WJCT's television station is virtual and VHF digital channel 7, and is the PBS member station for the Jacksonville area. Its studio facilities are located on Festival Park Avenue, near EverBank Field in Downtown Jacksonville's Stadium District and its transmitter is located on Hogan Road in the Killarney Shores neighborhood. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 8 (cable channel 7 is occupied by a leased access channel) and in high definition on digital channel 440.

The station first signed on the air on September 10, 1958. WJCT's schedule includes programming from PBS and other programming services, including the BBC and American Public Television. WJCT also produces and broadcasts local news, public affairs programs and documentaries.

On April 6, 2009, WJCT's analog signal on channel 7 left the air for good.


Before the AirwavesEdit

In 1952, Dr. Heywood Dowling, a local podiatrist, learned that the Federal Communications Commission had reserved 242 local television channels for non-commercial educational use, including Channel 7 in Jacksonville. Dowling began a six-year effort to license and fund an educational television station for Florida's First Coast.

Today in the LegislatureEdit

In 1973, Florida Public Broadcasting, a joint venture between WJCT and Tallahassee PBS station WFSU-TV, under the aegis of the Florida Public Broadcasting Service, began a program covering of the Florida Legislature, which was syndicated to Florida's eight PBS member stations, from a mobile facility located on the grounds of the State Capitol. The program, Today in the Legislature, was the first of its kind in the United States, preceding legislative programs in other states, and U.S. Congressional coverage by C-SPAN.

Reaction to the first year of the program was positive. The state legislature dedicated funds to expand the program, managed exclusively by WJCT-TV.[20] Production facilities migrated into the (old) Capitol building, with engineering and studio facilities constructed on the third floor. The first broadcast from the new facility was on April 2, 1974. Today in the Legislature expanded into an hour-long weekday program during the legislative session, with a one-hour Spanish language summary, Hoy en la Legislatura produced on Fridays as well as a sign language program. It was hosted by veteran broadcaster Jim Lewis, with additional commentary by Elizabeth "Bib" Willis. Research, engineering, and production crews were composed chiefly of recent graduates from the Florida State University Department of Communications (now the Florida State University College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts), nearly all under the age of 25, including future Georgia legislator Chesley V. Morton, who worked as a still photographer and camera operator for the program as well as producer Elliott C. Mitchell and director John P. Leu. Today in the Legislature was described as a "unique blend of television of record and more conventional news coverage." A research study concluded that the program generated more positive attitudes about the legislature and increased political knowledge in adolescents who viewed the broadcast, although only 12% found the programming to be "interesting".

TV stations in Florida

WUFT, Gainesville
WJCT, Jacksonville
WFSU, Tallahassee
WFSG, Panama City
WSRE, Pensacola
WUCF, Orlando
WGCU, Fort Myers
WXEL, West Palm Beach

TV stations in the First Coast and Colonial Coast, including Jacksonville and Brunswick
WJXT 4 (Ind)
WCWJ 17 (CW)
WPXC 21 (Ion)
WWRJ-LP 27 (Rel)
WFOX 30 (Fox)
WUJF-LD 33 (Daystar)
W39DF-D 39 (HSN)
WJGV-CD 48 (Ind)
W50CO-D 50 (3ABN)
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