Georgia Public Broadcasting
This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2020)
|Type||Non-commercial educational broadcast television and radio network|
southwestern North Carolina
northern and western South Carolina
by the University of Georgia
|Headquarters||260 14th Street NW|
Atlanta, GA 30318
|Owner||Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission|
|Parent||State of Georgia|
|May 23, 1960|
|480i (SDTV) (1960–2008)|
1080i (HDTV) (2008–present)
|Affiliates||TV: See below|
Radio: See below
|TV: NET (1960–1970)|
Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) is a state network of PBS member television stations and NPR member radio stations serving the U.S. state of Georgia. It is operated by the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, an agency of the Georgia state government which holds the licenses for most of the PBS and NPR member stations licensed in the state. The broadcast signals of the nine television stations and 19 radio stations cover almost all of the state, as well as parts of Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The network's headquarters and primary radio and television production facilities are located on 14th Street in Midtown Atlanta, just west of the Downtown Connector in the Home Park neighborhood. The facility and GPB are also a major part of Georgia's film and television industry, and in addition to commercial production occurring at the GPB facilities, some production companies also rent production offices from GPB.
Establishing the network
On May 23, 1960, the University of Georgia signed on WGTV, the second educational television station in Georgia (after Atlanta's WETV, now WPBA). From 1960 to 1964, in a separate initiative, the Georgia Board of Education launched four educational television stations across the state, aimed at providing in-school instruction. This evolved into the Georgia Educational Television Network, which aired Board of Education-produced classes for schools and evening programming from WGTV. WGTV moved its transmitter to Stone Mountain in 1969, adding Atlanta to its coverage area.
In November 1980, Governor George Busbee proposed the consolidation of WGTV with the state's network of transmitters into a new Georgia Public Telecommunications Council and also called for said body to negotiate to buy WETV from the Atlanta Board of Education. The Georgia state senate approved the bill, but it stalled in the House of Representatives due to the objections of Athens-area members and those involved with the UGA station. After the legislative session ended, Governor Busbee revived the proposal by executive order. On January 1, 1982, the new council took operational control of WGTV, and the combined service rebranded as Georgia Public Television; by June 1982, after the expiration of remaining program contracts, WGTV was fully incorporated into the network, and UGA's role was reduced to program supplier.
Growth into radio
In February 1985, the GPTC entered into public radio, launching stations serving Macon, Columbus and Valdosta in the first year. These formed the nuclei of Peach State Public Radio, which provided the first public radio services to much of Georgia; previously, only Atlanta and Savannah had public stations. During the 1980s and 1990s, stations that had been operated by other educational institutions and community groups became affiliated with the network. The service was renamed Georgia Public Radio in 2001.
In 1995, the GPTC began using "Georgia Public Broadcasting" as its corporate name. This would eventually become the umbrella title for all GPB operations in early 2004, when GPTV and Georgia Public Radio simultaneously rebranded under the Georgia Public Broadcasting name.
New studios and new scandals
The late 1990s were a time of political scandal for GPB. In 1997, the agency used Georgia Lottery funds earmarked for technology to build its present facility in Midtown, later cited as one of several unnecessary projects using lottery monies. Financial mismanagement led Governor Roy Barnes in 1999 to oust the executive director, Vernon Rogers, and board of directors, appointing longtime state auditor Claude Vickers to turn around a three-year deficit nearing $7 million. The ouster of Rogers came after an audit revealed that the agency had a stack of accounts receivable, the oldest of them 12 years old; a bank loan that the Georgia legislature never approved; and had misplaced $1 million in equipment. Under Vickers, GPB cut expenses by $5.2 million without cutting radio or television program production and had its first positive audit in six years.
As the audiovisual industry has grown in Georgia, GPB studios have been used for the production of commercial television programming. The studio facilities were used for the production of the first season of the CBS Television Distribution-syndicated program Swift Justice With Nancy Grace; production of that series was moved to Los Angeles for its second and final season. In 2014, another syndicated court show, Lauren Lake's Paternity Court, began using the GPB facilities under the same arrangement; in 2017, it was joined by Couples Court with the Cutlers.
