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WCTE Cookeville.png
Cookeville, Tennessee
Branding WCTE
Slogan Upper Cumberland Public Television
Channels Digital: 22 (UHF)
Affiliations PBS
Owner Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council
First air date August 21, 1978; 36 years ago (1978-08-21)
Call letters' meaning Cookeville
Former channel number(s) Analog:
22 (1978-2009)
52 (2004-2009)
Transmitter power 200 kW
Height 425 m
Facility ID 69479
Transmitter coordinates 36°10′26″N 85°20′37″W / 36.17389°N 85.34361°W / 36.17389; -85.34361
Website www.wcte.org/

WCTE is a PBS member television station serving the north central counties of Tennessee, the so-called "Upper Cumberland" region. The station is licensed to the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council; studios are located on the campus of Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, its city of license. Although Cookeville is located in the Nashville market, the station also serves the western fringe of the Knoxville market. It broadcasts digitally on UHF channel 22, the frequency where its analog signal was located.


WCTE first signed on the air on August 21, 1978. It was the last in a series of stations launched by the Tennessee Department of Education over an 12-year period, finally bringing public television to the last remaining part of the state that previously had little or no access to it. Some of the western parts of the viewing area could pick up the signal of Nashville's WDCN (now WNPT) when it broadcast on channel 2 from 1962 to 1973, but WDCN's move to the weaker channel 8 in 1973 left most of the territory without PBS service for five years.

In 1984, the state relinquished WCTE and its other stations to community boards, such as the UCBC.

The station, like its former sister stations WLJT, WSJK (now known as WETP) and WTCI, emphasizes programming of local interest in addition to carrying a full schedule of PBS programs. The community programming is particularly important because, being a rural, relatively isolated area, the Upper Cumberlands gets little or no coverage from commercial broadcasters in Nashville or Knoxville, the two major media markets nearest the area.

For some time after the DTV transition in 2009, WCTE broadcast with an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 57 kW with an antenna height of 412 meters. Then, a transmitter and antenna upgrade early in 2011 increased ERP to 200 kW with an antenna height of 425 meters.

WCTE's over-the-air (OTA) signal is receivable in central Tennessee and in some adjoining parts of southern central Kentucky.

Newscast Titles[edit]

  • Upper Cumberland Tonight (1980s-1990s)

Digital television[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed.

Channel Video Aspect Programming
22.1 1080i 16:9 Main WCTE programming/PBS
22.2 480i 4:3 World
xx.3 Create

External links[edit]