WHYY-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 12, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States that is licensed to Wilmington, Delaware. Owned by WHYY, Inc., it is sister to National Public Radio (NPR) member station WHYY-FM (90.9). The two stations share studios on Independence Mall in Center City Philadelphia and transmitter facilities in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia; WHYY-TV also operates a secondary studio in Wilmington. WHYY-TV is one of three PBS member stations serving the Philadelphia market, alongside Allentown-based WLVT-TV (channel 39) and NJTV (channels 23 and 52).
WHYY-TV operates a full-time satellite station, WDPB (virtual channel 64, UHF digital channel 44) in Seaford, Delaware, which serves the Delmarva Peninsula region. WDPB's transmitter is located on Virginia Avenue in Seaford. It is the other PBS member station serving the Salisbury, Maryland market, alongside MPT (channel 28).
The station signed on the air on September 2, 1957, originally broadcasting on UHF channel 35. It was the 23rd non-commercial educational television station in the United States, and the second to operate in Pennsylvania (WQED-TV in Pittsburgh had signed on three years earlier). It was owned by the Metropolitan Philadelphia Educational Radio and Television Corporation. It broadcast from a studio on Chestnut Street in Center City, which had previously been occupied by WCAU-TV (channel 10).
The station found the going difficult at first, in part because television sets were not required to have UHF tuning capability (it wasn't until 1962 that UHF tuning was made mandatory on all TV sets). Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had collapsed most of Delaware, the Lehigh Valley and South Jersey into the Philadelphia market, and the channel 35 transmitter was not nearly strong enough to serve this large area.
Then, in 1958, WVUE, a station on VHF channel 12 in Wilmington which had lost its NBC affiliation and then struggled as an independent station, went off the air. WHYY's owners applied to move to the vacant channel 12, which was the nearest available VHF allocation to Philadelphia. A few years earlier, the FCC had changed its rules to allow a station to have its main studio in a city outside its official city of license. The FCC granted WHYY's request to move the station to channel 12 in 1963, and WHYY began broadcasting on that allocation for the first time on September 12. It operated from WVUE's old tower in Glassboro, New Jersey. WVUE is now the call sign that belongs to the Fox affiliated station in New Orleans. However, for all intents and purposes, WHYY has always been a Philadelphia station; to this day it identifies its service area on-air as "Wilmington/Philadelphia". A similar situation exists in New York City; its flagship PBS station, WNET is licensed to Newark, New Jersey. As part of an agreement with Delaware officials and the FCC, WHYY-TV also opened a satellite studio in Wilmington, and began producing a newscast focused on Delaware issues, Delaware Tonight.
Later in 1963, WHYY moved its main studio in Philadelphia to the former facility operated by WFIL-TV (channel 6, now WPVI-TV) on 46th and Market streets. In 1971, WHYY-TV moved its transmitter to the Roxborough tower farm, home to most of Philadelphia's television stations. The new tower provides at least grade B coverage as far west as Lancaster; as far south as Dover, Delaware and as far north as New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1979, channel 12 moved to its current facilities on Independence Mall, first in the old Living History Center museum and theatre (which served as the taping location for Nickelodeon game shows such as Double Dare, Finders Keepers, Think Fast, and the Bill Cosby revival of You Bet Your Life) before it was transformed into their current building in 1999 as part of the redevelopment of the Independence Mall area.
In 1984, WHYY bought Seaford-based WDPB, which had signed on three years earlier in 1981, and turned it into a full-time satellite of channel 12. Controversy erupted in the summer of 2007, when station CEO Bill Marrazzo was cited by the watchdog group Charity Navigator as the highest paid CEO in all of public broadcasting. Frustrated by a perceived lack of local coverage, in December 2009 the city of Wilmington filed a challenge to WHYY's license with the FCC.
|TV stations in Pennsylvania|
|TV stations in Philadelphia, including the Lehigh Valley and Tri State Area|
|WDPN 2 (MeTV)|
KYW 3 (CBS)
|TV stations in the Delmarva Peninsula, including Salisbury, Maryland and Dover, Delaware|
|WBOC 16 (CBS) |
WCPB 28 (PBS)
WRDE-LD 31 (NBC)
WGDV-LD 32 (AZA)
WMDE 36 (Ind.)
WBOC-LD 42 (TLM)
WMDT 47 (ABC)
WDPB 64 (PBS)