MontanaPBS Restores Public Television Service to Flathead Indian Reservation

November 16, 2018

MISSOULA – MontanaPBS is pleased to announce the restoration of over-the-air public television service in the communities of Pablo, Polson, Ronan, Hot Springs, St. Ignatius and Arlee. 

Over the past year, MontanaPBS has worked cooperatively with Salish Kootenai College, the Federal Communications Commission and local landowners to transfer broadcast translator licenses, transmission equipment and site leases. 

“The technical challenges and the federal regulatory process to restore service have been complex,” said Dean Lawver, director of technology for MontanaPBS, “but as the result of a great partnership with Salish Kootenai College and with help from members of the community, it has all come together.”

Local viewers using antennas in the affected communities are encouraged to rescan their televisions and tune in MontanaPBS’ five channels: 46.1 through 46.5. Those include MontanaPBS’ primary high definition channel at 46.1, which offers the national PBS schedule and local MontanaPBS programs, MontanaPBS’ Kids channel at 46.2, MontanaPBS Create at 46.3, MontanaPBS World at 46.4 and the Montana Public Affairs MPAN channel at 46.5.

“We are delighted to bring national PBS programming back to the Flathead Reservation this fall, as well as Montana-made documentaries, public affairs programs and viewer favorites like ‘Backroads of Montana,’” said Ray Ekness director of the Broadcast Media Center at the University of Montana.

The restored translators reach households across the majority of the Flathead Reservation, as well as some viewers in Flathead, Missoula and Sanders counties.

MontanaPBS is a cooperative service of Montana State University, KUSM-TV in Bozeman and UM, KUFM-TV in Missoula. The network has produced high-profile documentaries for statewide viewers, such as “Indian Relay” and “Playing for the World: The 1904 Fort Shaw Indian Girls’ Basketball Team,” as well as the recent “C.M. Russell and the American West.” 

MontanaPBS translators on the Flathead Reservation also will serve the community as Emergency Alert System stations, broadcasting Amber alerts and national, local and regional emergency notifications, including weather alerts.

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Contact: Ray Ekness, director, UM Broadcast Media Center, 406-243-4154, ray.ekness@umontana.edu.