Stations’ bootstrap stories

Most histories of public broadcasting shortchange the stories of the hundreds of grassroots struggles — often as ingenious as they were persistent — to create community and statewide institutions.

Alabama Public Television — one of the first public TV operations licensed to a state government

Boise State Radio — a multistream network that serves Idaho from Boise State University

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ-FM) — a former school board unit that became a strong national producer and started Vocalo, an innovative experiment in broadcasting its audience

Georgia Public Broadcasting as described in the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Georgia Humanities Council

ideastream in Cleveland — a nonprofit combination of WCPN-FM and WVIZ-TV and now owner of classical WCLV-FM

Idaho Public Television, based in Boise — the state-owned network that is Idaho’s only interconnected, universally available medium

Iowa Public Radio, now based in Des Moines — a relatively recent combination of university stations, as reported in Current

Iowa Public Television

Jefferson Public Radio (KSOR) in Ashland, Ore. — uses pubradio’s largest translator network to serve sparsely populated southern Oregon and northern California (an area proposed in the past to become the State of Jefferson)

KCET-TV in Los Angeles — until 2011 a major PBS outlet, which broke with the network in 2010 and began a new life as an independent pubTV channel

KCTS-TV in Seattle, which got its start at the University of Washington

KERA-FM/TV in Dallas/Ft. Worth, which celebrated its 50th anniversary recently and acquired a second FM station named KXT-FM

KING-FM, Seattle’s classical station run by the Bullitt family since 1948, donated to a nonprofit in 1994 and converted to a noncommercial station in 2011

KUAR-FM — University of Arkansas, Little Rock

KLRN-TV in San Antonio began as the station for both Austin and San Antonio in 1962 and split into two separate licensees in the 1980s

KNME-TV in Albuquerque, N.M., looks back on its first 50 years

KPFA in Berkeley — first listener-funded noncommercial station, flagship of the politically progressive Pacifica chain

KPLU-FM — serves Seattle, Tacoma and Puget Sound with “NPR News and All That Jazz”

KQED in San Francisco — a fertile producer in public TV’s early days, now one of its most-watched stations

KUHT (HoustonPBS) — the country’s first public TV station, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003

KUNM-FM in Albuquerque, N.M.

KSMQ-TV, established as a teaching tool in Austin, Minn.

KWCM/KSMN, serving western Minnesota from Appleton

Louisiana Public Broadcasting, a state-operated network

Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media, a powerhouse hybrid of a statewide broadcaster and public radio’s No. 2 national producer/distributor

Nebraska Educational Telecommunications based in Lincoln — a leader in comprehensive state services via radio and new media as well as television, with plenty of vision, mission, values and goals

New Hampshire Public Radio, based in Concord — serves the Granite State through seven transmitters and four translators

NJTV — Public Media NJ, an affiliate of WNET, that won responsibility for New Jersey’s state network after the state closed NJN in 2011

OETA: The Oklahoma Network — created in 1953 by the first state law instituting a public TV network

Ozarks Public Television at Missouri State University in Springfield, also serving Joplin

Pacifica Radio — a chain of five pubradio stations historically dedicated to peace and freedom

Prairie Public, based in Fargo, N.D. — North Dakota’s nonprofit statewide public TV and radio network

Rocky Mountain PBS, Denver

South Carolina ETV, based in Columbia — a state-owned public TV network known locally as ETV, where even the radio service is called ETV Radio

South Dakota Public Broadcasting, based in Vermillion, the state-operated public TV and radio network

WAMU-FM at American University, Washington, D.C.

WBUR-FM at Boston University — news/information station with a growing stable of national productions

WETA-TV serving Washington, D.C. — a major production house for public TV with a showpiece role in the nation’s capital, founded by Elizabeth Campbell

WFIU at Indiana University in Bloomington — recently celebrated its 50th anniversary

WGBH-FM/TV (timeline) in Boston — the most prolific producer for PBS and an active producer for public radio, with outlying stations from Springfield, Mass., to Cape Cod and Rhode Island. Its alumni site written by retirees is a great resource.

WHA in Madison and Wisconsin Public Radio — probably the oldest public broadcasting station in the country, as described by Wisconsin Public Radio. A separate article by WPR’s Randall Davidson is posted on Portal Wisconsin.

WHYY in Philadelphia

WILL at the University of Illinois — one of the earliest educational radio stations and longtime home of NAEB, predecessor of NPR and PBS

WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., which has celebrated its 40th anniversary

WKSU-FM at Kent State University — a nationally prominent station serving the Cleveland area

WLRH-FM, Huntsville, Ala., the only radio station co-owned by Alabama Public Television

WMHT-TV/FM in Albany/Schenectady, N.Y.

WNET in New York, a flagship producing station of public TV

WNYC (New York Public Radio)

WOI at Iowa State University — an early radio station with roots going back to 1912, shaped by the populist spirit of extension education, whose TV sister station went commercial

WOSU at Ohio State University, Columbus

WOUB at Ohio University, Athens

WPFW, Pacifica’s outpost in Washington, D.C.

WPLN in Nashville — Nashville Public Radio

WQED in Pittsburgh — one of the earliest freestanding community stations, with a history of high-quality program production

WRKF in Baton Rouge, La. — a latecomer to public radio, founded by the community in 1975

WRTI-FM in Philadelphia — Temple University’s station

WSKG-FM/TV in Binghamton, N.Y.

WMVS/WMVT in Milwaukee, Wis.

WSVH in Savannah, Ga.

WTTW in Chicago, a strong producer of local programs that also operates a leading classical music station, WFMT-FM, with a mixed commercial/public identity

WTVP in Peoria, Ill.

WUFT in Gainesville, Fla.

WVIA in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

WVIZ in Cleveland

WVPT in Harrisonburg, Va.

WVXU in Cincinnati

WYEP, community radio station in Pittsburgh

WYES-TV in New Orleans

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