GPB is an agency under the oversight of the governor, which has led to concerns of political connections in the broadcasting operation. In 2012, the director of the agency hired state senator Chip Rogers to host a program on a direct recommendation from Nathan Deal; the arrangement was panned by former NPR president Vivian Schiller and seen as a way to land the politician in a favorable position. Rogers was let go from GPB in 2014.
GPB Television broadcasts PBS programming and statewide programs produced specifically for the GPB network 24 hours a day on a network of nine full-power stations as well as numerous low-power translator stations (especially in the state's mountainous northeastern counties). Certain programs broadcast by GPB Television (mainly those provided by PBS) feature a Descriptive Video Service track that is audible over the second audio program (SAP) channel of each station; GPB Radio feeds could previously be heard during times when DVS-transcribed programs were not airing, prior to the 2009 digital television transition. All stations within the GPB Television network act as rebroadcasters, simulcasting the network's programming at all times. GPB-produced programs include Gardening in Georgia, Georgia Backroads, Georgia's Business, Georgia Outdoors and Georgia Traveler, as well as annual coverage of the Georgia General Assembly when it is in legislative session early in the year. Live coverage of the football and basketball championship games from the Georgia High School Association is broadcast at the end of their respective seasons.
GPB Television also operates four digital subchannels that are carried on most of its stations: GPB Knowledge debuted in September 2008, but officially launched on October 1 of that year. GPB Knowledge carries programming from the World network during prime time hours, and GPB documentary and news programming (including BBC World News) at other times. It replaced GPB Education, which is still available to schools statewide on demand over the Internet. GPB Kids, launched in January 2009 as the second digital subchannel of the GPBTV stations, replacing the standard-definition feed (which mirrored each station's analog feed) of GPB's main channel. GPB Kids aired 24/7 with content from PBS Kids. During December 2008, the subchannel carried only a static station identification for all nine stations (including the GPB/PBS Kids logo), and the electronic program guide for the channel continued to show main channel information for the GPBTV stations. In March 2015, GPB Kids was replaced with Create. In January 2017, PBS Kids 24/7 was launched, being the fourth digital subchannel of the GPB TV stations.
Each of GPB's television stations identify themselves with two locations—usually, the smaller community where the station is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (almost always the station's transmitter location) and the larger city that it serves. The exceptions are WVAN-TV and WJSP-TV, which are actually licensed in major Georgia cities: WVAN-TV is licensed to Savannah, while WJSP-TV is licensed to Columbus. However, in order to conform to the pattern, GPB lists the locations for the stations' transmitters as the second city.
This rule only applies to the television stations, not to those on radio, which, except for two, bear only the city of license.
The GPB television stations are:
VC / RF
|City of license||Facility ID||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter coordinates||Founded||FCC info||Call letters' meaning|
||Athens–Atlanta||23948||62 kW||326 m (1,070 ft)||May 23, 1960||"Georgia Television"|
||Waycross–Valdosta||23929||35.3 kW||286 m (938 ft)||December 4, 1961||"Waycross, Georgia" (the "X" referring to "cross")|
||Savannah–Pembroke||23947||36.5 kW||293 m (961 ft)||September 16, 1963||Former Governor Ernest Vandiver|
||Pelham–Albany||23917||10.5 kW||474 m (1,555 ft)||January 2, 1967||Bob Wright, vice chair of the State Board of Education|
||Chatsworth–Dalton||23942||11.2 kW||537 m (1,762 ft)||January 30, 1967||"North Georgia Highlands"|
||Wrens–Augusta||23937||7.9 kW||436 m (1,430 ft)||September 12, 1966||Then-Governor Carl E. Sanders|
||Dawson–Americus||23930||26.3 kW||313 m (1,027 ft)||March 6, 1967||Americus|
||Columbus–Warm Springs||23918||21.4 kW||462 m (1,516 ft)||August 10, 1964||James S. Peters, then-president of the Georgia State Board of Education|
||Cochran–Macon||23935||126 kW||369 m (1,211 ft)||January 1, 1968||Mercer University Macon|
- 1. WNGH-TV was known as WCLP-TV from 1967 until 2008. The call letters honored Dr. Claude Lamar Purcell, who was the state superintendent of schools.
