Ozarks Public Television (OPT) began medium-power operation from KY3’s tower in Fordland, Missouri, on July 23.
The move to a broadcast tower, along with increased power, will allow Missouri State University to provide a more reliable signal and increase coverage for over-the-air viewers.
In the days following the collapse of OPT’s broadcast tower on April 19, a low-power interim broadcast was established from a rooftop on the Missouri State campus.
Based on pre-implementation technical studies, the medium-power signal could restore service to up to 85 percent of OPT’s over-the-air, cable and satellite viewers. Results for individual viewers will vary significantly based on their location, terrain and the type of antenna they use.
OPT is renting space on the tower owned by KY3.
“KY3 has been an incredibly supportive partner since day one, adjusting their own busy schedules to assist OPT in returning to service as quickly as possible,” said Tammy Wiley, general manager of broadcast services.
Restoring full service
Restoring complete over-the-air service will likely take many more months. However, OPT will continue to explore ways to incrementally increase coverage as they work to fully restore service through a permanent operation.
The constraints of the rented tower only allowed the university to install a specific weight antenna at a prescribed elevation. This limits how far the signal will reach.
To restore complete service, the university must decide whether it will build a new tower, or if it will enter a long-term lease agreement for permanent operations.
Either scenario will require services from specialized tower crews to carry out the complex work. Those crews are in extremely short supply due to the extensive work needed by stations across the nation to comply with FCC-mandated channel reassignments.
Updates will be posted on OPT’s website and social media accounts.
On April 19, the broadcast tower that delivered OPT’s signal to the Springfield area collapsed while work was being performed at the site. Tragically, one of the members of the tower crew was killed.
Most Springfield-area viewers initially lost service. Joplin viewers were unaffected.
Service was quickly restored to cable and satellite viewers.
As an interim step, Missouri State installed a low-power broadcast from the Springfield campus. Some over-the-air viewers in Springfield who are particularly close to MSU’s campus could pick up the signal with their antennas.