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WGBY-TV, virtual channel 57 (UHF digital channel 22), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States. Owned by the Boston-based WGBH Educational Foundation, it is a sister station to that organization's flagship and namesake, WGBH-TV. However, it brands as a separate, locally-focused PBS outlet. WGBY provides programming to much of western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, with studios based in the Irene Mennen Hunter Public Media Center on Hampden Street alongside I-91 in downtown Springfield (named for the heiress to the Mennen personal care fortune and former WGBY board member). Its transmitter is located on the peak of Mount Tom in Holyoke with the area's commercial television stations. WGBY can also be received in Windham County, Vermont on Comcast channel 2.
|Channels||Digital: 22 (UHF)|
(to move to 13 (VHF))
Virtual: 57 (PSIP)
|Owner||WGBH Educational Foundation|
(to be operated by New England Public Media under program service agreement)
|First air date||September 26, 1971|
|Call letters' meaning||Western Massachusetts |
Great Blue Yonder
(referring to WGBH's transmitter and distance from mother station; all WGBH television stations include these two letters)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
57 (UHF, 1971–2008)
58 (UHF, 2000–2009)
|Transmitter power||50 kW|
30 kW (CP)
|Height||306 m (1,004 ft)|
302.9 m (994 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
The station first signed on the air on September 26, 1971 as a PBS member station. Prior to the station's sign-on (and for the network's first year of existence), viewers in Western Massachusetts were only able to view PBS programming over the air via WMHT from Albany or WEDH from Hartford (the latter remains available on most cable providers in the Springfield market). Its digital programming channels include WGBY Kids, Create and World, which are similar to the WGBH channels of the same names seen in Boston on WGBH-TV and WGBX-TV, but have some changes made to include locally produced WGBY programs. In October 2006, WGBY became the first television station in New England to produce all of its local programming content in high definition. Some Spanish-language programming is also broadcast for Springfield's Hispanic and Latino community.
Unlike its Boston counterpart, WGBY has not been networked with an affiliated NPR member station in the past; the area has been served by the Five College Consortium's WFCR in Amherst and WNNZ/WAIC, collectively known as New England Public Radio. The WGBH Educational Foundation held the license of WFCR from 1961 until its transfer to the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1967, four years before WGBY-TV began operations.
On April 11, 2019, WGBY and WFCR announced that they would consolidate operations under the New England Public Media banner, effective in July; WGBH will retain the WGBY-TV license, with NEPM operating the station under a program service operating agreement. All of the various NEPR stations and WGBY will continue to have their licenses and facilities owned by their individual organizations and schools.
WGBY features several locally-produced programs, including the daily program Connecting Point, which has local features and roundtables involving aspects of Pioneer Valley arts, issues, economic, criminal, and educational issues. The Friday edition of the series is entitled The State We're In and deals with local and Commonwealth political issues, along with debate programming in election years.
As Schools Match Wits is a long-running local quiz bowl program which originated on WWLP in 1961, and moved to WGBY in 2007 under license from WWLP due to FCC regulations involving closed captioning. The program is co-produced with Westfield State University.
Finally, Presencia is a weekly bilingual program which spotlights the region's Hispanic-American community, and uses captioning, dubbing, and subtitling to allow both Spanish and English-speaking viewers to equally watch the program.
On August 4, 2008, WGBY filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to discontinue regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 57, on November 5, 2008—some three months prior to the original mandated analog shut-off date. The petition cited the need to replace the current analog antenna with the post transition digital 22 antenna. WGBY also filed for an STA to operate at 50% analog power prior to the early shut down date due to equipment failure Although it had an assigned digital channel that it would move to post-transition that differed from its original digital channel, WGBY continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition allocation (UHF channel 58). On April 27, 2009, the station's digital signal later moved to UHF channel 22, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
As a result of the FCC's 2016 spectrum auction, the WGBH Educational Foundation accepted a $57 million offer to move WGBY-TV to the VHF spectrum in 2019 on channel 13, along with WGBH-TV for $161.7 million.
- Kinney, Jim (April 11, 2019). "New England Public Radio, WGBY-TV in Springfield to merge; boosting local news coverage". masslive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- Falk, Tyler (April 11, 2019). "New England Public Radio and WGBY to combine operations". Current. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- Sefton, Dru; Editor, Senior. "Bilingual magazine show premieres this week on Massachusetts' WGBY". Current. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF). 13 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- Kelly, Ray (January 13, 2017). "WGBY-TV, Channel 57, making PBS Kids a 24/7 offering". The Republican. MassLive Media. Retrieved January 30, 2017.