History of CET

CET History1951
In April, Cincinnati Mayor Albert D. Cash received a letter from the Federal Communications Commission proposing to assign Channel 48 to Cincinnati for educational broadcasting purposes. The mayor appointed a committee to organize the Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation and Uberto T. Neely was appointed the first General Manager.

 

1953
In March, The Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation is granted a non-profit corporate charter. The first location for WCET was in the College of Music, located in Music Hall. The operating budget is $12,055; barely enough to meet the payroll of the four staff members, yet supplemented by student technicians and donated cameras and equipment.

 

1954
On June 30, WCET staff and Board of Trustees members gathered to watch as WCET's transmitter is turned on for the first time. Left to right: Uberto Neely, General Manager; C.S. Dale, Warren Durkee, Charles Crouch, Claude V. courter, Fred Smith, Msgr. Carl Ryan and Raymond Walters, Trustees; James Leonard, Chief Engineer, and Edgar W. Holtz, Legal Counsel.

 

Tel-A-StoryJuly 26, WCET begins live broadcast at 4:00 p.m with the first broadcast, Tel-A-Story. At the time, WCET was housed in Dexter Hall in Cincinnati's historic Music Hall. (Dexter Hall is now Corbett Tower.) The Program Advisory Committee, under the guidance of the Program Director, prepared approximately eleven hours of live, and four hours of filmed programming. Up through August 20, the program log includes live shows, film, kinescope and remote programming. These first programs are of 9 types including informational, entertainment, telecourse, public relations, religious, sports, cultural, and direct teaching.

 

Dexter HallIn October of that year, WCET48 increases broadcast time to 40 hours per week, 26 hours live, four hours of film, and ten hours of test pattern.

 

 

1955
The FCC issues non-commercial license #1 to WCET48.

FCC License

 

WCET experiences its most difficult time operating with a reduced schedule and minimum staff. Business, industry and private citizens helped keep WCET on the air until January, 1956, at which time Voting Member Institutions and School Systems were able to contribute to the basic financial support for yearly operation.

 

1957
WCET's programming is gradually expanded to over 30 hours per week between September 1956 and June 1957.

 

Driver's Ed CourseWCET received three National awards for telecasting a Driver Education and a Biology direct teaching series in cooperation with the Cincinnati Public Schools.

 

1958
Over 25,000 students view WCET in-school programs weekly in more than 300 school buildings throughout Greater Cincinnati.

 

A survey conducted in the spring indicated 25 to 30 thousand homes had all-wave or converted TV sets to view WCET. Adult programming increases to five and one-half hours each on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

 

1959
In July, WCET48 moves to the former WLWT studios at 2222 Chickasaw Street, leasing it for $1 per year.

Chicksaw Building

At least 80 percent of all school buildings in Greater Cincinnati have been equipped with UHF TV receivers and are using the WCET in-school and evening adult TV programs. With the taping of in-school programs and a multiple showing of them each week, the in-school viewing audience would exceed 60,000 students a week.

 

WCET receives the Ohio State Award for broadcasting a story on mental health, Escape From The Cage.

1960
On February 1, WCET expands its broadcast to five nights a week of adult ETV programming.

 

1962
WCET reports operation on the smallest yearly budget of all ETV community stations in the country, yet still provides more individual in-school programs than most of the other ETV stations.

 

New Transmitter1963
WCET installs a new UHF transmitter allowing an excellent picture to be received within a radius of 10-14 miles for homes with UHF converters and inside antennas. The same transmitter allows reception of a good picture from a 35-45 mile radius using an expensive UHF converter and an expensive antenna mounted on a 30-foot mast.

 

1964
Federal legislation requires UHF tuners on new TV sets. This move provides a dramatic increase in WCET48's audience.

 

1966
The station's first General Manager, Uberto Neely, is succeeded by Charles W. Vaughan.

 

Vaughan's work is cut out for him. A Cincinnati school levy failed, forcing the station to look for other funding or close the station.

 

A new game show, Culture Anyone?, hosted by Irma Lazarus, airs for the first time. The program would later become Conversation With Irma.

 

1967
The Public Broadcasting Act passes, creating The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Top-notch programming is imported from the British Broadcasting Corporation, introducing instant hits such as The Forsyte Saga, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth R.

 

1968
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood debuts on WCET48.

 

The first Action Auction raises $31,000 in two days.

 

1969
Sesame Street begins on WCET48. Sesame Street features quality children's programming around the world; in 1972, Plaza Sesamo is broadcast in Mexico.

1971
Alistair Cooke starts hosting a new collection of dramas called Masterpiece Theatre. The show debuted on January 10 with ''The First Churchills'', a 12-part epic based on the lives and loves of Sir Winston Churchill's ancestors.

 

1972
LiliasLilias, Yoga and You premieres on WCET. In the series, Master Yoga Teacher Lilias Folan presented her personal teachings of modern America Yoga. The series soon aired on public television stations across the nation.

 

1974
NOVA made its debut on March 3rd with a ''behind-the-scenes look at the making of a nature film''. As the series progresses over the years, it features programming of various topics, including biology, ecology, genetics, technology, and anthropology.

