Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), which includes GPB Television, GPB Radio, and the Education and Technology Services (ETS) Division, serves Georgia by providing music, news, and educational products and services. GPB Television is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), while GPB Radio is affiliated with National Public Radio (NPR).
In 1960 public television in the state, known as Georgia Educational Television, began with station WGTV, located in Athens at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education. Georgia Educational Television grew quickly and by 1965 included stations across Georgia. In 1982 the license for Georgia Educational Television was transferred from the University of Georgia to the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, and later that year it officially became Georgia Public Television, with headquarters in Atlanta. In January 2004 Georgia Public Television became GPB Television.
As of 2006 GPB Television had 1.4 million weekly viewers throughout Georgia and in parts of Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Nine television stations serve viewers in this region: Albany, WABW/14; Atlanta, Channel 8; Augusta, WCES/20; Chatsworth, WCLP/18; Columbus, WJSP/28; Dawson, WACS/25; Macon, WMUM/29; Savannah, WVAN/9; and Waycross, WXGA/8.
Each year GPB Television broadcasts more than 3,500 hours of commercial-free children’s programming, including Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Sesame Street, as well as entertainment and educational programming for adults, including American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Mystery!, and Nature. In addition to PBS programming, GPB Television broadcasts locally produced programs that both reflect the state’s culture and history and cover issues important to Georgians; such programs include Georgia Outdoors and Georgia’s Business.
In 1985 the public radio stations WJSP-FM, broadcasting from Warm Springs, and WDCO-FM (later WMUM), broadcasting from Macon, became the first affiliates of Peach State Public Radio, a broadcasting service created by the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission. In 2001 the statewide service changed its name to Georgia Public Radio, and in 2004 it became GPB Radio.
GPB Radio, broadcasting twenty-four hours a day, operates fifteen FM stations and one AM station: Albany, 91.7 FM; Athens, 91.7 FM; Augusta, 90.7 FM; Brunswick, 88.9 FM; Carrollton, 90.7 FM; Columbus, 88.1 FM; Dahlonega, 89.5 FM; Demorest, 88.3 FM; Fort Gaines, 90.9 FM; Macon, 89.7 FM; Rome, 97.7 FM; Savannah, 91.1 FM; St. Marys, 1190 AM; Tifton, 91.1 FM; Valdosta, 91.7 FM; and Waycross, 90.1 FM. The broadcasts from these stations are heard around Georgia and reach listeners in Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina as well.
GPB Radio is affiliated with National Public Radio and Public Radio International. In addition to broadcasting primarily classical music, GPB Radio airs many programs, among them All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, Fresh Air, The Metropolitan Opera, Morning Edition, Performance Today, and This American Life. Original programming includes Studio GPB, featuring notable Georgia musicians and nationally known artists performing in the state; Georgia Gazette, a weekly radio magazine covering everything from art to politics across the state; and Cover to Cover, a monthly radio book-club program featuring southern authors.
In 1994 the state legislature approved funding for GPB’s educational division, PeachStar Educational Services, the state’s premier multimedia educational resource. Known today as the Education and Technology Services Division of GPB, or ETS, the network was created to utilize more fully telecommunications technology for education and training. The division’s cross-platform delivery system maximizes usage and allows for users’ varying degrees of technological access by offering delivery via three methods: satellite, Web-based programs with online resources, and videostreaming. In 2006 the primary delivery system to Georgia students and educators was GPB’s statewide satellite network, with more than 2,400 sites located at schools, public libraries, and colleges and universities across the state.
The division facilitates interactive webcasts and Web-based learning, in addition to maintaining a digital library. The GPB Education Videostreaming Portal offers more than 50,000 video segments from more than 4,500 video series via the Internet. The portal enables teachers and students to access the resources they need anytime, anywhere, as well as to search for video assets by grade, subject area, or keyword. Among the division’s multimedia projects is GAcollege411, a Web site sponsored in conjunction with several other Georgia state agencies, including the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education. The site provides in-depth assistance to students as they prepare for, apply to, and pay for college.
ETS also offers original productions that enhance classroom instruction and/or offer distance learning for credit. These productions include Salsa, which offers instruction in Spanish for elementary grades; Irasshai I, Irasshai II, and Irasshai Explorer, distance-learning courses that cover Japanese language and culture; Count On It!, which offers math instruction for elementary grades; and Georgia Stories, which supports the Georgia history curriculum for fourth- and eighth-grade students.
In addition to producing resources for students, ETS also provides professional learning opportunities to Georgia’s educators. To expand its training capacity, ETS utilizes interactive webcasting to provide online training modules, which are streamed live or on demand. Partnerships with such organizations as Annenberg/CPB and PBS TeacherLine allow teachers in the state to earn professional learning units or graduate credit via satellite or the Internet. ETS also maintains the Teacher Toolbox Web site and publishes Pipeline, an online magazine for educators.
Finally, ETS offers programming for adult education, including General Education Development, or GED, preparation courses, through overnight, open-air broadcasts on GPB Television. Other education programs are available as well, and all may be recorded and replayed at more convenient times for the viewer.