Milwaukee Public Television
|Branding||Milwaukee Public Television|
|Slogan||Opening your world|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF), 35 (UHF)
PSIP: 10, 36
|Owner||Milwaukee Area Technical College|
|Founded||1957 (WMVS) and 1963 (WMVT)|
|Former affiliations||NET (1957-1970)|
Milwaukee Public Television is the branding name for the alliance between two Milwaukee based Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television affiliates: WMVS, Channel 10, and WMVT, Channel 36. Both stations are licensed to Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and are run out of the same studios at the college's campus in downtown Milwaukee. The group's Channel 10 Great TV Auction leads the nation's PBS auctions in prime time viewer ratings and is the #1 PBS auction in the nation, based on net revenue.
The stations are the only public television stations in Wisconsin which are not affiliated with the Madison-based Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) (that state network was created fifteen years after the founding of WMVS), although WMVT does carry some of the same Wisconsin Educational Communications Board instructional programming as WPT.
The MPTV studios are located at 1036 N. 8th Street in Milwaukee. By coincidence of the Milwaukee grid system, MPTV is located at an address which reflects the channels it broadcasts on.
The stations transmit from the MPTV Tower, located at the northern end of Humboldt Boulevard on Milwaukee's northeast side and put into service in 1999, with ownership shared by American Tower Corporation (MPTV formerly leased space on the WITI TV Tower for WMVS & WMVT from the 1960s until 1981, and then WVTV's tower until 1999). Besides transmitting WMVS and WMVT, MPTV/American Tower leases tower and transmitter space on the MPTV Tower for Sinclair Broadcasting Group duopoly WVTV/WCGV-TV (Channels 18/24), religious operation WVCY-TV (Channel 30), Ion Television's WPXE (Channel 55) and WBWT-LP (Channel 38), an analog low-power Azteca America affiliate. This provides MPTV an additional and steady source of revenue. MPTV (WMVS 10 & WMVT 36) has one of the highest viewer ratings than any other PBS network affiliate in the nation.
The two stations broadcast on Channel 8 for WMVS, and Channel 35 for WMVT and map to their former analog channel positions via PSIP, 10 and 36, respectively, with all of the digital subchannels mentioned broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Formerly until September 1, 2010, WMVS was used to provide one 1080i HD signal featuring WMVS' regular schedule, while WMVT's digital channel was used for multicasting in 480i standard definition. However with the complexities of the digital transition causing viewers to be unable to receive WMVS's VHF signal as has been a major problem in other markets, MPTV re-mapped their digital channels anew on September 1, 2010 in order to maximize their services, and to prepare for WMVT's 36.1 channel to eventually be transmitted in high definition in response to viewer demand. The main 10.1 signal was also reduced to 720p, putting it below PBS's preferred 1080i format.
Formerly, WMVS and WMVT were unique in American television for not providing a digital simulcast of the schedule for their analog channels, and the channels were transposed, with the multi-cast carried over WMVS's Channel 8, and the HD signal featuring Channel 10's programming (which until 2007 only featured PBS's basic HD schedule with oft-repeated programming) on Channel 35, WMVT's digital slot; this was done in order to give MPTV's main signal the best possible coverage area with low interference, as WMVS-DT Channel 8 shared a frequency with the analog Channel 8 signal of NBC affiliate WOOD-TV across Lake Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. WOOD-TV's analog signal propagated easily across the wide body of water and was sometimes receivable clearly in the lakeshore communities of Port Washington and Sheboygan. WOOD-TV likewise placed translator stations in Muskegon and Holland to avert cross-lake interference from WMVS-DT and to provide extended analog service for those communities. The issues between WOOD-TV and WMVS remained until the transition date of June 12, 2009, when WOOD-TV signed off their analog channel 8 to broadcast exclusively over digital channel 7.
The simulcast situation was rectified on September 1, 2008, with both stations launching a simulcast of both channels on digital and analog ahead of the original February 17, 2009 digital switchover date and beginning broadcasts on their own stations. At that time, MPTV's PBS Kids channel, which formerly aired on 10.3, was discontinued due to PBS ending the PBS Kids Channel service to focus more on the cable-only PBS Kids Sprout, and WMVS' 5am-6pm weekday schedule shifted to all children's programming to compensate. To assuage viewers in one of the show's most popular markets, MPTV promised to continue to carry Mister Rogers' Neighborhood weekdays at noon despite PBS ending national transmission of the program on a five-day-a-week basis; this ended in late January 2010 with a sharp increase in program rights payments for the series by the distributor of the series and now the program only airs on Sunday mornings.
