Since our beginning in 1967, the community has played a vital role in our station's history. We are proud be our area's source for quality programming and lifelong learning opportunities for nearly 43 years.
It All Started with Education
Public television in East Tennessee began its journey as a pioneer in the classroom on March 15, 1967 when WSJK-Sneedville (Channel 2) signed on the air and began to broadcast daily instructional programming to K-12 schools. Governed by the Tennessee State Board of Education, the mission of WSJK was to enhance classroom instruction. Over the years, the mission of WSJK expanded beyond the classroom to include award-winning programming from PBS and other sources; as well as the production of local programming.
Capturing East Tennessee MomentsGreat changes began during the 1980s when WSJK was presented with the opportunity to serve as the supplier of on-site video at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. The channel also became the first to air regularly-scheduled telecasts of both the University of Tennessee Basketball games after introducing the concept of satellite teleconferencing to East Tennessee. In September 1983, East Tennessee Public Communications Corporation formed as a nonprofit organization and took over governance of WSJK from the Tennessee State Board of Education.
Expanding Our ReachTo improve the signal in Knoxville and surrounding counties, WKOP-Knoxville (Channel 15) signed on September 1, 1990 and began broadcasting from a transmitter and tower located on top of Sharp’s Ridge.
New TechnologyIn 2000, WSJK-DT (Channel 41) and WKOP-DT (Channel 17) signed on the air as our station's first digital signals. In 2002, WSJK-TV was renamed WETP-TV and both stations adopted the name East Tennessee Public Television, soon becoming known as "ETPtv." In early 2009, our station became one of the first stations in East Tennessee to broadcast a digital signal 24 hours a day in high definition.
A New NameAfter the addition of a new tower and multiple service providers in our area, viewers now receive our programming on a variety of channels. So in 2010, the station changed it's name to better reflect everything we are: The local PBS affiliate that offers educational resources for all East Tennesseans, on and off the air. We are now East Tennessee PBS.
East Tennessee PBS is primarily supported through contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations in the East Tennessee area. These funds are supplemented by support from the federal, state and local government. With the generous support of our loyal members and community, East Tennessee PBS will continue to provide lifelong learning opportunities that educate, entertain and challenge minds.