KOTI turns 60

Klamath Falls, Ore. – 2016 marks the 60th birthday of KOTI/NBC2.

Don Stonehill was with KOTI when the station went ‘live’ on August 12th, 1956…

“And I recall the opportunity, being able to say ‘Welcome to the broadcast.”

Owner Patsy Smullin’s father William Smullin believed in the future of television, and in the future of Klamath Falls.

“He wanted to, for that area to have a television station, with free over the air broadcasting.”  Notes Patsy Smullin.  “And that’s still the commitment.”

The first station was built on a former military barracks at what was then known as ‘Oregon Technical Institute.”

Don Stonehill explains how that led to the station’s call letters:  “It only made sense to everybody involved that we would use the letters of Oregon Technical Institute, or ‘OTI’ to make it ‘KOTI’.”

A building at 239 Main Street served as home to KOTI for 31 years, until a move was made in 1987 to the current studios at 7th and Klamath Avenue.

Engineer Scott McMahon helped move the main transmitter from Plum Hill to Stukel Mountain…

“So I was up there from the ground up, building the building, installing the transmitter, and wiring it all up, putting up the tower.”

Other big changes involved the switch to color – to stereo sound – and to high definition digital broadcasting.

“I see the future as continuing to respond to whatever the viewers want.”  States Patsy Smullin.  “That’s how we stayed in business.”

Don Stonehill adds that KOTI/NBC2 is still going strong…

“I think so many people in the Klamath Falls area need to be justly proud of KOTI and the Smullin family for all of the things they have done for the community.”

KOTI’s first full day of broadcasting included coverage of the 1956 Democratic national convention from Chicago, KOTI covered the Republican national convention from San Francisco the following week.

© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

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