New enhanced signal means greater coverage for KGCS station

The expanded viewing area for KGCS extends to Carthage and Neosho.

The expanded viewing area for KGCS extends to Carthage and Neosho.

Amye Buckley

Digital television broadcasts from the Missouri Southern campus now reach past the city of Joplin into the surrounding area.

For years viewers, especially St. Louis Cardinals’ fans, have asked if KGCS could expand its coverage. Now Judy Stiles, KGCS general manager, has her answer as KGCS began testing its digital station, channel 22, on Sept. 16.

“It gives the University a much larger reach into the community,” Stiles said.

The boosted signal will reach from Carthage to Neosho and across into Pittsburg, Kan. The change comes as part of the federally mandated switch for all television stations from analog to digital broadcast signals.

“We’re ahead of the curve on the digital TV transition with this change,” Stiles said. “Full-power television stations are required to make the full switch to digital broadcasts in February, and they are already sending out digital signals.”

The new signal can be picked up with a digital receiver or by installing a digital converter box. The station’s cable feed will not change. Stiles said having a licensed broadcasting station is rare in any institution of higher education; many schools depend on local cable to host their programming.

She says working at a ‘real’ station offers benefits to students, especially those who make broadcasting their major.

“Our primary mission is to help train students in mass communication and media,” Stiles said.

Daytime programming on KGCS is a mix of old movies, television classics, lifestyle, sportsman style and educational programming.

But some nights of the week feature shows produced on campus: “Newsmakers” and “Southern Sports Sunday.” More student programming is in the works. Stiles received proposals this fall for another sports show, a news broadcast and an entertainment program.

The larger service area may spur even more student-produced programming.

“I am hopeful it will encourage a lot more students to develop shows knowing they can reach a lot more people,” Stiles said.

For now, viewers can still tune in to channel 57, the old analog station. Stiles expects more people to realize the change after the testing phase is complete and KGCS migrates to channel 22. Stiles anticipates no other technical glitches and says she is pleased to offer MSSU programming to a larger audience.

Funding for the transition came from the Ruth I. Kolpin Foundation. The television studios were renamed in her honor.