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WYES-TV Logo.svg
New Orleans, Louisiana
United States
Branding WYES
Slogan Your Public Television Station in New Orleans
Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Subchannels 12.1 PBS
12.2 Kids & World
12.3 Create
Affiliations PBS
Kids/World (DT2)
Create (DT3)
Owner Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation
First air date April 1, 1957 (1957-04-01)
Call letters' meaning The word "yes"
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1957–1970)
12 (VHF, 1970–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1957–1970)
Transmitter power 70.8 kW
Height 306 m
Facility ID 25090
Transmitter coordinates 29°57′15.1″N 89°56′59.3″W / 29.954194°N 89.949806°W / 29.954194; -89.949806
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wyes.org

WYES-TV, virtual channel 12 (VHF digital channel 11), is a PBS member television station located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by the Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation. WYES maintains studio facilities located on Navarre Avenue in the city's Navarre neighborhood, and its transmitter is located on Paris Road/Highway 47 in Chalmette.

WYES is the only independently owned public television station in Louisiana as it is not part of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, which owns all of the PBS member stations in the state that are located outside of New Orleans. The station is also available on cable providers in Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, despite the presence of Mississippi Public Broadcasting satellite WMAH-TV.


WYES traces its history to 1953, when a group of civic leaders formed the Greater New Orleans Educational Television Association. The Federal Communications Commission had assigned the VHF channel 8 allocation in the New Orleans market for non-commercial use, and the group quickly snapped up the license.

WYES-TV's previous logo, used from 1975 to 2001.
Alternate version of WYES's logo, used from 2001 to 2008.

After numerous fits and starts, the station first signed on the air April 1, 1957; WYES was the 12th educational television station to sign on in the United States and the first in Louisiana. 18 years before Louisiana Public Broadcasting flagship WLPB-TV in Baton Rouge, which signed on in September 1975). It originally operated as a member of National Educational Television; the station joined the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), when NET was reorganized in 1970. On June 8 of that year at 8:00 p.m., the station swapped channel positions with ABC affiliate WVUE (now a Fox affiliate) and moved to channel 12, where the station remains today as its virtual channel. This was done in order for WVUE to be able to have a stronger broadcast signal which did not interfere with Jackson, Mississippi CBS affiliate WJTV, which also broadcasts on channel 12.[1]

WYES is best known outside of New Orleans as the home of famous Louisiana chef and storyteller Justin Wilson, whose show originated from WYES's studios. It is also known as the home for another famous Louisiana chef, Paul Prudhomme.

On July 8, 1984, The Willwoods Community signed on WLAE-TV on channel 32, as a secondary PBS member station for the market. Through PBS' Program Differentiation Plan, WLAE carried only 25% of the programming broadcast by PBS, with channel 12 carrying the remainder of the network's programs. WYES became the market's exclusive PBS member once again on August 1, 2013, when WLAE ended its membership with the network to increase its focus on its locally produced programming.[2][3] Among the PBS shows that WLAE had carried prior to leaving PBS were Sesame Street, which was shared between it and WYES, and the PBS NewsHour, whose removal from channel 32 resulted in the news program only being available in the market through WYES's World subchannel on digital channel 12.2 until it was added to that station's primary channel the following month on September 2; the program had aired on WLAE under a longstanding arrangement with WYES.[2][3]

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

Sign in front of WYES' New Orleans studio building, with visible high water lines from Katrina's earlier flooding.

Due to massive flooding caused by the levee failures that occurred during Hurricane Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005, WYES' original Navarre Avenue studio facility, which was built in 1957, sustained severe damage from flood waters of up to five feet;[4] the Navarre neighborhood is located in a low-lying area that sustained particularly severe damage due to flooding. The station's transmitters were spared serious damage, but the storm damaged a backup generator that provided emergency power to the transmitter facility, keeping the station off the air for almost four months.

Following Katrina, WYES began carrying the feed of Louisiana Public Broadcasting in November 2005 on local cable providers including Cox Communications and Charter Communications. WYES restored its broadcast signal on December 30, operating from a temporary facility located on Veterans Boulevard and Phosphor Avenue in Metairie.

In May 2011, WYES began construction of a new 20,000 square foot broadcast facility located behind the original building that cost $7 million to build (with funding for its construction coming from multiple sources, including funds raised during since-aborted plans for an unrelated facility, to have been known as the "Teleplex", that was planned to be built in the 1990s on the campus of the University of New Orleans); the facility was constructed in two phases: with a building that houses the station's technical equipment being built first, followed by another complex that would replace the existing facility, which would house other operations.[4] The auction department moved back to the original Navarre Avenue facility in 2012, with the rest of the station's operations following suit later that year.[5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming[6]
12.1 720p 16:9 WYES-HD Main WYES programming / PBS
12.2 480i 4:3 WYESSD1 WYES Kids / World
12.3 WYESSD2 Create

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WYES-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, 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 VHF channel 11.[7] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 12.


  1. ^ WYES, WVUE Stations Switch Channel Numbers, The Times-Picayune, June 10, 1970.
  2. ^ a b "New Orleans PDP station WLAE ends PBS membership". Current. August 2, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Walker, Dave (July 29, 2013). "'NewsHour,' 'Charlie Rose' viewers will scramble as WLAE drops PBS affiliation". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "WYES-TV (finally) breaks ground on new headquarters". The Times-Picayune. June 23, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ WYES contact information
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WYES
  7. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links[edit]