Damage to Pioneer PBS facilities takes station off air

Print More

Pioneer PBS

Pioneer PBS' headquarters in Granite Falls, Minn.

Pioneer PBS in Granite Falls, Minn., is working to restore over-the-air service after a construction accident damaged its broadcast infrastructure.

A construction crew working near a Pioneer PBS tower recently severed power and fiber optic lines, knocking out the station’s broadcast service. In a news release Tuesday, Pioneer PBS said it is “working diligently to resolve the issue” so that it can “get back on the air as soon as possible.” It has ordered replacement fiber and “cannot reasonably forecast a completion timeline,” the release said.

Pioneer PBS is asking that viewers continue streaming its programs through platforms like PBS Passport and YouTube TV. The station primarily serves southwest and west-central Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, eastern South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota.

“The board of directors has pledged to do everything it takes to ensure the continuation of local public broadcasting services to the entire region that Pioneer PBS serves,” said Board Chair Mark Olson in the release. “We appreciate our members’ and donors’ financial support, and we are working hard to rebuild Pioneer PBS into an even stronger station than before this horrific incident.”

The news release noted that before the fiber damage, Pioneer PBS had made several major investments in the past year to upgrade its technology and complete a move of its master control to Granite Falls.

“Despite aging infrastructure, Pioneer PBS maintained services to most communities during other upgrades,” the release said. “However, this incident requires Pioneer PBS to rebuild its foundational infrastructure. This is a major investment for Pioneer PBS, in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars range.”

In the release, GM Shari Lamke said Pioneer PBS “will need the region’s continued support as it works to keep the station’s services and programs growing into the future.”

The station said “the severity of this damage and repair costs” has affected staffing. “The board of directors and the general manager are managing the impact while being responsible stewards of public and donor financial support,” the release said. Station leaders did not respond to Current’s request for additional details. 

For viewers who do not have reliable online access to Pioneer PBS programming, the station said it “is trying to organize community engagement opportunities to bring people together to view their favorite shows.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *