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Alabama public television

The meaning of «alabama public television»

Alabama Public Television (APT) is a state network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television stations serving the U.S. state of Alabama. It is operated by the Alabama Educational Television Commission (AETC), an agency of the Alabama state government which holds the licenses for all of the PBS member stations licensed in the state. The broadcast signals of the nine stations cover almost all of the state, as well as parts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. The network produces public affairs and documentary programming; broadcast and online education programs for classroom use and teacher professional development; and electronic field trips serving K-12 students.

The network's offices and network operations center are located in Birmingham. APT also maintains studios adjacent to Patterson Field in the state capital of Montgomery, as well as a small secondary studio in the basement of the Alabama State House (not to be confused with the capitol building). APT also operated a studio in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library. The AETC has operated a public radio station, WLRH (89.3 FM) in Huntsville, since 1977.

Alabama was one of the earliest states to enter into educational television broadcasting when the Alabama General Assembly created the Alabama Educational Television Commission in 1953. In an unusual move at the time, the Commission requested allocations for four stations that would air the same programming at all times, fed from a central studio in Birmingham. At the time, it was apparent that much of the state outside of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile was too poor and too rural to support stand-alone educational stations. The Commission thus wanted to ensure that all of the state's children would have access to educational television.

After two years of preparation, the AETC began the nation's ninth educational television station, WEDM in Munford, serving the eastern central part of the state. The transmitter was located atop Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama. When WBIQ in Birmingham came online in April 1955, Alabama became the first state in the nation with an educational television network. Alabama Educational Television made its first broadcast as a network shortly after WBIQ signed on. Since then, 25 other states have started public television networks, most based on Alabama's model. The network changed its name to the Alabama Public Television Network in the late 1960s, and shortened the name to simply Alabama Public Television in 1988.

WAIQ in Andalusia (now WDIQ in Dozier) went on the air in August 1956, bringing APT to southern Alabama for the first time before being reassigned to Montgomery in December 1962. WAAY-TV (channel 25) was issued a construction permit in Huntsville in 1962, but never signed on the air (the owners at the time would buy WAFG-TV, on channel 31, instead in 1963). Channel 25 in Huntsville would later become WHIQ in 1965. WAIQ was the first APT station to broadcast a digital signal in 2003, on UHF channel 14, but that signal was later moved to channel 27 on account of Montgomery station WSFA airing its digital signal on channel 14. Commercially-licensed station WALA-TV in Mobile donated its former transmitter in Spanish Fort to APT in 1964, allowing WEIQ to bring the network to Alabama's Gulf Coast counties that November. WEIQ's transmitter power was increased during the 1980s.

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