Montana PBS restores public television service to Flathead Reservation

After a year’s work resolving technical challenges and negotiating a maze of federal regulations, over-the-air public television service has been restored to the Flathead Reservation and the towns of Pablo, Polson, St. Ignatius, Arlee, Ronan and Hot Springs.

Montana PBS announced the successful completion of the process, a cooperative effort with Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, the Federal Communications Commission and private landowners.

“The technical challenges and the federal regulatory process to restore service have been complex,” Dean Lawver, director of technology for Montana PBS, said in a written release. “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 can now rescan their televisions to access five channels: 46.1 through 46.5.

The primary high definition channel is 46.1, and provides the national PBS schedule and local programs.

Here are the specialties of the other channels now available on the Flathead Reservation: a children’s channel at 46.2, Montana PBS Create at 46.3, Montana PBS 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,” according to the announcement by UM.

Montana PBS 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.