Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from WNPI)

BrandingWPBS PBS
OwnerSt. Lawrence Valley Educational TV Council, Inc.
First air date
August 20, 1971 (52 years ago) (1971-08-20)[1]
Former call signs
  • WNPE-TV (1971–1998)
  • WPBS-TV (1998–2009)
  • WPBS-DT (2009–2020)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 16 (UHF, 1971–2009)
  • Digital: 41 (UHF, 2005–2019)
Call sign meaning
Public Broadcasting Service
Technical information[2]
Licensing authority
Facility ID62136
ERP98 kW
HAAT373.3 m (1,225 ft)
Transmitter coordinates43°51′46″N 75°43′38″W / 43.86278°N 75.72722°W / 43.86278; -75.72722 (WPBS-TV)
Public license information
Satellite station
Brandingsee WPBS-TV infobox
First air date
September 5, 1971 (52 years ago) (1971-09-05)[3]
Former call signs
WNPI-TV (1971−2009)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 18 (UHF, 1971–2009)
Technical information[4]
Facility ID62137
ERP40 kW
HAAT241.63 m (793 ft)
Transmitter coordinates44°29′29″N 74°51′26″W / 44.49139°N 74.85722°W / 44.49139; -74.85722 (WNPI-DT)
Public license information

WPBS-TV (channel 16) is a PBS member television station in Watertown, New York, United States, owned by the St. Lawrence Valley Educational TV Council. The station's studios are located on Arsenal Street in Watertown, and its transmitter is located on St. Lawrence County Route 194 in Denmark, New York.

WNPI-DT (channel 18) in Norwood operates as a full-time satellite of WPBS; this station's transmitter is located in South Colton, New York. WNPI covers areas of northeastern New York that receive a marginal to non-existent signal from WPBS, although there is significant overlap between the two stations' contours otherwise. WNPI is a straight simulcast of WPBS; on-air references to WNPI are limited to Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated hourly station identifications during programming. Aside from the transmitter, WNPI does not maintain any physical presence locally in Norwood.

The two stations combined have significant viewership in much of eastern Ontario, Canada, including Ottawa and Kingston; their slogan "Your Two-Nation Station" reflects this Canadian audience.



The St. Lawrence Valley Educational Television Council, which was organized in 1958, originally produced educational television programming to be carried by local CBS affiliate WWNY-TV (channel 7). In 1971, it established a free-standing PBS station, WNPE-TV, using WWNY's original studios on Champion Hill as the commercial station had already relocated to a larger facility in Watertown. Full-time satellite WNPI-TV signed on a few weeks later. Outgrowing the Champion Hill location itself, WNPE moved to a new building in Watertown in 1978.

Because of its large Canadian viewership, WNPE was one of the more successful PBS stations, with fundraising totals often exceeding those of stations in much larger markets.

For a minor sum, the rights to use the WPBS call letters were purchased from a small radio station in Conyers, Georgia, in the late 1990s; the call sign change to WPBS-TV took effect on September 1, 1998. Following the shutdown of analog television signals, WPBS switched to a "-DT" suffix on July 2, 2009,[5] as did WNPI;[6] WPBS returned to the "-TV" suffix on March 11, 2020.[5] Despite the calls, which mimic the callsign schemes used by stations owned by ABC, NBC and CBS in New York City and Los Angeles, WPBS-TV is not an owned-and-operated station (nor is similarly named KPBS in San Diego), as PBS cannot own or operate any of its member stations or regional member networks due to the network's local and non-profit nature; the WPBS callsign reflects the station's affiliation and programming, but not any special status within PBS.

Despite its strong viewership in Canada, Rogers Cable, the main cable provider in Ottawa, announced in July 2009 that it would replace WPBS on its systems with Detroit's WTVS by mid-August to provide a higher-quality PBS feed, as WTVS could be fed via fiber optic cable rather than from over-the-air signals.[7] Shortly after receiving this news, a Facebook campaign called 'Save WPBS in Ottawa' (later renamed 'Ottawa Loves WPBS') urging Rogers to reconsider its decision to pull the station was launched, attracting hundreds of supporters, as well as local Ottawa politicians. On July 30, 2009, it was announced that WPBS would offer a fiber-optic feed of the station for Rogers transmitted from Buffalo, New York.[8][9][10]

Erie, Pennsylvania's WQLN, which serves viewers in the London, Ontario area through Rogers, was also threatened with removal from the Rogers system;[11] as with WPBS, WQLN offered a fiber connection with Rogers.[12]



WPBS produces a variety of programming for both local and national distribution. For many outside New York and the surrounding region, WPBS is synonymous with programming ranging from Rod and Reel and Streamside (distributed to PBS member stations nationally from 1985 to 2006).[13] to Classical Stretch (distributed nationally since 1999 by APT).[14] They also carry other nationally distributed programs from PBS and American Public Television.

