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Milwaukee Public Television

For information on Channels 10 and 36 individually, see WMVS and WMVT
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
Branding Milwaukee Public Television
Slogan Opening Your World
Channels Digital:
Virtual: 10 (PSIP)
WMVT: 35 (UHF)
Virtual: 36 (PSIP)
Subchannels see table below
Affiliations PBS
Owner Milwaukee Area Technical College
First air date WMVS: October 28, 1957
WMVT: January 29, 1963
Former affiliations NET
(1957–1970 on WMVS; 1963–1970 on WMVT)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: WMVS / WMVT Profile

Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) is the collective brand for two PBS member television stations located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: WMVS (channel 10) and WMVT (channel 36). Both stations are owned and operated by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).


WMVT and WMVS share studio facilities located at the Continuing Education Center on the Milwaukee Area Technical College campus at 1036 North 8th Street in downtown Milwaukee; by coincidence of the city's grid system, MPTV has the unique distinction of its studio's address number incorporating the channel numbers for both of the stations (most television and radio stations that have their channel number as an address use a vanity address or street not within a community's numbering system).

The stations maintain transmitter facilities at the MPTV Tower, located at the northern end of Humboldt Boulevard in Milwaukee's Estabrook Park neighborhood; the facility went into service in 1999, and is owned in conjunction with the American Tower Corporation (MPTV formerly leased space on the WITI TV Tower for WMVS and WMVT's respective transmitters from the 1960s until 1981, and then WVTV's tower until 1999).[1] Besides transmitting WMVS and WMVT, MPTV/American Tower leases tower and transmitter space on the MPTV Tower for WVTV and WCGV-TV (channels 18 and 24, both owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group), religious independent station WVCY-TV (channel 30, owned by VCY America), WMKE-CD (channel 7, carrying Soul of the South Network programming), WPXE (channel 55, owned by Ion Media Networks) and WBWT-LP (channel 38, owned by Adalante Media Group and the only analog station that transmits from the tower). This provides MPTV an additional and steady source of revenue.

Milwaukee Public Television has some of the highest viewership of any PBS member station in the United States. The group's Channel 10 Great TV Auction leads the nation's PBS auctions in prime time viewer ratings and is the #1 PBS auction in the nation, based on net revenue.[2]

WMVS and WMVT are the only public television stations in Wisconsin which are not affiliated with the Madison-based Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) (a state network that was created fifteen years after the founding of WMVS, and is owned by the University of Wisconsin Extension), although WMVT does carry some of the same Wisconsin Educational Communications Board instructional programming as WPT.

Digital television

WMVS broadcasts its digital signal on VHF channel 8, and WMVT broadcasts on UHF channel 35; the stations respectively map to their respective former analog channel allocations via PSIP, 10 and 36. All of the digital subchannels mentioned below broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Until September 1, 2010, WMVS provided its main channel feed in 1080i HD, while WMVT's digital channel was used for multicasting in 480i standard definition. However, with the complexities of the digital transition causing viewers to be unable to receive WMVS's over-the-air signal – as has been a major problem in other markets – the MPTV stations re-mapped their digital channels on September 1, 2010 in order to maximize their services, and to prepare for WMVT's 36.1 channel to eventually be transmitted in high definition in response to viewer demand. The main 10.1 signal was also reduced to 720p, as opposed to PBS's preferred 1080i format.

Most of the services also broadcast over Time Warner Cable's digital tier on that provider's southeastern Wisconsin systems, and began to be carried on Charter Communications systems on October 15, 2008.

WMVS and WMVT were once unique in American television for not providing a digital simulcast of the stations' programming schedule for their analog channels, and the channels were transposed, with the multicast carried over WMVS's channel 8, and the HD signal featuring channel 10's programming (which until 2007 only featured PBS's basic HD schedule with oft-repeated programming) on channel 35, WMVT's digital allocation; this was done in order to give MPTV's main signal the best possible coverage area with low interference, as WMVS-DT shared a frequency with the analog channel 8 signal of NBC affiliate WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan. WOOD-TV's analog signal propagated easily across Lake Michigan and was sometimes receivable clearly in the lakeshore communities of Port Washington and Sheboygan. WOOD-TV likewise placed translator stations in Muskegon and Holland to avert cross-lake interference from WMVS-DT and to provide extended analog service for those communities. The issues between WOOD-TV and WMVS remained until the June 12, 2009 digital transition, when WOOD-TV shut down its analog signal on channel 8 to broadcast exclusively over digital channel 7.

