Montana State University

Free public television now available to people in Great Falls area

October 12, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Free, over-the-air public television is available now for the first time in Great Falls.

MontanaPBS has placed a transmitter in Great Falls, which brings public television programming to more than 85,000 people in that city and most parts of Cascade County.

The transmitter allows people in the viewing area to have access to five channels that comprise public television in Montana, according to Lisa Titus, director of development at MontanaPBS. The first is the standard channel, which tends to air the programs that most people are used to seeing on public television -- kids' programs, cooking and painting shows, news and special prime time programs. Some of the channel's most well-known programs include "Sesame Street," "NOVA," "Antiques Roadshow" and "Backroads of Montana." The other four channels include an educational kids' channel, a "how-to" channel, a legislative channel and MontanaPBS World.

Titus said that people in the viewing area should re-scan for new channels if they haven't already done so, and that engineers will continue to fine-tune the signal throughout the next few weeks. The channels in Great Falls are 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4 and 21.5.

Funding for the $1.28 million transmitter project comes from several different sources, Titus said. The organization raised $384,457 in private donations and $906,875 in federal grants for the project. More than 300 entities pledged to the project, but the total number of individual donors is even higher, since many schoolchildren raised funds on behalf of their schools and other individuals bought raffle tickets in support of the project. A full list of donors is available at

The transmitter is located in a space shared with the CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls.

In addition to the new transmitter in Great Falls, MontanaPBS has digital transmitters in Billings, Bozeman, Butte and Missoula and serves more than 150 communities around the state. MontanaPBS can be viewed over the air and on cable, satellite and dish networks.

Lisa Titus, (406) 994-6221 or