WTVS, UHFdigital channel 43 (virtual channel 56), is a PBSmembertelevision station located in Detroit, Michigan, United States. The station is owned by the Detroit Educational Television Foundation. WTVS maintains studio facilities and offices located at the Riley Broadcast Center and HD Studios in Wixom,[2] with a satellite studio located at the Maccabees Building in Midtown Detroit;[4] its transmitter is located at 8 Mile and Meyers Road in Oak Park (operating on the same tower as WMYD, channel 20, and WWJ-TV, channel 62).

The station partners with Detroit Public Schools in the management of classical and jazz music station WRCJ-FM (90.9). WTVS is also one of only three Detroit stations that mention Windsor and London, Ontario, Canada as part of its primary service area (alongside WDIV-TV, channel 4, and WMYD).


The station first signed on the air on October 3, 1955; WTVS began broadcasting in color in 1968. Previously the studios were in the New Center area of Detroit which are now served for its fixed satellite services.[5][6] WTVS broadcasts its digital signal from the same tower as at a height of 1073 feet (327 m). Prior to the digital TV switchover, WTVS transmitted its signal from a 1,000-foot (300 m) tower located near the intersection of 11 Mile and Inkster Roads in Southfield, along with WMYD (channel 20) and WKBD-TV (channel 50). Today, only WKBD-TV and WPXD-TV (channel 31) broadcast from that tower.

On January 11, 2016, Detroit Public Television announced a partnership with WKAR, the PBS station serving Central Michigan operated by the Michigan State University, in which they will jointly operate a 24-hour children's television service to be carried by both stations.[7]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[8]
56.11080i16:9WTVS-HDMain WTVS programming / PBS
56.2480iWTVS-SDDPTV Plus (World)

Many newer television receivers also list WTVS subchannels 43.177 and 43.193. These subchannels are artifact channels from the UpdateTV service.

WTVS also has plans for a Mobile DTV feed of subchannel 56.1.[9][10]

Analog-to-digital conversion

WTVS became the first public broadcaster in the state of Michigan to offer a digital high-definition feed, launching their simulcast on UHF 43 in October, 2000 (exact date not yet known).[11] WTVS shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 56, at 12:00 p.m. on April 16, 2009; the switchover occurred after a presentation of the national anthems of Canada ("O Canada") and the United States ("The Star-Spangled Banner").[2] WTVS management cited repeated failures of the station's 28-year-old analog transmitter as the reason for ceasing its analog signal on April 16 rather than the June 12 transition date for full-power stations (the analog transmitter had failed seven times between January 1 and April 16 alone). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 43.[2] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.

On October 12, 2009, WTVS upgraded to a new 600 kW transmitter, tripling its effective radiated power and vastly increasing the coverage area of its signal.[2]


Locally produced programming on the station includes Get Up! Get Out, In the Frame: Exploring the DIA, Leaders on Leadership, American Black Journal and Am I Right. WTVS is also a leading producer of fundraising programs for PBS.

Cable coverage

WTVS is carried on most cable television providers in Southeast Michigan, Southwestern Ontario and parts of the British Columbia Southern Interior (WTVS is carried in that province despite the existence of KCTS-TV in Seattle, the PBS member station commonly found in that province). WTVS is one of five Detroit television stations available in Canada on cable through Shaw Broadcast Services and on satellite provider Shaw Direct; it began to be distributed by Cancom (now Shaw Broadcast Services) in 1983 as the PBS station signal for Canadian cable television systems too distant to receive a border station over-the-air. Since then, it had developed a strong base of Canadian viewer support in all provinces and territories.