From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

WETA with two red ribbons
Washington, D.C.
United States
Channels Digital: 31 ( UHF)
Virtual: 26 ( PSIP)
BrandingWETA TV 26
Affiliations26.1: PBS HD
26.2: WETA UK
26.3: PBS Kids
26.4: World
26.5: WETA Metro
OwnerGreater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association
First air date
October 2, 1961 (59 years ago) (1961-10-02) [1]
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 26 (UHF, 1961–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 27 (UHF, 1998–2019)
  • NET (1961–1970)
  • Multicast:
  • Create (2006–2011)
  • DT4:
  • SD simulcast of DT1 (?–2020)
Call sign meaning
Greater Washington Educational Television Association
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID65670
Class NCE DT
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT257 m (843 ft)
Transmitter coordinates 38°57′1″N 77°4′46″W / 38.95028°N 77.07944°W / 38.95028; -77.07944
Latitude and Longitude:

38°57′1″N 77°4′46″W / 38.95028°N 77.07944°W / 38.95028; -77.07944
Public license information
Website www.weta.org/tv

WETA-TV, virtual channel 26 ( UHF digital channel 31), is a Public Broadcasting Service ( PBS) member television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. Owned by the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, it is a sister station to National Public Radio ( NPR) member WETA (90.9 FM). The two outlets share studios in nearby Arlington County, Virginia; [2] WETA-TV's transmitter is located in the Tenleytown neighborhood in Northwest Washington. On cable, the station is available on channel 26 on most systems in the market. WETA-TV also effectively, but unofficially serves as one of three flagship stations of PBS, alongside WGBH-TV in Boston and WNET in New York City.

Among the programs produced by WETA-TV that are distributed nationally by PBS are the PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, [3] and several cultural and documentary programs, such as the Ken Burns documentaries [4] and A Capitol Fourth.


In 1952, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 242 channels for non-commercial use across the United States. Channel 26 was allocated for use in Washington, D.C.[ citation needed] In 1953, the Greater Washington Educational Television Association (GWETA) was formed to develop programming for channel 26.[ citation needed] GWETA credits Elizabeth Campbell with having founded the organization. [5] In the early days, before it was granted a license for its own channel, GWETA produced educational programming for WTTG.[ citation needed]

GWETA was eventually granted a license by the FCC to activate channel 26; WETA-TV first signed on the air on October 2, 1961. WETA originally operated out of Yorktown High School; the station later relocated its operations to the campus of Howard University in 1964.[ citation needed] In 1967, WETA began producing Washington Week in Review (now simply titled Washington Week), a political discussion program that became the station's first program to be syndicated nationally to other non-commercial educational stations.[ citation needed]

Around 1970, the Greater Washington Educational Television Association changed its name to the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association to reflect the oversight of the new WETA (FM).[ citation needed] In 1992, WETA broadcast the first over-the-air high-definition television signal in the United States[ citation needed] In 1995, WETA acquired CapAccess, an interactive computer network. From that acquisition, WETA helped connect public schools, public libraries and local government agencies to the Internet. [6]

In 1996, WETA launched its first national educational project, LD Online, a website that seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. It was joined in 2001 by Reading Rockets, a multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. In 2003, Reading Rockets spun off Colorín Colorado, a free web-based service that provides information, activities, and advice for educators, and Spanish-speaking families of English language learners (ELLs).[ citation needed] To support the parents and educators of older students who struggle with reading, WETA launched Adlit.org in 2007. AdLit.org is a multimedia educational initiative offering research (articles, instructional strategies, school-based outreach events, professional development webcasts, and book recommendation) to develop teens' literacy skills, prevent school dropouts, and prepare students for the demands of college.[ citation needed] Seeing a need to educate the public about brain injuries, in 2008 WETA, in partnership with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, launched BrainLine.org. The site features videos, webcasts, recent research, personal stories, and articles on preventing, treating, and living with traumatic brain injuries. [7]

In 1997, WETA tested its new full-power digital transmitter which was activated for full-time broadcasting in 1999.[ clarification needed] In 2002, WETA became one of the first[ citation needed] stations in the county to offer digital subchannels, which initially included WETA Prime, WETA Plus and WETA Kids. In January 2006, WETA changed its subchannel lineup with WETA Create, WETA Family, and WETA World, after the closure of national services PBS You and PBS Kids.[ citation needed].

With the dropping of the PBS Kids network in 2005, WETA did not become a PBS Kids Sprout partner. [8] By April 2006, the station had added World programming to a subchannel prior to its January 2007 launch as a nationwide network. [9] In 2007, WETA started broadcasting a children's channel. In February 2009, WETA only aired a daily three-hour children's morning block on its primary channel, clearing the afternoon for general audience programs like Charlie Rose, travel shows, repeats of the previous night's prime time shows, movies, documentaries and miniseries. [8]

WETA decided to drop Create due to the network moving to being fee based on July 1, 2012 and perceived lack of programming flexibility. WETA How-To lifestyle programming replaced Create in January 2012. How-To was replaced by WETA UK on July 4, 2012 after an analysis of audience and local viewers' demand for British programs. [10]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed: [11]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming [12]
26.1 720p 16:9 WETA-HD Main WETA-TV programming / PBS
26.3 480i 4:3 KIDS PBS Kids
26.4 WORLD World
26.5 720p 16:9 METRO WETA Metro

Channel 26.2, "WETA UK", is a subchannel produced in-house with a schedule of programming produced in the United Kingdom. Channel 26.5, "WETA Metro", is also produced in-house and focuses on timeshifted rebroadcasts of news programming and reruns that interest a local audience.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WETA-TV shut down its analog signal, on UHF channel 26, 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 27. [13] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 26.


  1. ^ "WETA's First Broadcast". Washington, DC: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  2. ^ "Television Studios". Washington, DC: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  3. ^ "Ongoing Productions". Washington, DC: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ken Burns". Washington, DC: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  5. ^ "Our Founder". Washington, DC: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  6. ^ Swisher, Kara (September 21, 1995). "WETA TO MANAGE CAPACCESS AREA COMPUTER NETWORK". Washington Post. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  7. ^ http://www.brainline.org/downloads/PDFs/Press_release-08.pdf
  8. ^ a b Katy June-Friesen (January 12, 2009). "Many stations packaging their own kids' channels". Originally published in Current. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  9. ^ Egner, Jeremy (April 3, 2006). "World and Go! streams flow into PBS plans". Current. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Sefton, Dru (June 11, 2012). "Multicasts tailored to local priorities". Current. American University SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Channel Guide: TV". WETA-TV. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  12. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WETA
  13. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.

External links