- 2. WACS-TV was off-air from March 1, 2007 to April or May 2008, due to a radio tower collapse caused by a tornado.
- 3. At the time of its sign-on in 1968, WMUM-TV was known as WDCO-TV and broadcast on UHF channel 15; the call letters honored M. D. Collins, a former state superintendent of schools. WDCO-TV moved to channel 29 in 1990, a change paid for by the United States Air Force to avoid radar interference to the PAVE PAWS site at Robins Air Force Base, and adopted its current call letters in 2006.
GPB Television operates several low-power translator stations located in the hilly terrain of the north Georgia mountains. These include:
|City of license||Callsign||Channel||Translating||Facility ID||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter coordinates|
|Carrollton||W23EV-D||23||WGTV 7||167054||8.1 kW||151 m (495 ft)|
|Hartwell & Royston||W32FE-D||32||WCES-TV 20||23928||0.15 kW||143 m (469 ft)|
|Toccoa||W08EG-D||8||WGTV 7||23924||0.15 kW||107 m (351 ft)|
|Young Harris||W25FP-D||25||WNGH 18||23945||4.5 kW||725 m (2,379 ft)|
The following translators were abandoned by GPB, which had their licenses (and in some cases, digital applications and permits) cancelled by the FCC, apparently at GPB's request, possibly due to the expense of running and upgrading them.
|City of license||Channel #||Notes|
|Carnesville||52||Signal reached parts of Franklin County in northeastern Georgia; directly repeated WGTV|
|Cedartown||65||Signal reached parts of Polk and Floyd counties in northwestern Georgia; directly repeated WNGH|
|Draketown||27||Signal reached parts of Haralson and Paulding counties in northwestern Georgia; directly repeated WNGH|
|Elberton||60||Signal reached parts of Elbert County in northeastern Georgia; directly repeated WGTV|
|Flintstone||51||Signal reached parts of Walker, Dade, and Catoosa counties in Northwestern Georgia, as well as parts of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, Tennessee; directly repeated WNGH|
|LaFayette||35||Signal reached parts of Walker and Dade counties in northwestern Georgia; directly repeated WNGH|
|Hiawassee||50||Signal reached parts of Towns and Rabun counties in northeastern Georgia, digital coverage provided by W04BJ's replacement|
On December 23, 2010, the University of Georgia announced that it would enter into a programming partnership with GPB, which would provide all programming for the university-owned WNEG-TV (channel 32) in Toccoa, with most of the content coming from its GPB Knowledge subchannel. The station filed with the FCC to convert WNEG's station license to non-commercial status. The partnership between UGA and GPB was due to a reduction of advertising dollars, resulting from an economic downturn and the loss of WNEG's CBS affiliation (the station had been with CBS since August 1995, receiving affiliation as a by-product of the CBS programming moving in the adjacent Atlanta market from WAGA-TV [channel 5] to WGCL-TV [channel 46] in December 1994). At 5:30 am on May 1, 2011, the station began carrying GPB Knowledge programming; the following day, its call letters were changed to WUGA-TV. UGA sold WUGA-TV to Marquee Broadcasting in 2015; at 12:01 am on July 1, 2015, the new owners dropped all GPB Knowledge programming, changed the station's call letters to WGTA, and returned the station to commercial operation with programming from the MeTV, Heroes & Icons, Decades, and Movies! networks.
