Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is the primary television and radio public broadcasting network for most of Oregon as well as southern Washington. OPB consists of five full-power television stations, dozens of VHF or UHF translators, and over 20 radio stations and frequencies. Broadcasts include local programming as well as television programs from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and American Public Television (APT), and radio programs from NPR, Public Radio International, and the BBC World Service, among other distributors. Its headquarters and television studios are based in Portland.

OPB is also a major producer of television programming for national broadcast on PBS and Create through distributors like APT, with shows such as History Detectives, Barbecue America, Foreign Exchange, and travel shows hosted by Rick Steves and Art Wolfe.

As of 2006, OPB had over one million viewers throughout its region and an average of over 380,000 radio listeners each week. The part of southwestern Oregon not served by OPB is served by Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television.

History

20th century

OPB traces its roots to January 23, 1923 when KFDJ-AM signed on from the Corvallis campus of Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). The radio station's call letters were changed to KOAC-AM on December 11, 1925. In 1932, KOAC became a service of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education General Extension Division[2]

KOAC Radio won OPB's first Peabody Award when it was recognized for Outstanding Public Service by a Local Station for a 1942 program called Our Hidden Enemy, Venereal Disease.[3]

KOAC-TV in Corvallis began operations on October 7, 1957. KOAC-AM-TV soon became the primary station for a large statewide network of radio and television stations. Originally known as Oregon Educational Broadcasting, it became as the Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service (OEPBS) in 1971. In 1981, OEPBS was spun off from the Oregon State System of Higher Education, moved to Portland, and became the community-licensed Oregon Public Broadcasting. KOAC's former Portland satellites, KOAP-FM-TV, became the flagship of the new organization.[2] In addition to the studio and transmission facilities in Corvallis, there was another production studio located on the top floor of Villard Hall at the University of Oregon in Eugene that was connected by microwave link. Up until 1965, all programs from the Eugene studio were live, since they did not get any video recording equipment until then.

KOAP-TV in Portland signed on the air February 6, 1961; it became the flagship of OPB in 1981 and changed its call letters to KOPB-TV on February 15, 1989.

KTVR-TV in La Grande went on the air December 6, 1964 as a commercial television station that affiliated primarily with NBC and also carried select ABC network programs. KTVR operated as a semi-satellite of Boise, Idaho station KTVB, but had a La Grande studio at 1605 Adams Ave., producing a nightly newscast and other local programming. However, by 1967, the La Grande studio and office had been closed and KTVR became a full-fledged satellite of KTVB. KTVR was unique in the Pacific Time Zone, because as a repeater of a Mountain Time Zone station, its "prime-time" schedule was broadcast from 6 to 9 p.m. OEPBS bought KTVR on August 31, 1976 and converted it to PBS on February 1, 1977. At first, KTVR rebroadcast programming from KWSU-TV in Pullman, Washington and KSPS-TV in Spokane, Washington until OEPBS completed a transmission link to La Grande. On September 1, 1977 OEPBS took KTVR off the air for transmitter repairs, due to increasing technical problems. KTVR returned to the air on January 1, 1978, carrying OEPBS programming for the first time.

KOAB-TV in Bend began broadcasting on February 24, 1970 as KVDO-TV, an independent station licensed to Salem. Channel 3 struggled to compete with Portland's established independent, KPTV (channel 12), and in 1974 the station was purchased by Liberty Communications, then-owners of Eugene's ABC affiliate KEZI (channel 9). The intention was to make KVDO a full-power satellite of KEZI. KATU (channel 2), Portland's ABC affiliate, responded by taking legal action, forcing KEZI to instead operate KVDO on a limited basis. OEPBS purchased the station on February 19, 1976, and turned the station into a PBS member station, rebroadcasting OEPBS programming that was already available from KOAC and KOAP (now KOPB). A few days later on February 28, 1976, a disgruntled viewer protesting KVDO's sale to OEPBS cut guy wires, toppling the channel 3 transmitter tower. On September 20, 1976 KVDO signed back on the air with a new tower. On August 6, 1983, after many complaints about duplication of service to Salem-area viewers (see above), KVDO was shut down. OEPBS petitioned the FCC to move Channel 3's license and channel allocation to Bend, which had no PBS coverage; the FCC honored their request. On December 22, 1983 channel 3 signed back on the air as KOAB. The call letters were modified to KOAB-TV when KOAB-FM signed on the air January 23, 1986.

