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WHUT Television 2017.png
Washington, D.C.
United States
ChannelsDigital: 33 (UHF)
Virtual: 32 (PSIP)
Subchannels32.1 WHUT-HD
32.2 WHUT-SD
Affiliations32.1 PBS
32.2 PBS Kids
OwnerHoward University
First air dateSeptember 29, 1980 (39 years ago) (1980-09-29)
Call letters' meaningHoward
Sister station(s)WHUR-FM
Former callsignsWHMM-TV (1980–1998)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
32 (UHF, 1980–2009)
Transmitter power100 kW
265 kW (application)
Height254 m (833 ft)
Facility ID27772
Transmitter coordinates38°57′1″N 77°4′46″W / 38.95028°N 77.07944°W / 38.95028; -77.07944Coordinates: 38°57′1″N 77°4′46″W / 38.95028°N 77.07944°W / 38.95028; -77.07944
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WHUT-TV, virtual channel 32 (UHF digital channel 33), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by Howard University, a historically black college, and is sister to commercial urban contemporary radio station WHUR (96.3 FM). WHUT's studios are located on the Howard University campus, and its transmitter is located in the Tenleytown neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of Washington.


Channel 32 was founded on September 29, 1980 as WHMM-TV. The station was the first African-American owned and operated public educational station in the United States. In 1998, the station changed its call sign to WHUT, standing for Howard University Television, the station's branding.

WHUT-TV station in Washington, D.C.

Since its founding, WHUT has won 11 Emmys and 8 Communications Excellence to Black Audiences Awards. Despite this success, budget cuts have forced the station to roll back programming hours in recent years. As of October 21, 2007, digital channel 33 was on the air with a simulcast of the programming on analog channel 32. By November 21, 2007, the station had corrected an earlier problem with the lack of PSIP data so that digital receivers could lock on to it. Today, WHUT airs a variety of standard PBS programming, as well as programs produced by Howard University, and international programs focusing on regions such as the Caribbean and Africa.

Soon after the start of preparations for the 2016-17 spectrum reallocation auction, Howard University announced that it was considering the sale of WHUT-TV's channel 33 allocation in the auction in order to alleviate longstanding financial issues at the university. The station was entered into the auction when it began in March 2016. Because of WHUT-TV's status as the only black-owned public television station in the United States, the decision attracted sustained opposition from faculty and community members who feared the loss of a rare minority voice in public media.[1] Howard announced WHUT-TV was withdrawn from the auction on February 16, 2017; the official reason was that the station's asking price had become low enough through the reverse auction process that it was apparent selling would not produce sufficient proceeds to justify ending operations.[2]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[3]
32.1 1080i 16:9 WHUT-HD Main WHUT-TV programming / PBS
32.2 480i 4:3 WHUT-SD PBS Kids

In July 2009, Washington, D.C. TV stations became a test market for Mobile DTV, and WHUT was one of the participating stations.[4]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WHUT-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 32, 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 33.[5] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 32.

WHUT-TV commenced ATSC-M/H (Mobile DTV) broadcasting on February 27, 2011. WHUT-TV is the last remaining Washington-market broadcaster to broadcast an M/H signal. The signal nominally contains a feed of its main programming in standard definition on 32.1 and an audio feed of WAMU on 32.2, although neither stream contains audio or video data.[6]


  1. ^ "Howard University May Sell Rights to Its Public TV Station's Spectrum". The New York Times. December 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "Howard University decides it won't sell WHUT in spectrum auction". Current.
  3. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WHUT
  4. ^ Dickson, Glen (July 13, 2009). "Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
  5. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "WHUT TSReader Capture 02/26/2018". RabbitEars.info.

External links[edit]