Southern Oregon Public Television is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member Public television for most of southwest region of the U.S. state of Oregon. It operates KSYS, channel 8 in Medford and KFTS, digital channel 33 in Klamath Falls.
In 1965, Oregon Educational Broadcasting, forerunner of Oregon Public Broadcasting, persuaded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reassign channel 8 from Brookings to Medford. OEB intended to make channel 8 the third station in its television network, which at that time included flagship KOAC-TV in Corvallis and KOAP-TV (now KOPB-TV) in Portland. Southern Oregon was the only region of the state without public television. However, OEB backed out after a protracted battle with several commercial applicants. The license eventually went to Liberty Television, owners of KEZI in Eugene.
However, the owners of the two commercial stations in the area—Bill Smullin of KTVM-TV (now KOBI) and Ray Johnson of KMED-TV (now KTVL) -- helped a new nonprofit corporation, Southern Oregon Educational Company, buy the channel 8 construction permit from Liberty. They also pledged payments of $50,000 once the station signed on. Getting the funds to sign on proved more difficult than expected. With the FCC permit about to run out, KSYS went on the air on January 17, 1977 with the strongest signal of any station in the region, at 191,000 watts. This was still not enough to cover Klamath Falls, and SOEC (later renamed Southern Oregon Public Television, Inc.) immediately applied for another station to cover that region. However, it took 12 more years before KFTS went on the air in January 1989.
The two stations are the only public television stations in the state not affiliated with OPB, but occasionally air some of OPB's programs. They also carry local, PBS, and American Public Television programs, along with programs from other distributors.
The SOPTV network digital signals is multiplexed:
SOPTV also operates a cable-only channel on Charter Communications channel 21 in Medford, featuring popular PBS programming at alternate times.
SOPTV is also one of the partners of The Oregon Channel, a public affairs network. Programing consist of Oregon legislative sessions and other public affairs events. It was previously featured also on the x.3 subchannel, until it was made exclusively available only on cable.
SOPTV's stations shut down their analog signals on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:KSYS shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 42 to VHF channel 8 due to problems caused by UHF's severe terrain limitations.
KFTS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 22.
SOPTV is rebroadcast on the following translator stations. Some channels currently broadcasting, are not listed in the FCC database. As of August 2014, all translators below are verified except K02JF Butte Falls and K04KI Merrill:
City Grade Translators:
Repeater Stations:KSYS-LD Channel 42 Jacksonville
Service to Gold Beach, Lakeview, Paisley, Port Orford, Silver Lake and Wedderburn is provided by Oregon Public Broadcasting.