Update – July 16, 2018
OPT has secured space at an alternative tower site, and is moving forward in establishing an interim medium-power operation. We expect to commence operation from this new site in the next 2-3 weeks. This step will allow us to significantly increase our over-the-air coverage to Springfield and many nearby communities.
However, this will not mark the completion of our coverage restoration. There will still be over-the-air viewers in some communities who will remain without access to OPT. Unfortunately, achieving full restoration will likely require several more months.
Our intent, and our top priority, is returning OPT service to our entire viewing area. While this is a complex task with many technical, logistical, and regulatory hurdles, we are working diligently to accomplish it as quickly as is possible. We cannot overstate how much we appreciate the support, patience, and kindness of our viewers and supporters as we work through this challenging situation.
OPT Service - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What happened to OPT’s signal?
A. On April 19, the broadcast tower that delivers 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.
Q. Did all OPT viewers lose signal?
A. Most Springfield area viewers were initially impacted by service outages. Joplin viewers were unaffected.
Q. How many people are still without service?
A. We estimate that 70% of OPT’s viewing audience is receiving service. We are committed to restoring service to the remaining 30% as soon as technically feasible. At present, all Joplin area viewers, most cable and satellite viewers, and a portion of over-the-air viewers inside Springfield have service.
Q. I watch television over-the-air with an antenna. Why don’t I have OPT yet?
A. To put it simply, setting up an over-the-air broadcast operation is extremely complex. To restore service, an alternate tower must be available—along with technical equipment specifically manufactured and designed to work from that new location.
Q. I watch television over-the-air with an antenna, and I do have OPT. Why?
A. As an interim solution, we have a low-power broadcast operating from the Missouri State University campus. Some over-the-air viewers in Springfield who are particularly close to MSU’s campus can pick up the signal with their antennas.
Q. Why has OPT service returned more quickly for cable and satellite viewers?
A. Technology enables cable and satellite providers to receive OPT through alternative methods, making the broadcast tower a less critical component in the delivery chain. We have been able to work with cable and satellite providers to identify and implement these alternative delivery methods.
Q. So, when will my over-the-air service be restored?
A. It depends. Currently, our transmission point is inside Springfield. As a result, only over-the-air viewers in a small area inside Springfield can receive the signal.
We expect that service will return to viewers in phases, depending on location. We will rely on a series of interim solutions before a long-term broadcast operation is in place. We expect that each of these incremental steps will increase our broadcast radius, reaching more households in our viewing area.
In the coming weeks, we hope to secure a temporary transmission point on a broadcast tower, which will allow us to broadcast a stronger signal. We expect that step will provide reliable coverage of the city of Springfield.
Q. I live well outside of Springfield, and receive television over-the-air with an antenna. When will I have OPT service?
A. Unfortunately, it may be several weeks before we have a reliable timeframe for the return of rural over-the-air service. To regain that broader coverage area, we will need to broadcast a much stronger signal. That will require additional feasibility studies and equipment acquisition. Full restoration remains our top priority, and we are working to make that happen as quickly as we are able. However, restoring that level of operation will take a considerable amount of time.
Q. Is there any way for me to watch my favorite shows in the meantime?
A. In the meantime, remember that many OPT and PBS programs are available online using your computer, or through the PBS app or PBS Kids app on your tablet, smartphone or streaming device.
Q. I’ve missed some of my favorite shows. Are you going to rebroadcast them?
A. We have heard from many folks requesting repeats of particular shows. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to repeat everything that has been requested. Many of these programs are, however, available online.
Q. How can I stay informed?
A. We will continue to provide updates at www.optv.org and on social media as new information becomes available.
Q. What can I do to help?
A. We appreciate the many people who have reached out with offers of support—and are especially grateful to everyone who supports public television with financial contributions. Now more than ever we appreciate that support. Because of you, we are confident we will be able to work through this challenge and fully restore OPT/PBS service to all of the communities we serve.