KOAC won a 1972 Peabody Award for a program called Conversations with Will Shakespeare and Certain of His Friends.[3] KEPB-TV in Eugene began operation on February 27, 1990 as Eugene's first public television station, rebroadcasting OPB programming clearer than KOAC's rimshot signal from Corvallis.

In the early 2000s, OPB installed Oregon’s first digital transmitter, taking a critical first step in the digital television transition.[4]

21st century

For 2001 and 2002, the Oregon state government provided about 14 percent of OPB's operational budget; for 2003 and 2004, it was cut to nine percent.[5]

In 2007, OPB Radio added World Have Your Say (WHYS) to its schedule, with its listeners becoming the show's most numerous contributors from the United States and second worldwide in number only to Nigeria.[6] According to WHYS host Ros Atkins, a "significant number of listeners [disliked the] 'tone' and 'production'" of the show, resulting in the removal of the show from OPB's schedule after three years.[6]

On December 4, 2007, OPB launched OPBmusic, a 24-hour online radio channel spotlighting Pacific Northwest musicians.[7] In March 2009, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting chose OPB to manage the pilot version of American Archive, CPB's initiative to digitally preserve content created by public broadcasters.[8]

In 2010, OPB won a 2009 Peabody Award for a radio series called "Hard Times," which followed a group of Oregonians through the recession year of 2009.[9]

On June 7, 2014, the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held their 51st Regional Emmy Awards: OPB and its staff won 10 Emmys:[10]

  • OPB received the Emmy for Station Excellence
  • Oregon Field Guide won the Emmy for Environmental - Program/Special
  • Oregon Field Guide: shared the Emmy for Public/Current/Community Affairs - Program/Special
  • Oregon Field Guide: won two Emmys, for Documentary - Topical and Writer - Program ( & )
  • shared the Emmy for Health/Science - Program/Special
  • won for Informational/Instructional - Feature/Segment
  • won for Documentary - Historical
  • "" won for Reporter - Programming
  • "" won an Emmy for Video Journalist - No Time Limit ()

Television stations

StationCity of licenseChannels
(Digital)
Channels
(Virtual)
First air dateCall letters’
meaning
ERP
(Digital)
HAAT
(Digital)
Facility IDTransmitter Coordinates
KOPB-TVPortland10 (VHF)10 (VHF)February 6, 1961Oregon
Public
Broadcasting
32.4 kW524 m (1,719 ft)50589
KOAC-TVCorvallis7 (VHF)7 (VHF)October 7, 1957Oregon
Agricultural
College
18.1 kW357 m (1,171 ft)50590
KEPB-TVEugene29 (UHF)28 (UHF)September 27, 1990Eugene
Public
Broadcasting
100 kW403 m (1,322 ft)50591
KOAB-TVBend11 (VHF)3 (VHF)February 24, 1970KOAC
Bend
90 kW245 m (804 ft)50588
KTVRLa Grande13 (VHF)13 (VHF)December 6, 1964TeleVision
Grande Ronde
16.1 kW775 m (2,543 ft)50592

Notes:

  1. KOPB-TV used the callsign KOAP-TV from its 1961 sign-on until 1989.
  2. KOAB-TV used the callsign KVDO-TV from its 1970 sign-on until 1983. It was a commercial independent station until OEPBS bought the station in 1976. It was licensed to Salem until 1983.
  3. KTVR was a commercial station relaying KTVB from Boise, Idaho until 1977.

Cable and satellite availability

OPB Television is available on all cable providers in its service area. On Dish Network, KOPB-TV, KEPB-TV, and KOAB-TV are available on the Portland, Eugene and Bend local broadcast station lineups, respectively. KOPB-TV and KEPB-TV are available on the Portland and Eugene DirecTV broadcast station lineups.

