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Clearfield/State College/Johnstown/Altoona, Pennsylvania
United States
Channels Digital: 15 (UHF)
Virtual: 3 (PSIP)
Subchannels 3.1 PBS
3.2 Create
3.3 World
Affiliations PBS (1970-present)
Owner The Pennsylvania State University
First air date March 1, 1965 (1965-03-01)
Call letters' meaning Pennsylvania
Former callsigns WPSX-TV (1965-2005)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
3 (VHF, 1965-2009)
Former affiliations NET (1965-1970)
Transmitter power 810 kW
Height 412.8 m
Facility ID 66219
Transmitter coordinates 41°7′20″N 78°26′29″W / 41.12222°N 78.44139°W / 41.12222; -78.44139
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wpsu.org

WPSU-TV is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member public television station for the Allegheny area of Pennsylvania that is licensed to Clearfield. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 15 from its transmitter located seven miles north of Clearfield on McGeorge Road in Lawrence Township. Licensed to the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees, as a part of Penn State Public Media, WPSU's production and broadcast facility is located at 100 Innovation Boulevard, Innovation Park, State College. It reaches some 500,000 households in west-central and central Pennsylvania and southern New York, as well as a few households in western Pennsylvania. Many rural Pennsylvanians rely on cable television in order to get any signal other than WPSU-TV. The station's signal is very strong; it is easily viewable over-the-air as far away as Warren (where WPSU is carried on local cable systems instead of Erie's WQLN, despite the Warren being a part of the Erie market), Williamsport and Bradford. The station broadcasts PBS, APTS, and independent productions, as well as original local programming, such as "Conversations from Penn State," "Conversations LIVE," "After Abbey," "Our Town," musical performances and political debates.

WPSU-FM is PSU's NPR and classical music radio station. Additionally, WKPS FM "The Lion 90.7FM" is Penn State's student radio station, while WPSE AM is its commercial radio station.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed.[1]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[2]
3.1 1080i 16:9 WPSU-HD Main WPSU-TV programming / PBS
3.2 480i 4:3 WPSU-CR Create
3.3 WPSU-WL World

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WPSU-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 3, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 15.[3] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 3.


WPSX TV broadcast the first test pattern on February 16, 1965 at 12:01 a.m. Soon after, the station began program broadcasts on March 1, 1965 when the daytime in-school program service began and continued through the end of the school year, reaching more than 90,000 elementary and secondary school students in the in-school service in less than a year.

On June 7, 1965 WPSX began night time broadcasting, and received its full license on June 17 as the 101st public television station in the United States. Within two years, it went from broadcasting only a few hours a day during the week to being on the air from 8:30 am to 11:30 pm seven days a week.

Even though it was one of the smallest public television stations in the country, WPSX was an innovator. In 1978, it partnered with several Pennsylvania cable systems to create PENNARAMA, forerunner of Pennsylvania Cable Network. In 1980, it worked with the state Department of Education to experiment with the use of videodisc in the classroom.

In 1994, WPSX merged its operations with WPSU-FM, Penn State's NPR station, to form Penn State Public Broadcasting. In the summer of 2005, it changed its call letters to WPSU-TV to match its radio sister, and moved to a new studio in the Outreach Building at Innovation Park. The WPSX callsign has been reassigned to the radio station's Kane station.

In the August of 2013, Penn State Public Broadcasting announced a name change to Penn State Public Media, WPSU to reflect expanded web and streamed content.

List of WPSU-TV's original programs[edit]



  • Dirt Track Memories
  • Making The Blue Band
  • Grange Fair: An American Tradition
  • Houses of Worship
  • Huddle Up Nittany Lion Fans
  • Legendary Lighthouses (1998) Driftwood Productions PBS
  • A Look at Autism
  • Our Town: The Kids’ Cut
  • Penn State: Access Granted
  • The Pennsylvania Game
  • Pennsylvania Inside Out
  • Raise the Song: The History of Penn State
  • Small Ball: A Little League Story
  • Surviving The Housing Crisis
  • To the Best of My Knowledge
  • What's in the News (1965?-2004)[4]
  • The WPSU-TV Alphabet Cooking Show
  • Center Court with Rene Portland
  • Outdoor Pennsylvania
  • Fred Waring's U.S. Chorus
  • Children and Autism: Time is Brain
  • Great Teachers - Making a Difference
  • Wednesday Quarterbacks/ Joe Paterno’s TV Quarterbacks (1965-?)
  • PA Energy
  • Scholastic Scrimmage (Until 2009)
  • Swift: Eyes Through Time
  • Tracks Across the Sky
  • What Matters
  • Your Health

Distributed transmission[edit]

WPSU-TV is one of the leading innovators of distributed transmission of digital television signals. They have been heavily involved with testing of new ways to distribute these signals to "difficult" reception areas and received an experimental permit from the FCC in 2003. Initial tests demonstrated that while a large UHF 15 transmitter at the location of WPSU's original low-VHF broadcast tower would encounter localised problems with terrain shielding which interfere with UHF reception in State College (and relocation of the main transmitter would have interfered with the station's ability to serve the other two communities), addition of a small (50 kW) precisely-synchronised digital TV transmitter operating in State College itself on the same frequency as the main UHF 15 signal could provide a viable improvement to digital reception.[5]

This work was to serve as the basis for a pair of ATSC standards issued in 2004 to provide design guidance for the implementation of distributed transmission systems:

  • A/110A, "Synchronization Standard for Distributed Transmission, Revision A"
  • A/111, "Design of Synchronized Multiple Transmitter Networks" [6]

These standards were later employed by other broadcasters, such as New York City's Metropolitan Television Alliance, as a starting point from which to conduct tests in 2007. This testing will be crucial to other stations throughout the country, as well as the FCC for guidelines pertaining to this type of broadcasting.


  1. ^ An article discussing WPSU's (WPSX at the time) future transition to Digital TV, as well as a concise history of innovation by the station: http://www.outreach.psu.edu/news/magazine/vol_4.1/conversion.html
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WPSU
  3. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Round" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  4. ^ An article highlighting the qualities of the show: http://www.outreach.psu.edu/news/magazine/vol_2.1/wpsx.html
  5. ^ WPSX-TV set to begin experimental DTX transmission, May 15, 2003 12:00 PM
  6. ^ ATSC distributed transmission, Broadcast Engineering, Feb 2, 2007

External links[edit]