The FCC bestowed a rare gift upon the northwestern Montana town of Kalispell today — a construction permit for a new public TV station, licensed to Montana State University.
As with many other full-power pubTV stations serving rural areas, the commission permitted the licensee to share programs from out of town — in this case, the Montana PBS programming originated at the university’s KUSM in Bozeman, which also airs on KUFM in Missoula and other repeaters in the state.
The signal from Kalispell, 120 miles north of Missoula near Glacier National Park, will cover a population of just 98,700 spread across 7,500 square miles.
The new station will broadcast on Channel 46 with maximum effective radiated power of 23,400 watts.
A church group, Flathead Adventist Radio Inc., filed a competing application for the channel, but it reached a settlement with the university two years ago, according to FCC documents.