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APS Cable Channel 22
|Slogan||Atlanta's PBS station
C22: Atlanta's education channel
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 30 (PSIP)
|Owner||Atlanta Public Schools
(Board of Education of the City of Atlanta)
|First air date||February 17, 1958|
|Call letters' meaning||Public Broadcasting Atlanta|
|Sister station(s)||APS Cable Channel 22
WABE FM 90.1
|Former callsigns||WETV (1958–1984)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
30 (UHF, 1958–2009)
|Transmitter power||55.4 kW (digital)|
|Height||265.7 m (872 ft) (digital)|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: (digital)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WPBA (or simply PBA; channel 30.1, DTV 21) is one of two PBS-member TV stations in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The callsign stands for Public Broadcasting Atlanta and it is counterpart to WABE FM 90.1, the Atlanta area's local National Public Radio station. Both are licensed to and operated by the Atlanta Public Schools. The two stations share a studio on Bismark Road in the Morningside-Lenox Park neighborhood of Atlanta.
It is the only PBS station in Georgia not run by Georgia Public Broadcasting as part of the GPB television network. There is some duplication (but only rarely simulcasting) of programming with GPB primary station WGTV. Unlike WGTV, WPBA datacasts UpdateTV, an over-the-air programming service which updates the firmware on some brands of ATSC tuners, via the PBS National Datacast network, thus being able to receive the station will benefit owners of those devices. Conversely, WPBA is also one of the few PBS stations not to broadcast any digital subchannels, possibly because some of the bitrate is occupied by datacasting (WGTV operates two subchannels on its frequency, serving the area). The station has also datacast TV Guide On Screen since the beginning of October 2009, after CBS affiliate WGCL-TV ended the service following technical issues the service caused for some viewers with certain DTV converter set-top boxes.
Prior to the permanent shutdown of all analog TV in the U.S., the station typically turned off its analog TV transmitter late at night (generally 1-5 AM), but could still be seen on most cable TV systems, DirecTV and over the air on digital TV at all hours.
The station signed-on on February 17, 1958 as WETV (Educational Television), Georgia's first public television station. At first, it only broadcast during school hours, but gradually added programming for the general public. Originally a member of National Educational Television, it joined PBS on October 5, 1970. The station had the callsign changed to WPBA on May 10, 1984. The WETV callsign today is now used by a low-power television station in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, WETV-LP Channel 11.
In 2000, WPBA's digital signal on channel 21 began operation. WPBA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 30, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.
WPBA and WABE share two adjacent towers in the east side of the city between Edgewood and Kirkwood with the single antenna used by WSB-FM 98.5, WSTR FM 94.1 and WVEE FM 103.3. (Those three radio stations' transmitters are diplexed together, so that they all feed to the antenna instead of into each other.) WABE was formerly on Stone Mountain, but had to leave when WGTV needed the space for its digital equipment, in addition to maintaining analog, and the use of the tower by KEC80 to transmit NOAA Weather Radio.
Like WGTV, WPBA also has a weak signal well below the maximum power allowed, limiting its useful broadcast range. As a result, its over-the-air signal is marginal at best outside the Perimeter (i.e., Atlanta itself and the inner suburbs).