|Branding||NPT, Nashville Public Television|
|Slogan||Television Worth Watching|
|Channels||Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nashville Public Television, Inc.|
|First air date||September 10, 1962|
|Call letters' meaning||Nashville
|Former callsigns||WDCN-TV (1962–2000)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1962–1973)
8 (VHF, 1973–2009)
|Former affiliations||NET (1962–1970)|
|Transmitter power||17.65 kW|
|Height||390 metres (1,280 ft)|
WNPT, VHF channel 8, is a PBS member television station located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. The station is owned by Nashville Public Television, Inc., a community-funded, nonprofit organization. The station's studios are located on Rains Avenue in southeast Nashville, and its transmitter is located in Brentwood, Tennessee.
The station signed on the air on September 10, 1962, as WDCN-TV (for Davidson County Nashville), on VHF channel 2. It is Tennessee's second-oldest public television station, behind WKNO-TV in Memphis, established six years earlier. It was originally licensed to the board of Nashville Public Schools, which became an arm of the metropolitan government when Nashville and Davidson County merged in 1963. Like most eventual PBS member stations, WDCN was mainly established to serve area schoolchildren with educational programming.
In the early 1970s, WDCN-TV agreed to swap channel frequencies with ABC affiliate WSIX-TV, which was seeking a stronger signal. Although WDCN-TV agreed to trade frequencies upon realizing that its core audience would be better served on WSIX-TV's channel 8, despite its limited reach (the channel 8 transmitter facility in Nashville was short-spaced to fellow PBS station WGTV in Atlanta).1
On December 11, 1973, WSIX-TV changed its call letters to WNGE-TV (now WKRN-TV) and moved to channel 2, while WDCN-TV moved to channel 8.2 Although the channel 2 signal traveled a very long distance under normal conditions, several Middle Tennessee viewers did not get a good signal because WDCN's original frequency was short-spaced to another Atlanta station, WSB-TV. It was only the third time in U.S. television history that the FCC allowed two established stations to exchange frequencies; an almost identical trade occurred in New Orleans three years earlier in 1970, also involving the ABC and PBS stations. The proceeds from the exchange of channel positions with then-WSIX/WNGE owners General Electric enabled WDCN-TV to build studios in 1976 near the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in south Nashville. According to station officials, the present WKRN also maintains WDCN-TV's original transmitter and antenna as part of the 1973 arrangement.
Originally, the station broadcast from a building located near Belmont College (now Belmont University) on 15th and Compton Avenues, a facility shared with WSM-TV (channel 4, now WSMV) until 1963; the Metropolitan Nashville government now uses the site for its emergency communications center.
Political and funding issues prompted the Metro Nashville government to begin proceedings in the late 1990s to relinquish WDCN's license to a community board. Some local residents welcomed the change, since they believed that the school board's operation of the station kept WDCN from broadcasting PBS programs reputed to be even mildly controversial (even though Nashville itself is very liberal by Southern standards, the suburbs and adjacent rural areas are quite conservative, especially on social issues), including some programs that were broadcast on practically all PBS stations in markets as big or smaller than Nashville.
Whatever the motivation, WDCN would become the last public television station in the state to be emancipated from a governmental body. WKNO had never been publicly operated, and the state board of education released the remaining stations in the state to community groups back in 1984. Metro formally released WDCN in 2000 to a new board known as "Nashville Public Television." The new board changed the station's calls to WNPT. Since then, the station has almost never referred to its call letters or channel number on the air (except during legal IDs), usually calling itself "Nashville Public Television."
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming3|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||NPT-1||Main WNPT programming / PBS|
|8.2||480i||NPT-2||NPT2 (MHz WorldView from 12 a.m.-6 a.m., PBS Encore from 6 a.m.-12 a.m.)|
WNPT shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 46 to its former analog-era VHF channel 8.4
- NPT - Nashville Public Television
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WNPT
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WNPT-TV