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Ozarks Public Television Now Broadcasting from KY3 Tower

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OPT
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Just over three months after the collapse of Ozarks Public Television’s broadcast tower, the station has begun medium power operation from KY3’s tower in Fordland.

The move to the tower and increased power, “will allow Missouri State University to provide a more reliable signal and increase coverage for over-the-air viewers,” according to a news release from Suzanne Shaw, spokesperson for MSU.  OPT is renting space on the tower owned by KY-3.

Shortly after the tower collapse, OPT began broadcasting at low power from a rooftop on the MSU campus until a more permanent solution could be determined.

It’s estimated that the new signal could restore service to up to 85 percent of OPT’s over-the-air, cable and satellite viewers.  According to MSU, results for individual viewers will vary significantly based on location, terrain and the type of antenna they use.

The restoration of complete over-the-air service will likely take many more months, according to MSU.  But Shaw said OPT will continue to look at ways to incrementally increase coverage until then.

To restore complete service, MSU must decide whether it will build a new tower or if it will enter a long-term lease agreement for permanent operations. 

According to the university, either scenario will require hiring specialized tower crews, which are currently in short supply due to work needed by stations nationwide to comply with FCC-mandated channel reassignments.

Updates will be posted on OPT’s website and on social media, according to MSU.

The broadcast tower that delivered OPT’s signal to the Springfield area collapsed while work was being performed at the site near Fordland on April 19. One of the members of the tower crew was killed.

Most Springfield-area viewers initially lost service, but 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, according to Shaw.

Tammy Wiley, general manager of broadcast services, gave credit to KY-3 for “adjusting their own busy schedules to assist OPT in returning to service as quickly as possible.”