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WDSE 2010 Logo.png
Duluth, MinnesotaSuperior, Wisconsin
United States
CityDuluth, Minnesota
BrandingPBS 8/31
ChannelsDigital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Affiliations8.1: PBS (1970–present)
8.2: PBS Encore/World
8.3: Create
8.4: Minnesota Channel
OwnerDuluth–Superior Area Educational Television Corporation
First air dateSeptember 1, 1964 (54 years ago) (1964-09-01)
Call letters' meaningDuluth–Superior Educational
Former channel number(s)Analog:
8 (VHF, 1964–2009)
38 (UHF, 2003–2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1964–1970)
Transmitter power34 kW
Height295 m (968 ft)
Facility ID17726
Transmitter coordinates46°47′29.7″N 92°7′21.4″W / 46.791583°N 92.122611°W / 46.791583; -92.122611
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
Hibbing, Minnesota
United States
Brandingsee WDSE infobox
ChannelsDigital: 31 (UHF)
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
Affiliations31.1: PBS (2008–present)
31.2: PBS Encore/World
31.3: Create
31.4: Minnesota Channel
OwnerDuluth–Superior Area Educational Television Corporation
First air dateDecember 27, 2008 (10 years ago) (2008-12-27)
Call letters' meaningIron Range Public Television
Transmitter power250 kW
Height167 m (548 ft)
Facility ID159007
Transmitter coordinates47°22′53″N 92°57′16″W / 47.38139°N 92.95444°W / 47.38139; -92.95444 (WRPT)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

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 virtual and VHF channel 8 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. WRPT's transmitter is located at Maple Hill Park south of Hibbing.


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]

The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1][2]
720p 16:9 WDSEpbs
Main programming / PBS
480i WDSE2nd
PBS Encore / World
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.[3] 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 one is 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.[4]


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 Mbit/s digital stream is devoted to Datacast Wisconsin.[5]


  1. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WDSE". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WRPT". www.rabbitears.info. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  3. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations
  4. ^ "Grand Marais Translator Service Ends 12/1". WDSE • WRPT - PBS 8 & 31. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.datacastwisconsin.org/

External links[edit]