Local Christian broadcasting station KPLE-TV has plans to grow and expand its coverage area to reach more viewers in Central Texas.

KPLE currently reaches a 40-mile radius from its studio on Elms Road in Killeen. Catherine Mason, general manager, hopes to expand at least another 10 to 20 miles.

KPLE first went on the air in 1993.

“We have been on for 20 years pumping out Christian broadcasting,” she said. “It’s strictly faith-based programs.”

Mason worked for PBS in Killeen in the 1970s and ’80s, handling special projects and children’s programming. A lack of local Christian programming inspired her to start KPLE.

“I was mad because I couldn’t get Christian broadcasting in my home, and so I just found out how to create the station,” she said. “I never had the desire to before, but it’s a God thing, and we took it step by step to get what we have today.”

FCC construction permit

Steve Coffino, chief engineer, said the station received its Federal Communications Commission construction permit for the expansion project about a month ago. They have three years to complete construction.

“We want to expand to the maximum power allowed by the FCC for low-powered stations,” he said.

The station currently puts out 9.3 kilowatts of effective radiated power.“When we replace the antenna, then we will be at 15 kW, which is the maximum we are allowed to do,” Coffino said. “So we are raising money to replace the antenna.”

Stronger signal

The expansion will allow viewers as far north as McGregor and as far south as Georgetown to pick up the KPLE signal.

“People who are on the edge of our signal may be able to pick us up some times of the day or the picture may freeze from the weak signal, but this expansion will give them a strong signal,” Coffino said.

KPLE is working on expansion plans with a consulting engineer from Virginia. The cost of the project is estimated to be about $30,000. Fundraisers have helped fund the upgrades and expansion.

Coffino said their goal is to spread the gospel as far as possible. “If we can get to Austin, then we would love to be able to do that, but we would have to have a taller tower,” he said.

Mason tried once before to expand KPLE’s broadcast signal but encountered interference from another station. However, that station has since moved from the area, she said.

Valerie Cocke, creative services director who has been with KPLE for 12 years, is excited about the expansion.

“It’s going to be great,” she said. “We are a nonprofit community service station, so the more we can reach, the better off everyone is. We do think about what is good for our community.”

KPLE is on cable channel 45 and digital channel 31. The station includes a variety of Christian programming and has hosted shows that teach viewers about parenting and abortion, Cocke said. She also has plans for a program to help veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Power of a prayer does everything for us,” she said.

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