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BrandingWCTE Central TN PBS
Affiliations22.1: PBS
22.2: World
22.3: Create
22.4: PBS Kids
OwnerUpper Cumberland Broadcast Council
First air date
August 21, 1978 (43 years ago) (1978-08-21)
Former channel number(s)
22 (UHF, 1978–2009)
52 (UHF, 2004–2009)
Call sign meaning
Cookeville Tennessee Educational
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID69479
ERP200 kW
HAAT425 m (1,394 ft)
Transmitter coordinates36°10′26″N 85°20′37″W / 36.17389°N 85.34361°W / 36.17389; -85.34361
Public license information

WCTE (channel 22) is a PBS member television station in Cookeville, Tennessee, United States, serving the Upper Cumberland region. Owned by the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council, the station originally had studios on the campus of Tennessee Technological University within the west-side stadium construction of Tucker Stadium; after an extensive relocation effort, the studios are now located on East Broad Street in downtown Cookeville, adjacent to the Putnam County courthouse.[1] Its transmitter is located northwest of Monterey, Tennessee. Although Cookeville is part of the Nashville market, the station also serves the western fringe of the Knoxville market.


WCTE's Logo used from 2004 until 2020. Different variations of this logo would be used in between those times.

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 a 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 much of Middle Tennessee and in some adjoining parts of South Central Kentucky.

Technical information[edit]


The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[2]
22.1 1080i 16:9 WCTE-DT Main WCTE programming / PBS
22.2 480i World World
22.3 4:3 Create Create
22.4 16:9 Kids PBS Kids

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCTE shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 52, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its former analog-era UHF channel 22.[3]


  1. ^ Adams, Bobby. "About Us". WCTE. WCTE. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  2. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCTE
  3. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.

External links[edit]