Digital television

OPB's first digital channel was OPB CREATE (an affiliate of the Create network), announced in January 2006; its availability was limited to certain Comcast digital cable customers and on Clear Creek Television in Oregon City.[11]

In December 2008, in anticipation of the original February 18, 2009 deadline for switching to all-digital broadcasting, OPB announced the launch of three digital subchannels: OPB, which would air OPB programming with an "improved picture for viewers with traditional sets", OPB HD, airing programming in "high definition with the highest-quality picture and sound", and OPB Plus, which offered "more choices in viewing times and added programs in news, public affairs and lifestyle."[12]

Digital channels

OPB currently offers three digital multiplex channels:[13]

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming
xx.1720p16:9OPBMain programming / PBS[13]
xx.2480i4:3OPBPlusOPB Plus (PBS Encore)[13]
xx.3OPB-FMOPB radio main programming (SAP audio channel 1)
opbmusic (SAP audio channel 2)
KMHD Jazz Radio (SAP audio channel 3)[13]

OPB is also one of the partners of The Oregon Channel, a public affairs network. Programming consists of Oregon legislative sessions and other public affairs events. The Oregon Channel is a government-access television (GATV) service that is currently available only on cable providers within the state.

All of OPB's digital channels are also available on cable providers Comcast and Frontier FiOS, and three other providers serving specific regions and communities in Oregon: Clear Creek (a cooperative serving the Redland area of Oregon City), BendBroadband (serving Central Oregon), and Crestview Cable Communications (serving Madras, Prineville, and La Pine).[12]

On July 6, 2011, OPB combined OPB and OPB SD into one high-definition channel feed on the main channel of its digital stations. OPB Plus moved from the third digital subchannel to the second subchannel and OPB Radio moved from the fourth digital subchannel to the third subchannel.

Analog-to-digital conversion

After the analog television shutdown:[14][15]

  • KOAC-TV, KOPB-TV, and KTVR relocated their digital signals to their former analog channel numbers: KOAC from VHF channel 7 to UHF channel 39, KOPB from UHF channel 27 to VHF channel 10 and KTVR from VHF channel 5 to channel 13.[16][17][18]
  • KOAB-TV and KEPB-TV remained on their respective pre-transition channel numbers (11 and 29).[19][20]

Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display virtual channels for each OPB station corresponding to their previous analog channel numbers.

Translators

Oregon Public Broadcasting maintains several low-powered repeaters that rebroadcast its television programming throughout the state. A few of these repeaters are not owned by OPB.

There are also two repeaters in Washington: K31IR-D in Grays River, and K28IH-D in Longview.

Radio stations

Call signFrequencyCity of licenseFCC info
KOPB-FM91.5 FMPortland
KETP88.7 FMEnterprise
KHRV90.1 FMHood River
KOAB-FM91.3 FMBend
KOAC550 AMCorvallis
KOAC-FM89.7 FMAstoria
KOAP88.7 FMLakeview
KOBK88.9 FMBaker City
KOBN90.1 FMBurns
KOGL-FM89.3 FMGleneden Beach
KOJD89.7 FMJohn Day
KOPB1600 AMEugene
KOTD89.7 FMThe Dalles
KRBM90.9 FMPendleton
KTMK-FM91.1 FMTillamook
KTVR-FM89.9 FMLa Grande
Broadcast translators of KOPB-FM
Call signFrequency
(MHz)
City of licenseFCC info
K276BU103.1Corvallis

Since the spring of 2009, OPB has operated jazz radio station KMHD; the station is owned by Mount Hood Community College, but operates out of OPB's studio facilities in Portland.

HD stations

Currently only KMHD and KOPB-FM carry HD radio content.

The OPB HD radio channels:

ChannelProgramming
OPB FM HD-1Main OPB radio programing
OPB FM HD-2opbmusic[21]
KMHD-FM HD-1KMHD "Jazz Radio"[22]

Other radio frequencies

Translators upgrading to full-power stations: