The PBS Wisconsin logo above "Celebrating 70 years" on a blue background of illustrated images that depict the charm and character of Wisconsin.

Celebrating 70 years of PBS Wisconsin

April 29, 2024 Tara Lovdahl Leave a Comment

On May 3, 1954, PBS Wisconsin, then known as WHA-TV, broadcast on the air for the first time. This month, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of public television in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio had already existed on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension as early as 1917, and nearly 40 years later, communications students were going to learn alongside broadcasting professionals as they invented a lineup of educational programming for Wisconsin’s residents.

What started as an experiment 70 years ago in educational television has grown into a full array of local and national content that educates, informs and entertains a diverse audience of both children and adults across Wisconsin.

Join us in the coming days on PBS Wisconsin’s Facebook and Instagram for a trip down memory lane as we explore some of our favorite highlights throughout the decades. We celebrate the connections from those notable — and groundbreaking — moments in our history to the work we do at PBS Wisconsin today, and every day. Thank you to all of our viewers, donors, volunteers and friends for 70 years of supporting PBS Wisconsin. Here’s to 70 more!

As we look back to those earliest days, watch Gov. Walter J. Kohler Jr.’s dedication of the first broadcast of WHA-TV, ushering in a legacy that would grow into the PBS Wisconsin we all know today.

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