WFYI, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 21), is a PBS member television station located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting, and is a sister station to NPR member radio station WFYI-FM (90.1). WFYI maintains studio facilities located between Pierson and Illinois Streets (using a North Meridian Street address) in northwestern Indianapolis, within the city's Television Row section, and its transmitter is located on West 79th Street and Township Line Road on the city's northwest side (near Meridian Hills).
On cable, WFYI is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 3, Bright House Networks and AT&T U-verse channel 20 in standard definition and in high definition on Xfinity and AT&T U-verse channel 1020, and Bright House Networks digital channels 1020 and 1329.
Local community leader Ardath Y. Burkhart formed a small grassroots campaign to launch an noncommercial educational television station to serve Indianapolis. Burkhart (whose group became known as "Ardath's Army") quickly gained support in the community by stating his case to residents in Indianapolis and surrounding counties. The volunteers raised enough funds over the course of a few weeks to cover a year's worth of operating expenses.
The station first signed on the air on October 4, 1970; for its first two days on the air, it served as a member station of National Educational Television, before becoming a member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) when it launched on October 6, 1970. WFYI's transmitter originally operated at low power, providing a signal reach not far outside of downtown Indianapolis. It started with a small staff of nine employees from its Meridian Street studio facilities (located just north of downtown), which formerly housed the headquarters of utility company Indiana Gas; despite the fact that color television had become commonplace at the time, the station could only afford to purchase three cameras that were only capable of recording locally produced programming in black-and-white. The station eventually increased its transmitter power to allow its signal to cover a 58 miles (93 km) radius from the tower, expanding to cover a larger portion of Central Indiana.
In the early 1980s, WFYI's programming was originally relayed on translator station W39AA in Fort Wayne (the UHF channel 39 allocation in that part of the region had previously been occupied by fellow PBS station WBGU-TV in Bowling Green); that station became a separate, full-powered PBS member outlet, WFWA, in December 1986.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|20.1||1080i||16:9||WFYI 1||Main WFYI programming / PBS|
|20.2||480i||4:3||WFYI 2||V-me ("WFYI 2")|
|20.3||WFYI 3||Create (4:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) / Indiana Channel (4:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.) /|
Classic Arts Showcase (1:00-4:00 a.m.) ("WFYI 3")
On digital subchannel 20.2, the station carries programming from the Spanish language network V-me. Digital subchannel 20.3 airs a mix of programming from Create during the daytime hours, programming from the Indiana Channel during the late afternoon and evening hours and the Classic Arts Showcase during the overnight hours.
WFYI signed on its digital signal in 2003. The station shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, at 11:59 p.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. WFYI ran a video in the minutes leading up to the shutdown of the analog signal overviewing its primary digital channel and two subchannels ("WFYI 2" and "WFYI 3"), which re-aired following a retrospective on the station's history. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 21. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 20.
WFYI's most notable locally produced programs include the travel programs Across Indiana and Indiana Expeditions with Rick Crosslin, the business discussion program INside Indiana Business, legal advice program Indiana Lawmakers, film showcase Reel Time and the public affairs programs Indiana PrimeTime and Indiana Week in Review. The station's locally originated programming has earned WFYI over 30 Regional Emmy Awards since the mid-2000s.