WGTV, WXGA-TV, and WVAN-TV were the first GPB stations to begin operating their own digital television signals. The other six stations signed on their digital signals in July 2008. The ERP/HAAT figures listed within the table for those stations are based on those listed in the stations' individual Wikipedia articles, though some of the stations were operating at low power, and only upgraded to full-power when the digital transition occurred.
The digital signals of GPB's TV stations are multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|xx.1||1080i||16:9||(call sign)||Main GPB programming / PBS|
All nine stations carry the same programming from each of the four channels, but channel labels differ somewhat between the stations.
The GPB Television stations shut down their analog signals on February 17, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television (which Congress had moved the previous month to June 12).
Each stations' post-transition digital allocations are as follows:
- WGTV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 12 to channel 8.
- WXGA-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 9 to channel 8.
- WVAN-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition VHF channel 13 to channel 9.
- WABW-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 14; the station's digital signal moved from its pre-transition VHF channel 5 to channel 6, using PSIP to display WABW-TV's virtual channel as 14 on digital television receivers.
- WNGH-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 18; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 33, using PSIP to display WNGH-TV's virtual channel as 18 on digital television receivers.
- WCES-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20; the station's digital signal moved from its pre-transition VHF channel 2 to channel 6, using PSIP to display WCES-TV's virtual channel as 20 on digital television receivers.
- WACS-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 25; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 8, using PSIP to display WACS-TV's virtual channel as 25 on digital television receivers.
- WJSP-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 28; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 23, using PSIP to display WJSP-TV's virtual channel as 28 on digital television receivers. The station was licensed to move its digital signal to VHF channel 5 effective April 5, 2019.
- WMUM-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 29; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 7, using PSIP to display WMUM-TV's virtual channel as 29 on digital television receivers.
GPB has placed most of its stations on VHF due to the lower effective radiated power requirements (20 or 32 kW instead of 1000 kW), which in turn reduces the cost of purchasing the transmitter and using the electrical power for it. For WABW and WCES, this makes them one of the few television stations in the country to operate on low-band VHF channels (2 to 6), which require larger receiving antennas, are prone to tropospheric ducting (weather) and impulse noise, make mobile TV (ATSC-M/H) difficult, and for 5 and 6 are also an obstacle to expanding the FM broadcast band. The high-band VHF channels also have these problems, but not to a major extent.
Cable and satellite availability
GPB Television's various stations are carried on all cable providers in Georgia (the station that is available on a given provider varies on the jurisdiction). Additionally, Savannah's WVAN is carried on cable systems on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Columbus' WJSP is carried on cable systems in Phenix City and Auburn, Alabama; and Augusta's WCES is carried on most cable systems in Aiken and Edgefield, South Carolina. WABW is carried on Comcast's system in Tallahassee, Florida.
On satellite, WGTV, WVAN, WCES, WJSP, WNUM, WABW, WNGH, and WXGA are carried on the Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Albany, Chattanooga, and Jacksonville DirecTV and Dish Network feeds, respectively.
- Gardening in Georgia
- Georgia's Backroads and More Georgia Backroads
- Georgia's Business
- Georgia Outdoors
- Georgia Traveler
- On the Story
- NWA TV
- Georgia Aquarium: Keepers of the Deep
- Georgia Gazette
- Georgia Graduation Stories
- Georgia High School Sports
- Georgia On My Mind
- Georgia Quilts: Stitches And Stories
- Georgia Read More
- Georgia Serenade
- Georgia Valor
- Georgia Weekly
- Georgia's Civil War
- Georgia's Historic Inns
- Historic Houses of Georgia: The Antebellum Years
- Main Street Georgia
- Quarterly Pledge Drives
- Secret Seashore: Georgia's Barrier Islands (see The Golden Isles of Georgia)
- Sites to Behold: The History of Georgia's State Parks
- Sustainable Georgia
- The Georgia Meth Invasion
- The South Takes Flight: 100 Years of Aviation in Georgia
- The Thomas B. Murphy Story (see Tom Murphy)
- Vanishing Georgia
- Lost Atlanta: The Way We Were
- The Day Atlanta Stood Still
- On the Story
GPB Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day on several FM radio stations across the state, except in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The network had previously operated a translator station in Atlanta, W264AE (100.7 FM), which broadcast from a transmission tower located in the city's downtown district. However, it (and WGHR) was forced to go silent when full-power station WWWQ (100.5 FM, now WNNX) moved from Anniston, Alabama (where it operated under the WHMA-FM call letters) into the Atlanta market on an adjacent channel. Despite having almost no presence in metropolitan Atlanta prior to 2014, the network reaches nearly all the rest of Georgia, plus parts of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Atlanta-area listeners heard NPR programming on locally licensed stations WABE and WCLK instead.
