Most Boone County television viewers without a cable connection have been limited to the three major networks. But beginning in May, they’ll be able to tune in to the local Fox affiliate.
JW Broadcasting LLC announced Tuesday that a transmitter upgrade recently approved by the Federal Communications Commission will increase substantially the number of households that can receive KQFX/Channel 11. The upgrade comes in the wake of the company’s plans to construct an addition to its transmission tower in Ashland.
The new tower will increase KQFX’s transmitter power to 150,000 watts. The station, also known as Fox 11, transmits at 143 watts in Columbia and 15 watts in Jefferson City.
“Fox 11 is primarily a cable channel right now,” said Michelle Linn, the station’s director of promotions and public relations. “It can be a challenge to receive Fox 11 over the air. Now, virtually everyone will be able to receive it.”
As part of the filing with the FCC, KQFX will move to Channel 38 and be known as Fox 38. Once construction on the tower is complete, the new station expects to reach the entire population of the market, 227,000 people. Currently, 96,000 people are within range of the station’s signal.
Arizona-based JW Broadcasting also owns KMIZ/Channel 17, which transmits at 1.5 million watts, and KZOU, the local UPN affiliate that is available to cable subscribers on Channel 28. Linn said JW Broadcasting, which also owns the Show-Me Weather Channel, hopes to upgrade KZOU’s transmitter power in the future.
“We’re very proud of the progress our stations are making in Central Missouri, and the upgrade to KQFX’s signal will allow us to better serve the community, our viewers, and clients,” said David Joseph, partner with JW Broadcasting, in a press release. “We will continue to aggressively upgrade all of our stations so they can provide the highest quality products available.”
The transmitter upgrade will increase Fox 11’s competitiveness in the local television market. KOMU/Channel 8, which transmits at 316,000 watts, reaches 160,000 households over the air, meaning it doesn’t require a cable connection. KRCG/Channel 13, which also transmits at 316,000 watts, can reach 309,000 households in 14 counties. Both stations operate at a lower frequency and therefore require less power than KMIZ.
Betsy Farris, vice president and general manager of KRCG, said she doesn’t expect the new KQFX to affect her station’s advertising revenue. Fox 11 already competes in the local market, she said.