TAMPA, FL–The west central Florida PBS affiliate, WUSF-TV, turns 50 years old this week.
The station first went on-air on September 12, 1966 to provide University of South Florida students with telecourses, which broadcast Monday through Friday. In the 1970s, the station expanded its programming to the weekends and put up a new tower and transmitter, where its newly extended coverage area saw its weekly viewership soar to 300,000 viewers a week.
“The way people consume news and information has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and WUSF-TV has changed as well,” said WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky.
Today WUSF-TV operates on four channels. One for general PBS and locally produced programming, another for children’s programming, a third channel for cooking, crafts, gardening and home improvement topics and a fourth for documentaries, news and public affairs series. And to this day, USF students and the community still benefit from WUSF’s popular telecourses.
WUSF has benefited from various private grants, state and federal funds over the years to help bring PBS programming directly to children in local Title I schools and day care programs. Since 2001, WUSF-TV has offered USF students a studio to study television production.