On May 6, 2014, Georgia State University announced an arrangement allowing Georgia Public Broadcasting to program the University's station WRAS ("Album 88") from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, leaving 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. as the only remaining student airtime. This took effect on June 29. In exchange, GPB promised to provide internships at GPB for GSU students and other media collaborations between the two institutions, with WRAS broadcasting a separate feed from the main statewide network. The announcement immediately prompted intense opposition and denunciations from WRAS listeners, staffers, and GSU alumni, going so far as evoking a protest at GSU's commencement ceremony, a social media campaign with the tag #savewras, and a petition with more than 10,000 signatories on Change.org. Some of them have made accusations of secrecy and even illegality surrounding the transaction as they protested that the alternative rock format was unique to the Atlanta market (despite the presence of another college station in the area, WREK, licensed to the Georgia Institute of Technology) and that it was being displaced by programming that largely duplicated offerings on WABE. This has led to a public effort to boycott GPB and its underwriters.
Most of the stations presently air a mix of classical music, and news and talk programming sourced from NPR; however, some stations carry select locally produced programming. WRAS airs NPR news and talk programming during the hours that GPB programs it.
Previously, GPB Radio was transmitter over the second audio program feed of GPB's television stations at most times prior to the 2009 digital television transition. GPB Radio is still audible through this function on DirecTV, but not GPB's digital television stations or on cable for unknown reasons.
GPB Radio stations in southern and southeastern Georgia also relay hurricane evacuation information for listeners approaching or leaving Georgia's Atlantic Coast or the Florida Panhandle. Signs along interstate and other major highways in the region direct the evacuee to the nearest GPB Radio station carrying the emergency information.
|City of license||Facility
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||FCC info|
|WUNV||91.7||Albany, Georgia||23919||3000||100 m (330 ft)||A||FCC LMS|
|WUGA||91.7||Athens, Georgia||22982||6,000||99 m (325 ft)||A||FCC LMS|
|WRAS[note 1]||88.5||Atlanta, Georgia||23959||50,000||318 m (1,043 ft)||C1||FCC LMS|
|WACG-FM||90.7||Augusta, Georgia||23922||3,700||420.8 m (1,381 ft)||C2||FCC LMS|
|WWIO-FM[note 2]||88.9||Brunswick, Georgia||23944||11,500||46 m (151 ft)||C3||FCC LMS|
|WUWG[note 3]||90.7||Carrollton, Georgia||71602||430||151 m (495 ft)||A||FCC LMS|
|WNGH-FM||98.9||Chatsworth, Georgia||2309||420||541.8 m (1,778 ft)||C3||FCC LMS|
|WMUM-FM[note 4]||89.7||Cochran, Georgia||23939||43,000 horiz.
|304.1 m (998 ft)||C0||FCC LMS|
|WNGU||89.5||Dahlonega, Georgia||76477||750||140 m (460 ft)||A||FCC LMS|
|WPPR||88.3||Demorest, Georgia||23949||7,300||193.9 m (636 ft)||C2||FCC LMS|
|WJWV||90.9||Fort Gaines, Georgia||23946||20,500 horiz.