 

1975
National Geographic airs its first special on public television, ''The Incredible Machine''. This show explores the human body from the inside out and follows people as they encounter the fears, hopes, and miracles of modern medicine.

 

1976
WCET48 moves into the Crosley Telecommunications Center on Central Parkway. The center is donated by the Crosley Foundation, allowing WCET's $2 million budget to continue providing quality educational programming.

 

1977
Live From The Met's first broadcast features Luciano Pavarotti performing La Boheme. More people see that performance on television than have seen it in all of its performances in all of its history.

 

1978
PBS starts distributing its programs by satellite, the first network to do so. WCET's new transmitter tower begins operation expanding the station's coverage from 137,000 homes to a half-million.

 

1979
On July 26, WCET celebrates 25 years of service to Greater Cincinnati. Milestones included the production of the national public affairs program Congressional Outlook. WCET was also hailed as a major source of education. Students using TV48's programming in the classroom increased from 12,000 in 1956 to over 200,000 in 1979.

1980
With Closed Captioning, deaf and hearing-impaired viewers can now ''read'' the sound of television.

 

Carl Sagan explores the mysteries of the universe in Cosmos. Through special effects, viewers are able to witness quasars, exploding galaxies, star clusters, supernovas, and pulsars.

 

1981
Warner Cable and WCET48 agree to set aside four cable channels for Instructional Television in addition to WCET48's broadcast signal.

 

1982
CET launches Cincinnati Business Weekly, the region's first local weekly program dedicated to reporting on business and the economy. The series ran for three years and garnered two Emmy nominations.

 

1983
The MacNeil/Lehrer Report becomes the only nightly news program to expand to an hour and becomes The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.

 

1985
WCET48 airs the first stereo television broadcast in Cincinnati - The Music Man.

 

WCET48 launches Curriculum Connection, an online access to instructional programs.

 

1988
Cincinnati celebrates its own bicentennial. WCET48 looks back with several special programs, including the Emmy-award winning documentary Powel Crosley, Jr. and the 20th Century.

 

WCET48 joins with the Smithsonian Institution and four other public broadcasters in establishing the National Demonstration Laboratory for Interactive Technologies in Washington, D.C.

 

1989
CET's Action Auction breaks the 1-million-dollar mark.

1990
Charles W. Vaughan retires and is succeeded by W. Wayne Godwin.

 

WCET48 brings television to the blind, becoming the first and only local station to utilize Descriptive Video Service (DVS).

 

FutureThon, a live special from WCET48 studios on all six Cincinnati TV stations, recruits volunteers for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative.

 

1991
Ken Burns' The Civil War becomes the most-watched program ever on WCET48.

 

1992
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour joins NBC for unprecedented coverage of the 1992 elections.

 

1993
Project Equity helps low-income school districts move into the high tech age by utilizing multimedia to increase math test scores.

 

1994
The series Baseball (also by Ken Burns) surpasses The Civil War to become the most-watched program ever on WCET48.

 

WCET produces Keep America Singing, a national pledge special recorded in Cincinnati's historic Music Hall and hosted by Mitch Miller. The program featured three international champion barbershop quartets and Cincinnati's own Southern Gateway Chorus.

 

1995
WCET is the presenting station for Cincinnati Pops Holiday, a national Christmas special featuring the Cincinnati Pops with Erich Kunzel and Mel Torme. The show is viewed by over 3 million people nationwide on Christmas Eve and is the first of 9 PBS specials featuring Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops.

 

Local productions presented on WCET include: Because They Were Jews: Cincinnati Survivors Remember the Holocaust, Glorifying the Lion (produced in cooperation with the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati) and Safe at Home: Crosley Field and the Cincinnati Reds.

 

PBS Online is launched.

 

1996
WCET produces Time Out: Talk Radio Unplugged, in conjunction with Xavier University and WVXU-FM. Hosted by NPR's Scott Simon, the program looked at the informative, entertaining and sometimes outlandish world of talk radio.

 

WCET produces Voices in Harmony: Keep America Singing II, the second national barbershop pledge special hosted by Mitch Miller.

 

1997
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra makes its national television debut, with Jesús López-Cobos conducting and special guest artist Alicia deLarrocha performing selections from Ravel and Dvořák.

 

The second Cincinnati Pops special, Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Erich Kunzel's Halloween Spooktacular, airs on PBS stations nationwide.

 

WCET forms a partnership with the Mayerson Academy and begins to produce teacher training sessions distributed via videotape and cable.

 

Cincinnati Reflections, a look at Cincinnati's past through vignettes of Crosley Field, Union Terminal, Old Coney Island, and downtown shopping hosted by Nick Clooney, wins two Regional Emmy Awards.

 

1998
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra rings in the New Year for America with Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Big Band New Years Eve, featuring Doc Severinson and Patti Page. This program was also edited into a 60-minute big band fund raising program for use by PBS stations.

 

WCET produces and distributes ''Pathwise Training'' for teachers and distributes it to schools using Time Warner Cable.

