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Detroit Public TV Logo.svg
Detroit, Michigan
United States
Branding Detroit Public TV
Channels Digital: 43 (UHF)
Virtual: 56 (PSIP)
Subchannels 56.1 PBS
56.2 World
56.3 Create
Affiliations PBS
Owner Detroit Educational Television Foundation
First air date October 3, 1955
Former channel number(s) Analog:
56 (UHF, 1955–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1955–1970)
Transmitter power 600 kW
Height 318 m
Facility ID 16817
Transmitter coordinates 42°26′52″N 83°10′23″W / 42.44778°N 83.17306°W / 42.44778; -83.17306
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.dptv.org

WTVS, UHF digital channel 43 (virtual channel 56), is a PBS member television station located in Detroit, Michigan, United States. The station is owned by the Detroit Educational Television Foundation. WTVS maintains studio facilities and offices located at the Riley Broadcast Center and HD Studios in Wixom,[1] with a satellite studio located at the Maccabees Building in Midtown Detroit;[2] its transmitter is located at 8 Mile and Meyers Road in Oak Park (operating on the same tower as WMYD, channel 20, and WWJ-TV, channel 62).

The station partners with Detroit Public Schools in the management of classical and jazz music station WRCJ-FM (90.9). WTVS is also one of only three Detroit stations that mention Windsor and London, Ontario, Canada as part of its primary service area (alongside WDIV-TV, channel 4, and WMYD).


The station first signed on the air on October 3, 1955; WTVS began broadcasting in color in 1968. Previously the studios were in the New Center area of Detroit which are now served for its fixed satellite services.[3][4] WTVS broadcasts its digital signal from the same tower as at a height of 1073 feet (327 m). Prior to the digital TV switchover, WTVS transmitted its signal from a 1,000-foot (300 m) tower located near the intersection of 11 Mile and Inkster Roads in Southfield, along with WMYD (channel 20) and WKBD-TV (channel 50). Today, only WKBD-TV and WPXD-TV (channel 31) broadcast from that tower.

On January 11, 2016, Detroit Public Television announced a partnership with WKAR, the PBS station serving Central Michigan operated by the Michigan State University, in which they will jointly operate a 24-hour children's television service to be carried by both stations.[5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
56.1 1080i 16:9 WTVS-HD Main WTVS programming / PBS
56.2 480i WTVS-SD DPTV Plus (World)
56.3 WTVSSD2 Create

Many newer television receivers also list WTVS subchannels 43.177 and 43.193. These subchannels are artifact channels from the UpdateTV service.

WTVS also has plans for a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 56.1.[7][8]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WTVS became the first public broadcaster in the state of Michigan to offer a digital high-definition feed, launching their simulcast on UHF 43 in October, 2000 (exact date not yet known).[9] WTVS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 56, at 12:00 p.m. on April 16, 2009; the switchover occurred after a presentation of the national anthems of Canada ("O Canada") and the United States ("The Star-Spangled Banner").[10] WTVS management cited repeated failures of the station's 28-year-old analog transmitter as the reason for ceasing its analog signal on April 16 rather than the June 12 transition date for full-power stations (the analog transmitter had failed seven times between January 1 and April 16 alone). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43.[11] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

On October 12, 2009, WTVS upgraded to a new 600 kW transmitter, tripling its effective radiated power and vastly increasing the coverage area of its signal.[12]


Locally produced programming on the station includes Get Up! Get Out, In the Frame: Exploring the DIA, Leaders on Leadership, American Black Journal and Am I Right. WTVS is also a leading producer of fundraising programs for PBS.[citation needed]

In addition to locally produced programming, Detroit PBS also is the sole creator of all IL VOLO (popular Italian singing group) DVD concerts and related CDs. The Detroit PBS Il Volo concerts were the Oct. 2011 "Il Volo Takes Flight - Live from the Detroit Opera House", the March 2013 Il Volo at the Miami Fillmore - "We Are Love" concert, the March 2013 Il Volo at the Miami Fillmore - "Buon Natale" concert, the June 2015 "Il Volo - Live at Pompeii" concert, and July 2016 Il Volo - "Tribute to the 3 Tenors - in Florence" concert.

Cable coverage[edit]

WTVS is carried on most cable television providers in Southeast Michigan, Southwestern Ontario and parts of the British Columbia Southern Interior (WTVS is carried in that province despite the existence of KCTS-TV in Seattle, the PBS member station commonly found in that province). WTVS is one of five Detroit television stations available in Canada on cable through Shaw Broadcast Services and on satellite provider Shaw Direct; it began to be distributed by Cancom (now Shaw Broadcast Services) in 1983 as the PBS station signal for Canadian cable television systems too distant to receive a border station over-the-air. Since then, it had developed a strong base of Canadian viewer support in all provinces and territories.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us." WTVS. Retrieved on December 8, 2012. "Contact Us Riley Broadcast Center and HD Studios 1 Clover Court Wixom, MI 48393-2247"
  2. ^ "Detroit Public TV opens Midtown studio." Model D. Tuesday March 22, 2011. Retrieved on December 8, 2012.
  3. ^ "Driving Directions." WTVS. Retrieved on December 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions." WTVS. February 4, 2005. Retrieved on December 8, 2012. "Detroit Public Television 7441 Second Avenue Detroit, MI 48202"
  5. ^ "WKAR to stay on air, launch 24/7 children's channel with Detroit Public TV". MLive.com. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WTVS
  7. ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=atscmph
  8. ^ http://www.mdtvsignalmap.com/
  9. ^ http://www.michiguide.com/history/tv.html
  10. ^ theSameRetroWindsor (2009-04-16), WTVS - Final Sign Off - April 16, 2009, retrieved 2016-02-11 
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ WTVS Detroit Public TV Digital TV information page

External links[edit]