|78.9 m (259 ft)||C1||FCC LMS|
|WGPB||97.7||Rome, Georgia||6797||4,200||241 m (791 ft)||C3||FCC LMS|
|WSVH||91.1||Savannah, Georgia||23926||96,000||430.9 m (1,414 ft)||C0||FCC LMS|
|WABR||91.1||Tifton, Georgia||23925||30,000||76 m (249 ft)||C2||FCC LMS|
|WWET||91.7||Valdosta, Georgia||23923||430||26 m (85 ft)||A||FCC LMS|
|WJSP-FM||88.1||Warm Springs, Georgia||23927||100,000||461.2 m (1,513 ft)||C||FCC LMS|
|WXVS||90.1||Waycross, Georgia||23923||79,000 horiz.
|280 m (920 ft)||C1||FCC LMS|
- separate feed from other GPB stations; GPB portion of station schedule from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- WWIO-FM acts as a full-power relay of WSVH.
- Simulcasts WRAS (FM) from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Carries regular Network feed 7 p.m. – 5 a.m.
- WMUM-FM also airs some local programming from Mercer University.
Except for W233CA in Athens and the former W264AE in Atlanta, none of the translator stations are owned by GPB/GPTC, but rather by Radio Assist Ministry and Edgewater Broadcasting, two related companies that speculatively apply for such stations during FCC filing windows, assign them to non-commercial educational "parent" stations to avoid broadcast license fees, then rent or sell them to other stations for a profit. While many more RAM/EB stations are assigned to rebroadcast GPB stations in the FCC database, only these five are listed by GPB.
GPB Education (formerly known as Peachstar) serves state agencies and the Georgia learning community through the use of telecommunications technology. GPB delivers high-quality educational programming that reflects state standards to Georgia classrooms using the GPB satellite network, open-air television, and the GPB video streaming portal. GPB provides professional development to Georgia educators through face-to-face trainings, satellite-delivered programs, and interactive webcasts. GPB also meets the training needs of state agencies through its video production, satellite broadcast, and interactive webcasting services, as well as through its extensive digital library.
GPB News is the news department of Georgia Public Broadcasting. It is responsible for providing news updates to both GPB Radio and GPB Television, and collaborates with the Atlanta Business Chronicle to produce the program Georgia Business News. The legislative discussion program Prime Time Lawmakers (formerly known as Lawmakers) provided coverage and commentary on the Georgia General Assembly throughout each session; it aired from 1971 to 2014, when it was replaced by "On the Story".
GPB Sports produces news coverage and commentary on sports throughout the state, with an emphasis on high school football. It produces the programs GPB SportsCentral, PrepSports and Road to the Dome.
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- Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License
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- RabbitEars TV Query for WGTV
- RabbitEars TV Query for WXGA
- RabbitEars TV Query for WVAN
- RabbitEars TV Query for WABW
- RabbitEars TV Query for WNGH
- RabbitEars TV Query for WCES
- RabbitEars TV Query for WACS
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJSP
- RabbitEars TV Query for WMUM
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
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- "Fight to Save WRAS Ramps Up: Benefit Concert, Graduation Protest, Petition & a Boycott Page". College Media Matters. May 14, 2014. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015.
- "Save Wras" – via Facebook.
- "NPR's Celeste Headlee Joins GPB as the Host of a New One-Hour Local News and Information Show on Atlanta's WRAS 88.5 FM" (Press release). Georgia Public Broadcasting. May 12, 2014. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015.
- "Veteran Journalist Bill Nigut Expands on the Story to Other Platforms" (Press release). Georgia Public Broadcasting. May 14, 2014. Archived from the original on June 19, 2014.
- "Award-Winning Journalist & Atlanta Native Rickey Bevington Returns to Air in Top Radio Spot" (Press release). Georgia Public Broadcasting. May 22, 2014. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015.
- DTV Satellite Transition