Vermont PBS (VPBS) is the PBS member network for the state of Vermont. Originally owned and operated by the University Of Vermont, the network has been operating since October 16, 1967. Eventually, UVM sold off the station to Vermont ETV, Inc., a community-based nonprofit group. Until 1997, it was known as Vermont Educational Television, or Vermont ETV (which is still the station's corporate name). Between 1997 and May 2014, it was known as Vermont Public Television or VPT.

VPBS's studios and offices are in Colchester, near Burlington.

VPBS stations

StationCity of licenseChannels
TV / RF
First air dateCall letters’
meaning
ERPHAATFacility IDTransmitter Coordinates
WETKBurlington33 (PSIP)
32 (UHF)
October 16, 1967Educational
Television
90 kW830 m69944
WVERRutland28 (PSIP)
9 (VHF)
March 18, 1968VERmont15 kW385 m69946
WVTBSt. Johnsbury20 (PSIP)
18 (UHF)
February 26, 1968VT = postal
abbreviation
of Vermont
B for Burke Mtn.
Transmitter Site
75 kW590 m69940
WVTAWindsor41 (PSIP)
24 (UHF)
March 18, 1968VT = postal
abbreviation
of Vermont
A for Ascutney Mtn.
Transmitter Site
55.7 kW692 m69943

VPBS was also relayed on analog translators W36AX in Manchester and W53AS in Bennington, until those stations' licenses were cancelled by the Federal Communications Commission on December 28, 2011.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[2][3][4][5]
xx.11080i16:9VPBSMain VPBS programming / PBS
xx.2VPBS+PBS Plus
xx.3480i16:9CREATECreate
xx.4WORLDWorld

Analog-to-digital conversion

VPBS' stations shut down their analog signals on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009).[6][7][8]

Each station's post-transition digital allocations are as follows. All stations remained on its pre-transition digital channels. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers map to its analog channel position as its virtual channel:

Call SignAnalog ChannelDigital ChannelPSIP / virtual channel
WETK333233
WVER28928
WVTB201820
WVTA412441

Fundraising

In terms of market and population size, Vermont PBS is the smallest PBS member in New England, and one of the smallest in the entire PBS system. Most of its viewership lives in Canada, principally in Montreal, a city which is ten times larger than the entire population of VPBS's American viewing area. This is a similar comparison with WPBS-DT in Watertown, New York; most of its audience lives near Ottawa. It relies heavily on its Canadian viewership for its survival; most of the major stations in Vermont have lessened their reliance on Canadian revenue in recent years. VPBS not only takes its large Canadian audience into account in its programming, but it accepts Canadian dollars for its fundraising efforts even though most of them are targeted toward Vermont viewers. It also operates a separate fundraising arm for its Canadian members, the Public Television Association of Quebec.

As is true of Vermont's population as a whole, most of VPBS's viewership lives primarily in rural areas or in towns and small cities. The only major urban area that its signal reaches is Montreal.

VPBS shares much of its most valuable market (the Champlain Valley in Vermont and New York as well as the southern Quebec and Montreal area) with Plattsburgh, New York-based WCFE-TV. In the Upper Connecticut Valley, VPBS competes with New Hampshire Public Television, while in Bennington and Windham Counties (the only Vermont counties not in the Burlington / Plattsburgh television market), VPBS also competes with WMHTSchenectady, New York and WGBY-TVSpringfield, Massachusetts.

Broadcast area

Vermont PBS's four transmitters cover almost all of Vermont and bordering regions of New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and southern Quebec, including Montreal.

On cable, VPBS can be seen on Comcast, Burlington channel 6 and Bennington channel 7, Burlington Telecom Channels 6 and 206 (HD), and Charter Plattsburgh channel 3. On Vidéotron's cable systems in Montreal, it can be seen on channel 59 in west Montreal, channel 6 in central and east Montreal, and channel 55 on Illicodigital cable. WETK is also seen across nearly all of the state on the Burlington/Plattsburgh DirecTV and Dish Network feeds.

Some VPBS-produced programs can also be seen on WGBY-TV in Springfield, Massachusetts.