WPBS-produced TV series

  • Bill Saiff's Rod & Reel (1985–2001, nationally distributed by PBS)
  • Cabin Country
  • Camp Willie
  • Discovering Jefferson County
  • Discovering Pets
  • Energy Efficiency: Enhancing Home Performance
  • The Gardener (2001, a thirteen-part series).[15][16]
  • Journeys of an Artist (2006, national) a thirteen-episode series combining art and travel.[17]
  • Park It
  • Streamside with Don Meissner[18]
  • WPBS Weekly: Inside the Stories

National programming


WPBS-originated programming distributed to public television stations nationally by American Public Television[19] includes:

  • The Artist's World
  • Artist's World Sketches
  • CD Highway
  • Classical Stretch[20][21] (1999–2005)
  • Cottage Country
  • Flyfishing Destinations
  • From a Country Garden[22][23]
  • Rod & Reel Streamside (2001–2006)[24]

WPBS-originated programming distributed to public television stations by the National Educational Telecommunications Association[25] includes:

WPBS local and regional television series

  • Jefferson's Table, local wines, history and cuisine.
  • Whiz Quiz, a quizbowl-style competition.
    • Whiz Quiz Canada, Canadian version of Whiz Quiz.
  • WPBS-LIVE!, a live call-in show presenting topics of local interest to both nations.

Technical information




The stations' signals are multiplexed:

Subchannels of WPBS-TV[30] and WNPI-DT[31]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
16.1 18.1 1080i 16:9 WPBS-HD WNPI-HD Main programming / PBS
16.2 18.2 480i WPBS-2 WNPI-2 Create
16.3 18.3 WPBS-3 WNPI-3 World
16.4 18.4 WPBS-4 WNPI-4 PBS Kids

The four digital subchannels are identical for both WPBS-TV and WNPI-DT.

The station had requested an increase in power from 40 kW to 60 kW for each digital transmitter. While this request had not been addressed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in time for WPBS/WNPI's April 12, 2009, analog shutoff date, which was sooner than the June 12, 2009, date for American analog stations to end, a construction permit was issued later that year for the increased-power digital facilities.

WPBS-TV's former analog channel number (UHF 16) was in use by WXXI-TV in Rochester from 2003 until 2019. WNPI-TV's former analog channel number (UHF 18) and antenna location has been reassigned to WWNY-CD, a Massena rebroadcaster of Fox affiliate WNYF-CD.

Coverage area


WPBS-TV can be seen by a total of 2.2 million viewers.[32] This is despite the fact it is the smallest PBS member in New York State; there are only 252,000 people in its American viewing area. However, the signal from its two towers reaches far enough to serve the Ottawa Valley region via cable. This market, with over 1.5 million people–almost six times the population of WPBS' American viewing area–is the fourth-largest in Canada. Much of WPBS' viewer support has also come from Canadian viewers, as 70% of donations during recent pledge drives came from viewers in Ottawa.[7] The station also maintains a mailing address in Gananoque, Ontario to service its Canadian donors.

WPBS' service area comprises mostly rural areas and small towns. The only major urban areas in its service area are Ottawa and Kingston.

In the past, reflecting its two-nation audience, the U.S. and Canadian national anthems were played on station sign-on and sign-off.


  1. ^ FCC History Cards for WPBS
  2. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WPBS-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ "Broadcasting System License Record". Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  4. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WNPI-DT". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  5. ^ a b "Call Sign History (WPBS-TV)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Call Sign History (WNPI-DT)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "WPBS of New York to disappear from Ottawa TV". CBC News. July 16, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  8. ^ "WPBS to stay on in Ottawa". Watertown Daily Times. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "WPBS-TV Press Release - Rogers Cable". wpbstv.org. Archived from the original on August 2, 2009.
  10. ^ Ottawa Citizen: "PBS Watertown wins reprieve from Rogers", 7/30/2009.
  11. ^ London Free Press: "Loss of London viewers could sink Erie station", 7/22/2009.
  12. ^ London Free Press: "Rogers retains PBS affiliate WQLN", 7/31/2009.
  13. ^ Public TV station evolves from using donated air time to entering the digital age, Chris Brock, Watertown NY Times, June 7, 2008
  14. ^ "All the right moves: Classical-Stretch class builds flexibility and self-confidence, Susan Schwartz, Montréal Gazette, April 10 2000". Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
  15. ^ Bio of Ed Lawrence, The Gardner
  16. ^ "National Capital Commission, Ottawa-Hull, Canada". Archived from the original on August 28, 2004. Retrieved November 21, 2004.
  17. ^ "John Banovich". johnbanovich.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008.
  18. ^ Fishing with Don Meissner, host of Streamside
  19. ^ "APT Programs". Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
  20. ^ "CS Home Page". wpbstv.org. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008.
  21. ^ Stretching for the next level Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, LYNN MOORE, The Gazette (Montréal), January 5, 2008
  22. ^ Gardening Grief and Glory: Ed Lawrence Answers Your Gardening Questions, ISBN 978-0-9681210-1-6
  23. ^ "From A Country Garden - The Show". wpbstv.org. Archived from the original on January 18, 2002. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  24. ^ "WPBS-TV, Watertown NY". wpbstv.org. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008.
  25. ^ "NETA programming". Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
  26. ^ "Fishing Behind The Lines". wpbstv.org. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  27. ^ "Unknown". [permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "The New Fly Fisher // JenCor Entertainment Inc". thenewflyfisher.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2009.
  29. ^ "WPBSTV.org | Painting With Wilson Bickford". www.wpbstv.org. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  30. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WPBS". RabbitEars.info. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  31. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WNPI". RabbitEars.info. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  32. ^ About PBS: List of on-air auctions by state and market size