Due to the bandwidth required for subchannels, and budget concerns, WMVT's main 36.1 signal was left in standard definition until February 7, 2011, when 36.1 was converted to high definition.
A secondary translator station for WMVS broadcasting on RF Channel 36 was launched on August 14, 2012, transmitting from the MPTV Tower to better serve the main portion of WMVS's service area with UHF-only antennas. Also planned is a boost in power of the main WMVS signal courtesy of a Public Telecommunications Facilities Program award. The Channel 36 translator relays all four signals on WMVS, and to allow differentiation between the 8 and 36 channels and reduced confusion, the PSIP info adds a 1 before the subchannel designation, thus the 36 translator airs virtual channels 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, and 10.14.
After the DTV Delay Act, MPTV, along with Milwaukee's other Big Four commercial stations and two other smaller stations, decided to convert on the new date of June 12, 2009 instead. This occurred at 9am on that date with an airing of the station's inaugural introduction and a final playing of the national anthem, then a final display of the Indian Head test card and test tone before both stations signed off their analog service.
|Channel 10's traditional schedule in 720p high definition, with blue pillarboxing and PBS's default satellite schedule carried overnights
An SD simulcast on 36.2 was added in September 2010 in order for antenna viewers with problems receiving VHF channel 8 to view WMVS programming in some manner; it is carried with forced framing to letterboxing on standard 4:3 sets.
|MPTV World||Features PBS's news and public affairs programming, along with government hearings and presidential speeches and some local government programming.|
|MPTV V-me||Spanish language public television network, no local deviation.|
|MPTV Weather||A customized version of The Local AccuWeather Channel which does not feature AccuWeather's national forecast segments or advertising and is completely focused on looping mapping and temperature data without any meteorologist-presented forecasting, and audio from local NOAA Weather Radio station KEC60. Until September 2010, it featured weather conditions imagery from the National Weather Service and Doppler weather radar from the Sullivan, Wisconsin office (mainly video stills and looping GIF images) from satellite imagery.|
|Channel 36's traditional schedule in 720p high definition, with green pillarboxing.|
|36.3¹||MPTV Create||Home and garden instructional television programming, no local deviation.|
|36.4²||MPTV Classical||Audio from WFMT Chicago's Beethoven Satellite Network, with visual title/artist information.|
|36.5||MPTV Jazz||Audio from WFMT's Jazz Satellite Network, with visual title/artist information.|
|36.6||MPTV Traffic||A loop of WISDOT's Milwaukee traffic camera network, with audio from their traffic information radio station, WPTJ444/WPZK577 1610AM.|
- ¹ - Create also airs overnights on WMVT after 1am or 3am until 6am, depending on if the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board is broadcasting instructional programming via Wisconsin Public Television.
- ² - BSN was used as the second audio program on WMVT's analog channel during programming without DVS or alternate language tracks.
- ³ - KEC60 was used as the second audio program on WMVS' analog channel during programming without DVS or alternate language tracks.
MPTV, as part of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, also provides the student television station facility and production support for the Television and Video Production Division at MATC. TVP, formerly known as 'Telecasting', predates the stations and has produced several hundred broadcast video professionals over the years.
The 2 year program is unique in Wisconsin's technical college system, as well as nationwide. Stations licensed directly to a college are fairly rare in the PBS system, especially in larger markets, and even fewer are attached to a technical/2 year college. As a result, students in the division enroll from all over the state. The student population also tends to include out of state students as well as international students. As such, one of the major goals of a TVP student during their time at MATC/MPTV is to produce a program of educational television or entertaining interest to air during the organization's Student Operations Day, which occurs on a Saturday in late April or early May, where student programs air on WMVT throughout the broadcast day.
- Milwaukee Public Television Official Website
- MPTV Channel 10 Great TV Auction Website
- American Tower Corp. page on MPTV Tower
- History of Milwaukee television