WGCU, virtual channel 30 (UHF digital channel 31), is a PBS-member television station located in Fort Myers, Florida, United States. The station is owned by Florida Gulf Coast University. WGCU maintains studio facilities located on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus in Fort Myers, and its transmitter is located in unincorporated southern Charlotte County.

The station is known on-air as "TV 3", derived from WGCU's primary cable position in the market on Comcast Xfinity and most other cable providers in the area. This practice stems in part from the area's exceptionally high cable penetration rate, which is one of the highest in the United States. In addition, WGCU is carried on cable providers in Sarasota. WGCU has long claimed Sarasota as part of its primary coverage area, even though Sarasota is part of the Tampa Bay media market.

National programming on WGCU comes from PBS, American Public Television, and other distributors, as well as from independent producers.

History

The station first signed on the air on August 15, 1983 as WSFP-TV. It was originally owned by the University of South Florida in Tampa, owners of Tampa Bay's secondary PBS member station, WUSF-TV, and primary NPR member WUSF-FM. At the time, the Fort Myers/Naples area was the only media market in Florida without a public television station of any sort that was available over-the-air. Area cable providers usually piped WEDU in Tampa or WPBT in Miami, depending on the location. WSFP-TV operated as a typical PBS member station.

The broadcast license was transferred to the new Florida Gulf Coast University in 1996, while construction on the university's campus was being completed. The station then changed its call letters to WGCU on August 11, 1997, two months before FGCU opened.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[2]
30.11080i16:9WGCU-HDMain WGCU programming / PBS
30.2480i4:3W0RLDWorld
30.316:9CREATECreate (6 a.m.-6 p.m.)
PBS Encore (6 p.m.-6 a.m.)
30.44:3FLCHThe Florida Channel

Analog-to-digital conversion

WGCU discontinued regular programming on analog signal, over UHF channel 30, 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. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 31,[3] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 30.