WPPT, virtual channel 35 (VHF digital channel 9), is an Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Owned by the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation, it is a sister station to Allentown-licensed PBS member WLVT-TV (channel 39). As WYBE, the station's transmitter was located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia; in 2018, it began a channel sharing agreement with Allentown-based independent station WFMZ-TV (channel 69) and began operating from WFMZ's transmitter on South Mountain near Allentown.
WYBE's main channel was previously carried in the New York City television market on the 66.4 digital subchannel of West Milford, New Jersey-licensed MHz WorldView affiliate WNYJ-TV.
The UHF channel 35 allocation in Philadelphia was first used by WHYY-TV in 1957. However, it was obvious by then that a UHF station was not nearly enough to serve a market that stretched from the Lehigh Valley to the north to the Jersey Shore in the south. In 1963, WHYY moved its call letters and programming to VHF channel 12, licensed to nearby Wilmington, Delaware. Metropolitan Philadelphia Educational Radio and Television, owner of WHYY, continued to operate channel 35 as WUHY-TV, using it mostly to air instructional programming on weekdays (outside of designated legal and administrative holidays) during the school year. WUHY-TV was the first station in the world to broadcast Sesame Street during a week of test broadcasts in July 1969. A slightly-retooled version of the show made its national premiere on National Educational Television (NET) four months later in November 1969.
By 1975, WHYY had stopped operating the UHF station, and eventually returned its license to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the 1980s, the channel 35 frequency was used by W35AB, a translator relaying Univision programming from New York City's WXTV, while the FCC evaluated applications for a new permanent licensee. The translator ultimately moved to channel 28 and evolved into WFPA-CD, then into a full-power station of its own as WUVP (WFPA currently carries Univision sister network UniMás). WYBE, the new permanent licensee on channel 35, began broadcasting on June 1, 1990, under the ownership of Independence Public Media of Philadelphia, Inc. (also known as Independence Media).
From 1998 to 2004, the organization was led by Sherri Hope Culver, formerly of the New Jersey Network (NJN). During this period, WYBE moved into a new facility; began operating a digital signal, and focused on original productions, such as Culture Trek (a series of three specials, followed U.S. teenagers as they pursued projects with local teens in Costa Rica, Ireland and Jamaica), The Neighbors Project and The Tolerance Project (which addressed race, sexual orientation and religion). The station also featured a nightly talk show, Philly Live, which was later restructured into five different talk shows: Gente (aimed at Hispanic audiences), Shades of Opinion (focusing on issues relevant to African-American community), Asian Outlook, Global Lens and Out Loud (focusing on LGBT issues). Most of WYBE's programs in this period were syndicated shows distributed by American Public Television and NETA; the weeknightly news discussion program Democracy Now! was also part of the program schedule. Several of these programs won national Telly Awards, Emmy nominations and a special screening at the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The WYBE World Heritage Council Initiative supports Philadelphia's diverse ethnic communities, funded by the William Penn Foundation.
Since 2005, WYBE was led by Howard Blumenthal, who also served simultaneously as executive director of the New Jersey Network from 2009 to 2010.
MiND: Media Independence
On May 15, 2008, the station was rebranded as "MiND: Media Independence", which emphasized its schedule on short-form programs, often with a "public media for the public good" perspective. MiND became the first broadcast television station in the U.S. whose program stream was simultaneously available online and on broadcast television worldwide, in a form of an internet simulcast of its broadcast signal, and a library of programs available on-demand. Some WYBE programs are also available on the MHz Worldview network, which is seen on selected television stations and cable systems, as well as on satellite and the internet.
On April 13, 2017, Independence Public Media of Philadelphia, Inc. announced that it gave up its broadcast license as WYBE (Channel 35), and would sign off the air on November 3, 2017. Independence Media, however, would continue to operate as a non-profit corporation.
On October 27, 2017, it was announced that WYBE would continue MiND 35.1, despite previous notices regarding termination of broadcast. Prior to its planned termination date, MiND TV went temporarily off air due to the equipment at the WYBE transmitter site having failed, according to the channel's website, but has since been restored on November 1, 2017.
On January 5, 2018, WYBE began channel-sharing with WBPH-TV, significantly reducing its over-the-air coverage in the Delaware Valley. MiND ended their short-form viewer-created programming format, transitioning their main channel to an affiliate of MHz Worldview, while 35.2 became an affiliate of World. The WYBE license was transferred to the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation, owner of WLVT-TV, on March 15, 2018; concurrently the call letters were changed to WPPT.
|TV stations in Pennsylvania|
|TV stations in Philadelphia, including the Lehigh Valley and Tri State Area|
|WDPN 2 (MeTV)|
KYW 3 (CBS)