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WDSE 2010 Logo.png
WDSE: Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin
WRPT: Hibbing, Minnesota
United States
City WDSE: Duluth, Minnesota
WRPT: Hibbing, Minnesota
Branding PBS 8/31
Channels Digital:
WRPT: 31 (UHF)
Subchannels xx.1 PBS/WPT HD
xx.2 PBS Satellite
xx.3 Create
xx.4 Minnesota Channel
Affiliations PBS (1970–present)
Owner Duluth-Superior Area Educational Television Corporation
First air date WDSE: September 1, 1964 (54 years ago) (1964-09-01)
WRPT: December 27, 2008 (9 years ago) (2008-12-27)
Call letters' meaning WDSE: Duluth-Superior Educational
WRPT: Iron Range Public Television
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1964–2009)
38 (UHF, 2003–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1964–1970)
Transmitter power WDSE:
34 kW
250 kW
Height WDSE:
295 m (968 ft)
167 m (548 ft)
Facility ID WDSE: 17726
WRPT: 159007
Transmitter coordinates WDSE:
46°47′30″N 92°7′19.9″W / 46.79167°N 92.122194°W / 46.79167; -92.122194
47°22′53.1″N 92°57′15.7″W / 47.381417°N 92.954361°W / 47.381417; -92.954361 (WRPT)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: / WRPT Profile
Website www.wdse.org

WDSE is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Duluth, Minnesota, United States, serving northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 (also the station's virtual channel via PSIP) from a transmitter west of downtown Duluth in Hilltop Park. Owned by the Duluth-Superior Area Educational Television Corporation, the station has studios located on rented space at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

WDSE also operates satellite station WRPT, virtual and UHF digital channel 31 in Hibbing, Minnesota, to serve the Minnesota Iron Range communities.


WDSE first went on the air on September 1, 1964 as the second educational station in Minnesota. The founding general manager was George Beck, former principal of Duluth Central High School, who had led the campaign for educational television in the Twin Ports for over a decade.

The station originally operated from the Bradley Building in downtown Duluth. When the building was condemned to make room for Interstate 35, UMD offered the station space on campus for a new studio. WDSE moved to its current facility in 1978. It is named the Sax Brothers Memorial Communications Center in honor of the brothers of Duluth physician Milton Sax, who gave the initial $200,000 bequest for the project.

In November 1982, WDSE was the first Minnesota television broadcaster to utilize a circularly polarized broadcast antenna, and in April 1985 it was the first in Minnesota to begin full-time stereo television broadcasting. Its digital signal first went on the air on April 28, 2003, and in May 2003, WDSE became the first broadcaster in Minnesota to launch a channel, 8.2 PBS-HD, fully devoted to high-definition programming. In June 2008, WDSE became the first station in the Duluth-Superior market to begin producing local programming in high definition. WDSE/WRPT was the first station in the Duluth-Superior market to begin broadcasting in 5.1 Dolby surround sound starting June 12, 2009. On June 16, 2009, WDSE-TV/DT officially changed the station's call sign to simply WDSE, dropping the "TV" or "DT" at the end of the call sign.

WDSE's former logo until September 2010.

WRPT began broadcasting December 27, 2008 utilizing a directional antenna that beams the signal across the Minnesota Iron Range communities. It was one of the first of two construction permits ever granted by the FCC as a "digital singleton" facility; WRPT is a rare ground-up digital only station that had no analog counterpart. On March 1, 2010, WRPT-DT officially changed the station's call sign to simply WRPT dropping the "DT" at the end of the call sign.

In late August 2010, WDSE was rebranded from PBS eight to PBS North to reflect their extended coverage with WRPT into more of northeastern Minnesota.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Both stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
720p 16:9 WDSE-DT
Main programming / PBS
480i PBS West PBS Satellite Service
Create Create
MNC Minnesota Channel

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WDSE discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[2] The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 38 to VHF channel 8.

Translator stations[edit]

The translator in Orr is owned by a private entity, while the other two are owned by Koochiching County. The last translator owned directly by WDSE was K67CT in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Rather than move from channel 67 to a channel between 2 and 51 as required to comply with the digital television transition in the United States, the translator was taken off the air December 1, 2011.[3]


Along with programming from PBS, Minnesota Public Television and Wisconsin Public Television, locally produced programs such as Minnesota Legislative Report, WDSE Cooks, Almanac North, Venture North, Native Report, Great Gardening, Lawyers on the Line, and Doctors on Call are area favorites included in the broadcast schedule. WDSE produces, broadcasts, and supplies to the networks an intensive schedule of local and regional programming.

During the school year, WDSE airs educational/instructional programming from Wisconsin Public TV from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. during daytime hours, and the overnight "block feed" for pre-recording purposes from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.

In addition to regular television programming, WDSE broadcasts computer data on a full-time basis, a service called "datacasting." The stream consists of Datacast Wisconsin, a service of Wisconsin Public Television. One Mbps of WDSE's 19.3 Mbps digital stream is devoted to Datacast Wisconsin.


  1. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WDSE
  2. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  3. ^ "Grand Marais Translator Service Ends 12/1". WDSE • WRPT - PBS 8 & 31. Retrieved 1 December 2011.

External links[edit]