|WHYY: Wilmington, Delaware/
WDPB: Seaford, Delaware
|Slogan||Wider Horizons Know WHYY|
WHYY: 12 (VHF)
WDPB: 44 (UHF)
WHYY: 12 (PSIP)
WDPB: 64 (PSIP)
|First air date||WHYY: September 2, 1957
WDPB: December 4, 1981
|Call letters' meaning||
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
35 (UHF, 1957-1963)
12 (VHF, 1963-2009)
64 (UHF, 1981-2009)
50 (UHF, 1999-2009)
|Former affiliations||NET (1957-1970)|
|Transmitter power||WHYY: 20 kW
WDPB: 98 kW
|Height||WHYY: 259 m
WDPB: 196 m
|Facility ID||WHYY: 72338
WHYY-TV, channel 12, is a non-commercial educational television station licensed to Wilmington, Delaware, USA. WHYY-TV is the flagship Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member station for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania television market, and has its main studio and office facility co-located with sister station WHYY-FM (90.9 MHz) on Independence Mall in Center City Philadelphia. WHYY-TV also operates a secondary studio in Wilmington. Both stations share a transmitter, which is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
WHYY-TV signed on for the first time on September 2, 1957, on channel 35. It was the 23rd non-commercial educational television station in the country, and the second in Pennsylvania (WQED-TV in Pittsburgh had signed on three years earlier). It was owned by Metropolitan Philadelphia Educational Radio and Television Corporation. It broadcast from a studio on Chestnut Street in Center City, which had previously been home to WCAU-TV (channel 10).
The station found the going difficult at first, in part because television sets were not required to have UHF tuning capability. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission had collapsed most of Delaware, the Lehigh Valley and the Jersey Shore into the Philadelphia market, and the channel 35 transmitter was not nearly strong enough to serve this large area.
Then, in 1958, WVUE, a channel 12 station in Wilmington which had lost its NBC affiliation and then struggled as an independent, went off the air. WHYY's owners applied for the vacant channel 12, which was the nearest available VHF allocation to Philadelphia. The FCC granted WHYY's request to move the station to channel 12 in 1963, and WHYY signed on channel 12 for the first time on September 12. It operated from WVUE's old tower in Glassboro, New Jersey.
As part of an agreement with Delaware officials and the FCC, WHYY-TV also opened a studio in Wilmington, and began producing a newscast focused on Delaware issues, Delaware Tonight. Although it is licensed in Wilmington, WHYY is still a Philadelphia station for all intents and purposes; to this day it identifies as "Wilmington/Philadelphia" on-air. A similar situation exists in New York City; its flagship PBS station, WNET is licensed to Newark, New Jersey.
Later in 1963, WHYY moved its main studio in Philadelphia to the former home of WFIL-TV (channel 6, now WPVI-TV) on 46th and Market streets. In 1971, WHYY-TV moved its transmitter to the Roxborough tower farm, home to most of Philadelphia's television stations. The new tower provides at least grade B coverage as far west as Lancaster; as far south as Dover, Delaware and as far north as New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1979, channel 12 moved to its current home on Independence Mall, first in the old Living History Center museum and theatre (which was also used for Nickelodeon game shows such as Double Dare and the Bill Cosby revival of You Bet Your Life) before it was transformed into their current building in 1999 as part of the redevelopment of the Independence Mall area.
In 1984, WHYY bought WDPB and turned it into a full-time satellite of channel 12. WDPB had signed on in 1981.
Controversy erupted in the Summer of 2007 when station CEO Bill Marrazzo was cited by the watchdog group Charity Navigator as the highest paid CEO in all of public broadcasting.
Frustrated by a perceived lack of local coverage, in December 2009 the city of Wilmington filed a challenge to WHYY's license with the FCC.
WHYY-TV presents four regular TV series for PBS stations:
- Christina Cooks
- Flavors of America with Chef Jim Coleman
- Flicks: A weekly three-minute program hosted by film critic Patrick Stoner featuring reviews of the latest films released in theaters, plus interviews with the stars.
- Daring to Resist (2000) PBS
- Scenes from Modern Life (2002) PBS
- Creative Campus: Art and culture program focusing on Greater Philadelphia's colleges and universities
- Experience: Art and culture program
- First: Weekly 30-minute news magazine focused on the state of Delaware; replaced Delaware Tonight, which aired nightly from the WHYY Delaware Broadcast Center in Wilmington.
- Friday Arts: Monthly Art and culture program
- On Canvas: Program that spotlights Philadelphia's cultural and ethnic heritage
WHYY receives grants from the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania. Government grants are not underwriting grants and are not used to produce individual programs. Government grants help to ensure service to constituents. Some people believe this program is produced with funding from the state of Delaware, raising conflict of interest issues about the programs ability to report independently on state government and current officeholders. The historical review of the programs confirms that this concern is invalid.
Its digital broadcast signal is at a low enough power that even those who live in various areas of the City of Philadelphia cannot get it reliably. WHYY-DT broadcast on digital channel 50 before June 12, 2009, and channel 12 after. The problems with VHF digital broadcasts have prevented many people from seeing the WHYY-DT signal even after the transition.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||WHYY||Main WHYY-TV programming / PBS|
|12.3||Y Info||PBS World|
- Fernandez, Bob (2009-06-17). "FCC Steps in to Fix Philadelphia Digital TV Problems". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-06-24.[dead link]
- WHYY website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WHYY
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDPB
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WHYY-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDPB-TV
- Philadelphia City Paper
- Philadelphia Magazine