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MPTV Logo.png
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
Branding Milwaukee PBS 36
Slogan Opening Your World
Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
(shared with WMVS)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations PBS
Wisconsin Public Television (sports/public affairs)
Wisconsin Educational Communications Board (instructional)
Owner Milwaukee Area Technical College
(Milwaukee Area Technical College District Board)
First air date January 29, 1963 (55 years ago) (1963-01-29)
Call letters' meaning Milwaukee Vocational and Technical Schools
Sister station(s) WMVS
Former channel number(s) Analog:
36 (UHF, 1963–2009)
Transmitter power 32 kW
Height 357 m (1,171 ft)
Facility ID 42665
Transmitter coordinates 43°5′46.2″N 87°54′15″W / 43.096167°N 87.90417°W / 43.096167; -87.90417Coordinates: 43°5′46.2″N 87°54′15″W / 43.096167°N 87.90417°W / 43.096167; -87.90417
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.milwaukeepbs.org

WMVT, virtual channel 36 (UHF digital channel 35), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The station is owned by Milwaukee Area Technical College, which also owns sister PBS member station WMVS (channel 10). The two stations are collectively branded as "Milwaukee PBS". WMVT and WMVS share studio facilities located at the Continuing Education Center on the Milwaukee Area Technical College campus on North 8th Street in downtown Milwaukee, and transmitter facilities located on North Humboldt Boulevard in Milwaukee's Estabrook Park neighborhood.

WMVT and WMVS operate separately from the Wisconsin Public Television state network that is owned by the University of Wisconsin Extension and serves the rest of the state; however, WMVT runs instructional television programs from Wisconsin Public Television, and Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee PBS coordinate instructional television efforts for their broadcast area. The station's programming is also available on the video on demand service, Wisconsin On Demand 1111, on Charter Spectrum systems across southeastern Wisconsin.


The station first signed on the air on January 28, 1963. Upon a September 2010 realignment of its digital signal, the station's changed its on-air branding to "MPTV-36.1 HD".

Digital television[edit]

WMVT's digital signal, which broadcasts on UHF channel 35, is multiplexed into six different digital subchannels, with virtual channel 36.1 broadcasting high definition programming in the 720p format and its five additional subchannel services broadcasting in 480i standard definition.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WMVT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36, at 9 a.m. 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 35.[1] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 36.

WMVT formerly did not have a digital broadcast signal, and the station's channel slot was used to broadcast a full-quality high definition digital signal of WMVS, due to the limitations of the VHF channel 8 signal within the area. WMVS-DT had to operate on limited power until the digital switchover in order to protect the analog channel 8 signal of NBC affiliate WOOD-TV across Lake Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which regularly propagated over the lake and into Wisconsin. Another shuffle occurred on September 1, 2010 which brought over three of WMVT's subchannel services onto WMVS's bandwidth, along with a standard definition simulcast of WMVS's 10.1 feed over digital channel 36.2 in 480i widescreen standard definition to address viewer complaints about reception of VHF channels post-transition. This shuffle also enabled 36.1 to eventually air programming in high definition beginning on February 7, 2011, a move that was delayed by budget concerns.[2]

Spectrum sale, channel sharing with WMVS[edit]

On April 13, 2017, Milwaukee PBS announced that it had participated in the FCC's 2016 spectrum auction and successfully sold the UHF spectrum for WMVT for just under $85 million.[3] On August 31, 2017, WMVT's audio channels on 36.4 and 36.5 featuring classical and jazz formats were discontinued.[4]

Sinclair, Weigel Broadcasting, and Milwaukee PBS all decided on a switch date of January 8, 2018 for their various local spectrum moves, which took place at 9 a.m. that morning. At that time, Milwaukee PBS re-mapped their channels onto physical channel 8, with WMVT retaining their main channel on 36.1 in HD, World moving to 36.2 and MPTV's weather service mapping to 36.3. WMVS then mapped to main service on 10.1 in HD, with Create on 10.2 and PBS Kids remaining on 10.3.[5] In early February 2018, the traffic camera footage formerly carried on 36.6 became a part of 36.3's weather maps/conditions loop.


While WMVS is billed as the area's mainstream PBS station, WMVT maintains a more educational and news format. The station's schedule is heavy on documentary, instructional, DIY, and news programming. Until October 2014, when the state's instructional programming efforts moved online-only, WMVT functioned as the Milwaukee member for the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board's instructional telecourse programs for students and teachers and most Wisconsin Badgers sports coverage from Wisconsin Public Television; British drama and comedy programming, along with encores of Milwaukee PBS and PBS programming has now replaced the instructional programming in the overnight, weekend and morning timeslots. When WMVS holds its annual auction and pledge drives, WMVT takes on the responsibility of running PBS primetime programming normally seen on channel 10. The station also previously aired PBS NewsHour on a half-hour delay in lieu of WMVS for a ten-year period until September 5, 2016, when Milwaukee PBS's locally based programming moved to WMVT.

WMVT also has a "Student Operations Day" that is held annually on the first Saturday in May, in which students from Milwaukee Area Technical College's broadcasting department use the Milwaukee PBS facilities to produce their own shows to air on channel 36, which vary from serious educational and history programs to comedy shows.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  2. ^ Changes are Many for MPTV in September, Milwaukee Public Television, August 31, 2010.
  3. ^ "Milwaukee Area Technical College to receive $84.9 million from FCC broadcast incentive auction; No impact to Milwaukee PBS programming" (Press release). Milwaukee PBS. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Jazz and Classical Music Options, archived from the original on 6 September 2017, retrieved 15 December 2017 
  5. ^ "Plan to Scan". Retrieved 10 December 2017. 

External links[edit]