 

Antiques Roadshow's visit to the Cincinnati Convention Center is broadcast in February.

 

1999
Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Love Is In the Air is the fourth PBS special with the Cincinnati Pops to celebrate Valentine's Day from historic Music Hall.

 

WCET begins to provide Mayerson Academy teacher training via Echostar satellite to schools coast-to-coast.

 

Station begins production of a multi-media Math Instruction series for use by students throughout the state titled Ohio Math Works. The project's website is honored with a 2000 PBS "Eddie" award in the category of Best Web-Oriented Content. Also, the website was recognized by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse as a math site that will engage your most resistant math student! Ohio Math Works also received the 2001 CEN Education Award in the K-12 Non-Traditional Multimedia category. Ohio Math Works is available nationally as Math At Work.

 

The fifth Cincinnati Pops Holiday special, A Family Thanksgiving premieres.

2000
Wayne Godwin resigns his position at the helm of WCET to become Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of PBS.

 

2001
Susan Howarth is hired by the WCET Board of Directors to succeed Wayne Godwin.

 

Following "civil disturbances" in Cincinnati in April, WCET formed the Cincinnati Media Collaborative. The collaborative, which included every local media outlet in Cincinnati, produced, broadcasted and/or promoted a series of live, interactive forums on race relations in Greater Cincinnati titled ''Common Ground.''

 

WCET aired Bravo Paavo! The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a 3-hour live presentation of the inaugural concert of Paavo Järvi as Music Director of the CSO.

 

2002
WCET's ''Producing Ohio'' was awarded the 2002 Crystal Award for K-12 Instructional Multimedia, presented by the (AECT).

 

WCET received the National CEN Community Service Award in 2002 for the Common Ground initiative.

 

On December 4, 2002 WCET, the country's first licensed educational television station, begins digital broadcasting, making it the first public television station in the state to begin broadcasting in digital.

 

2003
CET officially dropped the ''W'' in 2003 to better reflect the diversity of services we provide the community, particularly in education.

 

In June 2003, public television stations nationwide aired Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Paavo Järvi Inaugural Concert. This program was the first national telecast of an orchestra director's inaugural concert.

 

2004
On July 26, 2004 CET begins year-long celebration to commemorate 50 years of using our resources to educate, enrich and engage the many communities we serve.

 

2005
CET's Safe Passage wins Silver Telly Award.

 

CET launches a new volunteer group, the Friends of CET.

 

On October 1, 2005, CET expands high definition service 24/7 becoming the first local broadcast station to provide such extensive service.

 

2006
On March 17, 2006 CET unveils CETconnect.org, the first community based PBS station internet service that features on-demand video in seven categories.

 

CET is awarded a Regional Emmy for the documentary ''Music Hall: Cincinnati Finds Its Voice'' from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the national Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The documentary is also honored with a nomination for the Post-Corbett Award.

 

Cincinnati Pops: Take Me To The River airs on PBS stations nationwide September 28, 2006.

 

2007
CET launches a website marking the 70th anniversary of the worst flood ever to hit Cincinnati.

 

CET adds a new digital channel, CET World, featuring documentary, public affairs, and news programming from public television's award-winning signature series and acclaimed independent filmmakers.

 

The Ken Burns series, The War, becomes the biggest public television event in a decade. CET offers more than 30 video interviews with local WWII veterans on CETconnect.org.

 

CET wins a Chris Award for the educational project Fitness Fanatic and the educational multimedia project Ohio Rocks!.

 

2008
CET launches a new program, Fifth Third Business Beat, which will air and be streamed online, available anytime on CETconnect.org.

 

CET wins a Bronze Telly for the instructional series Ohio Rocks!, a four-part educational project about geology.

 

On May 30, CET partners with the Home Ownership Center of Greater cincinnati and WLWT to present what eventually becomes a series of Foreclosure Prevention Phone-a-Thons designed to help people who face losing their home.

 

On October 31, The Board of Trustees of CET joins with the Board of Trustees of ThinkTV (Greater Dayton Public Television) to announce that the organizations will merge to form a new regional public television and media corporation. David Fogarty, the current president of ThinkTV, will be named President of the new organization, which will be named Public Media Connect.

 

2009
In accordance with federal law, CET ceased analog service on May 1.

 

The Boards of Trustees of ThinkTV (Greater Dayton Public Television) and CET (Greater Cincinnati Public Television) announced on May 18, 2009, that the organizations have formed a regional, non-profit public broadcasting and media corporation, Public Media Connect, Inc. David Fogarty has been named President of the regional organization and of both CET and ThinkTV.

 

Quiet Courage: Persistent Vision, a documentary that celebrates the history of the Sisters of Mercy and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in Southwest Ohio, has been honored with two Telly Awards.

 

CET premieres a new documentary, Cincinnati Parks: Emeralds in the Crown on September 23, just days before the new Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea airs.

 

After 47 years of service, Grace Hill, CET's Director of Programming, retires.

 

2010

On February 1, CET debuted CET Arts, a 24/7 broadcast channel featuring a variety of arts programming, becoming the first public television station of its kind.