Forty Years of Service

This month your Southern Oregon Public Television celebrates its 40th year of bringing you the best television on television.

It all began in May of 1927 when Philo Farnsworth transmitted television pictures as part of a prototypical television system. By 1947 an estimated 14,000 television sets were in the United States, and that number grew to 20,000,000 by 1953, which was also the year KBES (now KOBI) began service in the Rogue Valley.

Southern Oregon Education Company (SOEC) was organized in 1972 as a noncommercial educational station and began broadcasting on KSYS on January 17th 1977, appropriately with Sesame Street. We extended service to the Klamath Basin in 1989, expanded coverage west of the Cascades with translators, and converted to HDTV as mandated by Congress in 2006. We now offer three full-time channels of service over the air and via cable throughout our broadcast region. DirecTV and Dish only carry our SOPTV-PBS service.

A group of visionary and committed community leaders felt southern Oregon would benefit from having its own educational television service and thanks to their efforts we are here today. Our thanks to our founders: W. Boyce Stanard, president; Mrs. Garner Haupert, vice president; Donald K. Denman, secretary; Beryl C. Swalls, treasurer; Charles I. Gustafson; F. Jerome Hunter; Dr. Richard C. Langdon; John M. Lynch; and Dr. James Sours. See for additional information about our history.

We’ve come a long way since 1977 thanks to those who have served as board members and on the staff of Southern Oregon Public Television. And, thanks to your support of our incomparable program service, SOPTV always provides you with an opportunity to learn.

Many have predicted “doom and gloom scenarios” when cable television expanded television viewing options. We’ve had “moments of concern” when federal funding was threatened. Maintaining our far-flung rural broadcast infrastructure can be challenging. And we do not receive state funding like many other small public television stations, but we have exceptional support from members like you!

Thanks for your support, and I hope you feel a pride of ownership in what we’ve accomplished working together.

Mark Stanislawski
President & CEO

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