Blue Ridge PBS

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Blue Ridge PBS
southwestern Virginia
Branding Blue Ridge PBS
Slogan Your Community Resource for Lifelong Learning
Channels Digital: see chart
Affiliations PBS
Owner Blue Ridge Public Television, Inc.
Founded August 1, 1967
Former channel number(s) Analog:
WBRA-TV: 15 (UHF, 1967-2009)
WSBN-TV: 47 (UHF, 1971-2009)
WMSY-TV: 52 (UHF, 1981-2009)
Former affiliations NET (1967-1970)

Blue Ridge PBS is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member station for western Virginia. It serves the Roanoke-Lynchburg and Tri-Cities markets from studios in Roanoke.

The primary station, WBRA-TV (channel 15) in Roanoke signed on for the first time on August 1, 1967, originally affiliated with the National Educational Television (NET), before that organization was replaced by PBS in 1970.

Over the years, WBRA established two satellite transmitters — WSBN-TV (channel 47) in Norton was activated in 1971 and WMSY-TV (channel 52) in Marion began operations in 1981. WSBN brought a city-grade PBS signal to the Tri-Cities for the first time; it's carried on the Tri-Cities DirecTV and Dish Network feeds.

In the 1980s, WBRA began identifying on-air as Blue Ridge Public Television, due of its location near the Blue Ridge Mountains. On February 19, 2007, it changed its on-air name to Blue Ridge PBS, though WBRA-TV remains the official call sign.

In March 2013, Blue Ridge PBS announced that it would close both WSBN and WMSY by June 30, 2013, leaving East Tennessee PBS outlet WETP as the sole source of PBS programming in the Tri-Cities. The move came as a result of budget cuts that followed the elimination of Virginia's funding for public broadcasting stations in 2012. However, station president James Baum told The Roanoke Times that there are no plans to tear down the transmitters, leaving the possibility that WSBN and WMSY could return in the future.1


Station City of license Channels
First air date ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
WBRA-TV Roanoke 15 (PSIP)
3 (VHF)
August 1, 1967 9.8 kW 618 m 5981 37°11′46″N 80°9′17″W / 37.19611°N 80.15472°W / 37.19611; -80.15472 (WBRA-TV)
WSBN-TV1 Norton 47 (PSIP)
32 (UHF)
March 30, 1971 100 kW 591 m 5985 36°53′53″N 82°37′21″W / 36.89806°N 82.62250°W / 36.89806; -82.62250 (WSBN-TV)
WMSY-TV Marion 52 (PSIP)
42 (UHF)
August 1, 1981 100 kW 448 m 5982 36°54′7″N 81°32′32″W / 36.90194°N 81.54222°W / 36.90194; -81.54222 (WMSY-TV)


  • 1. WSBN-TV used the callsign WSVN-TV from its 1971 sign-on to 1983; there is no connection between this station and the current WSVN, a Fox affiliate in Miami, Florida.

Digital television

WBRA-TV, WSBN-TV and WMSY-TV broadcast a multiplexed digital signal:

Channel Video Aspect Programming
x.1 1080i 16:9 Main Blue Ridge PBS programming / PBS
x.2 480i 4:3 SD simulcast of x.1
x.3 PBS World


  1. ^ Berrier Jr., Ralph (March 27, 2013). "Blue Ridge PBS to go dark in far Southwest Virginia". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 

External links

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