FAIRBANKS, ALASKA: The flagship PBS station serving Greater Alaska is back on the air after replacement of its transmitter and the addition of a 140-foot, 10,000-pound antenna. KUAC-TV went off the air last week to do the upgrades and didn’t expect to be broadcasting again until Friday. The station elected to move from UHF Ch. 24 to VHF Ch 9 after a significant number ofviewers lost its signal following the digital transition, local reports say.
The installation cost the station $1.1 million, driving it to borrow $400,000. The station had to cut one-third of its staff in June because of a $450,000 budget deficit, the Daily News-Miner said. The workforce was reduced from 28 to 19, and some original programming and children’s shows were scrapped to save money. The rechannelization project had started by that time.
The News-Miner said moving the signal fixed reception problems for many people in outlying areas that initially lost it. The job was completed a couple of days early due to “ideal weather and an efficient work crew,” the KUAC engineer told the newspaper.
More on KUAC-TV:
September 15, 2009: “Alaska PBS Goes Dark During $1.1 Million Upgrade”
KUAC disappeared for many regular viewers after the June 12 DTV transition. The upgrades are intended to correct the reception situation.
June 30, 2009: “Alaska PBS Station Cuts Local Programming”
The public broadcaster’s fortunes have been slipping for years, according to the Miner coverage. KUAC drained its savings two years ago covering budget shortfalls. The current cuts are expected to bring it back to black, though it will have some more DTV transition expenses to cover.
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