|Affiliations||.1: PBS (since 1970)|
.2: PBS Kids
|Owner||Alabama Educational Television Commission (ultimately owned by the Government of Alabama)|
First air date
|January 7, 1955|
Call sign meaning
See table below
|Facility ID||See table below|
|ERP||See table below|
|HAAT||See table below|
|Transmitter coordinates||See table below|
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.
AETC eventually built a network of nine transmitters covering the state during a 16-year period ending in 1970. In the 1970s and 1980s, several stations in the metropolitan areas of Alabama aired weekly "cutaway" programs, produced by local entities instead of APT, of interest to their particular viewing areas, but those were eliminated in the 1990s. Since then, all APT stations air the same programming at all times.
The AETC took over the operation of Huntsville public radio station WLRH in 1977, assuming control from the public library system, which had started the station the previous year but found itself unable to manage or fund it properly.
In January 1982, a major ice storm caused the collapse of the WCIQ tower, which was then rebuilt.
In August 2004, APT began datacasting on its digital broadcast signals to distribute digital multimedia content to ten elementary and secondary schools, in a pilot program. The datacasting model was replaced by APTPLUS, an online distribution of multimedia content that became available to every school in Alabama via the Internet. Every public school in Alabama registered to use APTPLUS within its first year of operation. Many private school teachers and home-schooling families are also registered users.
For more than a quarter century, Alabama Public Television aired a nightly public affairs program, For the Record, covering statewide news and Alabama politics. The longest-running program of its kind on a PBS member station or regional or state network, it won an award for Best Local News Program from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), an organization of public television stations. Capitol Journal succeeded For the Record in 2008 and is produced at APT's State House studio in Montgomery.
APT began broadcasting a high definition channel (APT HD) in 2005. In December 2006 it launched a digital "how-to" channel featuring established cooking, gardening, decorating, crafts, and sewing programs called APT Create. A third digital channel, APT IQ, debuted in March 2007. Originally called APT IQ, the channel became APT World in October 2012 and offers news and documentary programming. 2017 brought the addition of PBS Kids statewide.
The members of the Alabama Educational Television Commission Board as of 2012 are: Ferris W. Stephens, chairman, Birmingham (6th congressional district), Gregory O. Griffin, Sr., Vice-chairman, Montgomery (2nd congressional district), Dr. Rodney D. Herring, Secretary, Opelika (3rd congressional district), Bebe Williams, Huntsville (5th congressional district), Les Barnett, Mobile (1st congressional district) and Dr. Dannetta K. Thornton Owens, Birmingham (7th congressional district).
|Station||City of license1
(Other cities served)
TV / RF
|First air date||Second letter's meaning||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter coordinates||Facility ID||Public license information|
|December 18, 1962||Alabama||600 kW||178.7 m (586 ft)||706||Profile|
|April 28, 1955||Birmingham||3 kW||426.2 m (1,398 ft)||717||Profile|
|January 7, 1955||Cheaha||34.8 kW||575.8 m (1,889 ft)||711||Profile|
|August 8, 1956||Dozier||30 kW||224.8 m (738 ft)||714||Profile|
(Pensacola/Fort Walton Beach, FL)
|November 18, 1964||Educational||199 kW||185 m (607 ft)||721||Profile|
|August 9, 1967||Florence||418.8 kW||207.6 m (681 ft)||715||Profile|
Phenix City/Columbus, GA)
|September 9, 1968||Greater Alabama||925 kW||262 m (860 ft)||710||Profile|
|November 15, 1965||Huntsville||396 kW||338.2 m (1,110 ft)||713||Profile|
|September 13, 1970||Informational||1,000 kW||324 m (1,063 ft)||720||Profile|
|WAIQ||Montgomery and the southern portion of the geographical center of the state|
|WBIQ||Birmingham and the northern portion of the geographical center of Alabama and the west central counties of the state including the city of Tuscaloosa|
|WCIQ||Talladega, Anniston, Gadsden and Auburn and the east central portion of the state to western Georgia including the western outskirts of Metro Atlanta; also provides secondary signal for Birmingham|
|WDIQ||The south central portion of the state to Interstate 10 in the Florida Panhandle|
|WEIQ||Mobile and Baldwin counties along Alabama's Gulf Coast and several counties to the north as well as parts of southeastern Mississippi and the far western Florida Panhandle and the city of Pensacola|
|WFIQ||Florence and the northwestern portion of the state and some counties in southern central Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi; secondary signal for Decatur|
|WGIQ||Dothan and most of the southeastern portion of the state and some parts of southwestern Georgia; closest APTV signal to Phenix City|
|WHIQ||Huntsville, Decatur and most of the north central and northeastern portion of the state as well as some counties in southern central Tennessee; secondary signal for Gadsden|
|WIIQ||Much of southwestern Alabama in the region known as the "Black Belt" as well as Meridian and some counties in eastern central Mississippi; secondary signal for Tuscaloosa and Selma|
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|x.1||1080i||16:9||APT (WxIQ HD)||Main APT programming / PBS|
|x.5||ETV||Huntsville ETV (WHIQ only)|
Although the DTV Delay Act extended the mandatory deadline to June 12, 2009, APT shut down the analog signals of all ten stations as originally scheduled on February 17, 2009.
On July 29, 2010, WBIQ received a construction permit to move its digital channel from channel 10 to channel 39. The station has returned to its analog-era VHF channel 10 during the 2019 television repack.
During the 2019 television repack, WCIQ moved to VHF channel 12, while WEIQ and WGIQ relocated to UHF channel 30.
In 1976, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delayed the renewal of, then briefly revoked, AETC's licenses due to APT's refusal to air programs pertaining to the Vietnam War or the African-American community. APT management feared that airing these types of programs would cause angry public officials to cut the network's funding and put the network's future in jeopardy. Therefore, APT followed orders by state officials not to air certain programming during the 1960s and 1970s. However, it has taken a more independent stance over the last 40 or so years.
In May 2019, APT was one of two PBS state networks, along with Arkansas PBS, which declined to broadcast an episode of the animated children's series Arthur because it features a same-sex wedding. The program director said that it would be "a violation of trust" to broadcast the episode. PBS offered free online streaming of the episode for a limited time to families desiring to view it.
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