Southern Oregon Public Television is a PBS member station serving southern Oregon and northern California. Its offices and studio are located at 28 S. Fir St., #200, Medford, Oregon. It operates KSYS, channel 8 in Medford and KFTS, channel 22 in Klamath Falls.
As an independent media voice, Southern Oregon Public Television enriches our understanding of the past, enlivens our present, and prepares us for the future by connecting our community with quality local and national programming that educates, enlightens, inspires, and entertains.
In 1965, Oregon Educational Broadcasting (OEB), forerunner of Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), 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-TV in Eugene.
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 (SOEC), 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.
The Oregon Channel is a public affairs network. Programming consists of Oregon legislative sessions and other public affairs events.
SOPTV will be an essential resource in our community life. Rooted and deeply engaged in the local community, SOPTV will improve our understanding of one another and the world by being the leading provider of locally produced educational and informational media.
Southern Oregon Public Television is a nonprofit, commercial-free, educational telecommunications organization that works with various partners to provide diverse cultural and informational programming and services. Activities of the organization will be for the benefit of the communities we serve and will strive to:
- Foster an informed and active citizenry
- Make knowledge and creative life of the arts, sciences and humanities available to the widest possible public
- Reflect positively the diversity of our community and audience, inviting a sense of inclusion and better understanding of each other
- Improve, for all people, access to public media
- Be a trusted partner to parents and educators providing programming and services which promote the healthy development of children
- Serve the individual, not just as a spectator, but as a participant able and willing to learn new skills through SOPTV’s programs and services
- Work with educators to effectively use our telecommunications resources and capabilities to positively address educational needs to the region