The president and CEO of PBS came to Fort Wayne on Friday to help start a $2.5 million fundraising drive that’s intended to extend the broadcast reach and capability of WFWA, Channel 39.
Paula Kerger said that even with hundreds of channels of commercial offerings available, public television still has a realm of expertise unchallenged by commercial operations: “to document our collective culture and our collective history.”
Bruce Haines, the general manager of WFWA, said the $2.5 million would be used in three areas:
*About $1.8 million would be used to upgrade its master control equipment and editing and studio facilities.
*About $400,000 would be used to buy a new transmitter and increase its signal strength from 90,000 watts to 153,000 watts. This would both improve signal quality and enlarge its coverage area enough to reach 50,000 more households, Haines said.
*About $285,000 would be used to buy equipment needed to do remote broadcasts.
Increasing the station's ability to produce broadcasts from other locations could help WFWA – and the community – begin to explore all that having three other digital broadcast frequencies available could do. For now, most of the programming on 39.2, 39.3 and 39.4 is national PBS programming. The core station programming is on 39.1.
Haines said he envisions broadcasting more musical performances, educational programming and, especially, college and high school sports broadcasts.