WSBE-TV, virtual channel 36 (UHF digital channel 21), branded on-air as Rhode Island PBS, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Providence, Rhode Island, United States. The station is owned by the Rhode Island PBS Foundation, a non-profit organization. WSBE's transmitter is located on Pine Street in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.


The station began broadcasting on June 8, 1967 from the campus of Rhode Island College. In 1974, WSBE moved to the former WPRO-TV (now WPRI-TV) facilities at 24 Mason Street in Providence. In January 1991, WSBE moved to new studios on 50 Park Lane in Providence, near the Cranston city line. Its analog transmitter was located on Neutaconkanut Hill in Johnston, until the FCC-mandated digital conversion in 2009. From 1973 to 2000, WSBE-TV's programming was relayed in Westerly on translator W62AB. This translator was turned off in 2000, largely because of the high penetration of cable in the state. On May 1, 2003, WSBE rebranded itself as Rhode Island PBS.

WSBE-TV's license was originally held by the Rhode Island State Board of Education (from which the call letters are derived). In 1981, what had become the Board of Regents for Education transferred the station to the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-state agency. The Channel 36 Foundation was founded in 1987 as an independent fundraising arm of WSBE; it subsequently became the Rhode Island PBS Foundation following the station's 2003 rebranding. In June 2012, the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority voted to begin the process of transitioning WSBE-TV from a state licensee to a community licensee, with the Rhode Island PBS Foundation assuming full control of the station. According to a release announcing the decision, the state budget extended funding to the station until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2013. The license transfer was completed on October 10, 2012.

TV stations in New England
WEDH, Bridgeport/Hartford/New Haven/Norwich

WCBB, Augusta/Bangor/Biddeford/Calais/Presque Isle
WGBH/WGBX, Boston; WGBY, Springfield
WENH, Durham/Keene/Littleton
WSBE, Providence
WETK, Burlington/St. Johnsbury/Rutland/Windsor

TV stations in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts including Providence and New Bedford
WLWC 28 (Ion Life)
WNAC 64 (Fox)
WPXQ 69 (Ion)
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