The simulcasting situation was rectified on September 1, 2008, with both stations launching a simulcast of both channels' analog signals on their digital broadcast feeds ahead of the original February 17, 2009 digital switchover date and beginning broadcasts on their own signals.[3] At that time, MPTV's PBS Kids channel, which formerly aired on 10.3, was discontinued due to PBS ceasing the PBS Kids Channel service to focus more on the cable-only PBS Kids Sprout, and WMVS' 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekday schedule shifted to entirely children's programming to compensate.[4] To assuage viewers in one of the show's most popular markets, MPTV promised to continue to carry Mister Rogers' Neighborhood weekdays at noon despite PBS ending national distribution of the program on a five-day-a-week basis;[5] this ended in late January 2010 with a sharp increase in program rights payments for the series by the distributor of the series (the program now only airs on Sunday mornings).

Due to the bandwidth required for subchannels, and budget concerns, WMVT's main 36.1 signal remained in standard definition until February 7, 2011, when it was converted to high definition.[6]

A secondary translator station for WMVS broadcasting on UHF channel 36 signed on the air on August 14, 2012, transmitting from the MPTV Tower to better serve the main portion of WMVS's service area with UHF-only antennas.[7] Also planned is a boost in power of the main WMVS signal courtesy of a Public Telecommunications Facilities Program award.[8] The channel 36 translator relays all four multicast feeds on WMVS, and to allow differentiation between the 8 and 36 channels and reduced confusion, the PSIP info adds a "1" before the subchannel designation, thus the 36 translator airs virtual channels 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, and 10.14.

After the DTV Delay Act was passed by the U.S. Congress, MPTV, along with Milwaukee's commercial Big Four network stations and two other full-power stations, decided to convert to digital-only broadcasts on the rescheduled transition date of June 12, 2009 instead. WMVS and WMVT wound down their analog broadcasting operations at 9 a.m. on that date, prefaced with a broadcast of the station's inaugural introduction followed by the national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner", then a final display of the Indian Head test card and test tone before both stations signed off their analog service.

Digital channels

Channel[9][10] Programming
Description of subchannel
10.1 (HD)
36.2 (SD)
MPTV-10.1 HD
Channel 10's programming schedule in 720p high definition, with blue pillarboxing for standard definition programs; it also carries PBS's default satellite schedule during the overnight hours.[11]
An SD simulcast on digital channel 36.2 was added in September 2010 in order for viewers who receive the stations via antenna with problems receiving VHF channel 8 to view WMVS' programming in some manner; it is carried with forced framing to letterboxing on standard 4:3 sets.
MPTV World Features PBS's news and public affairs programming, along with government hearings, presidential speeches and some local government programming.
MPTV V-me Spanish language public television network; it features no local programming.
MPTV Weather A customized version of The Local AccuWeather Channel which does not feature AccuWeather's national forecast segments or advertising and is completely focused on looping weather forecast maps and temperature data without any meteorologist-presented forecasting, and audio from local NOAA Weather Radio station KEC60.[12] Until September 2010, it featured weather conditions imagery from the National Weather Service and Doppler weather radar from the Sullivan, Wisconsin forecast office (mainly video stills and looping GIF images) from satellite imagery.
36.1 WMVT
MPTV-36.1 HD
Channel 36's programming schedule in 720p high definition, with green pillarboxing for standard definition programs.[6]
36.3¹ MPTV Create Home and garden instructional television programming in 480i widescreen; it features no local programming.
36.4² MPTV Classical Audio from WFMT/Chicago's Beethoven Satellite Network, with visual title/artist information.
36.5 MPTV Jazz Audio from WFMT's Jazz Satellite Network, with visual title/artist information.
36.6 MPTV Traffic A loop of WISDOT's Milwaukee traffic camera network, with audio from their traffic information radio station, WPTJ444/WPZK577 1610 AM.
  • ¹ - Create also airs overnights on WMVT after 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. until 6 a.m., depending on if the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board is broadcasting instructional programming via Wisconsin Public Television.
  • ² - BSN was used as the second audio program feed on WMVT's analog channel during programming without DVS or alternate language tracks.
  • ³ - KEC60 was used as the second audio program feed on WMVS' analog channel during programming without DVS or alternate language tracks.

Instructional division

MPTV, as part of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, also provides the student television station facility and production support for the Television and Video Production Division at MATC. TVP, formerly known as 'Telecasting', predates the stations and has produced several hundred broadcast video professionals over the years.

The two-year program is unique in Wisconsin's technical college system, as well as nationwide. Stations licensed directly to a college are fairly rare in the PBS system, especially in larger markets, and even fewer are attached to a technical/two-year college. As a result, students in the division enroll from all over the state. The student population also tends to include out-of-state students as well as international students. As such, one of the major goals of a TVP student during their time at MATC/MPTV is to produce a program of educational television or entertaining interest to air during the organization's Student Operations Day, which occurs on a Saturday in late April or early May, where student programs air on WMVT throughout the broadcast day.

See also


External links