS-D) Paradise Valley TV District
Loma K29LD-D KUGF 29 0.243 kW −26 m (−85 ft) 191249 47°56′22.8″N 110°29′52.7″W / 47.939667°N 110.497972°W / 47.939667; -110.497972 (K29LD-D) Loma T.V. Club
Pablo
Ronan
KSKC-CD KUFM 27 6.6 kW 663 m (2,175 ft) 168332 47°46′25″N 114°16′7″W / 47.77361°N 114.26861°W / 47.77361; -114.26861 (KSKC-CD) Montana State University
Philipsburg K15KW-D 15 0.011 kW −283 m (−928 ft) 183067 46°20′17.5″N 113°20′18.4″W / 46.338194°N 113.338444°W / 46.338194; -113.338444 (K15KW-D) Granite County
Plains K08OY-D 8 0.05 kW 34 m (112 ft) 181783 47°31′29.7″N 114°57′31.4″W / 47.524917°N 114.958722°W / 47.524917; -114.958722 (K08OY-D) Plains-Paradise TV District
K21CA-D 21 1.09 kW −26 m (−85 ft) 52776 47°31′14.7″N 114°57′31.4″W / 47.520750°N 114.958722°W / 47.520750; -114.958722 (K21CA-D)
K34PQ-D 34 1.04 kW 884 m (2,900 ft) 52779 47°22′19.7″N 114°51′32.4″W / 47.372139°N 114.859000°W / 47.372139; -114.859000 (K34PQ-D)
Plevna K34DP-D KUSM 0.885 kW 66 m (217 ft) 52826 43°27′24″N 104°30′51.8″W / 43.45667°N 104.514389°W / 43.45667; -104.514389 (K34DP-D) Plevna Public School Trustees District #55
St. Ignatius K33OR-D KUFM 33 1 kW 190 m (623 ft) 168333 47°27′5.7″N 114°15′31.4″W / 47.451583°N 114.258722°W / 47.451583; -114.258722 (K33OR-D) Montana State University
Thompson Falls K23NP-D 23 0.05 kW −270 m (−886 ft) 187602 47°35′45″N 115°16′51″W / 47.59583°N 115.28083°W / 47.59583; -115.28083 (K23NP-D) Thompson Falls
Townsend K11WM-D KUHM 11 0.0167 kW −5 m (−16 ft) 181057 46°16′48.1″N 111°24′59.9″W / 46.280028°N 111.416639°W / 46.280028; -111.416639 (K11WM-D) Townsend
West Glacier K12LU-D KUKL 12 0.019 kW 628 m (2,060 ft) 16755 48°25′58.8″N 113°57′58.4″W / 48.433000°N 113.966222°W / 48.433000; -113.966222 (K12LU-D) Montana State University

MSU acquired the West Glacier transmitter from Canyon TV in 2014 for the nominal purchase price of one dollar. In 2018, it acquired the five translators led by KSKC-CD (now K27MS-D), the public television station of Salish Kootenai College, and incorporated them into the network.[3][4]

Not owned by the network are additional translators run by TV districts.

Technical information

Subchannels

The digital signals of Montana PBS' stations are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[5][6][7][8][9]
xx.1 1080i 16:9 [callsign]-HD Main programming / PBS
xx.2 480i [callsign]-K PBS Kids
xx.3 [callsign]-C Create
xx.4 [callsign]-W World
xx.5 [callsign]-L TVMT simulcast

Analog-to-digital conversion

Montana PBS' stations shut down their analog signals on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television station's in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:[10]

Satellite

Montana PBS is available free-to-air on AMC 21 (125°W) Ku-band satellite television.[11]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Montana PBS historical timeline
  2. ^ "Gray In 4 New Deals, Closes 3 Earlier Ones". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Jacobson, Adam (2018-05-11). "Five TV Translators Captured By College". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  4. ^ Currence, Wesley (2018-11-15). "MontanaPBS Restores Service on Flathead Indian Reservation". MontanaPBS. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  5. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  7. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  8. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  9. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  11. ^ "AMC21 free-to-air satellite feeds, LyngSat". Retrieved 29 May 2018.