WCNY-TV is a non-commercial educational public television station licensed to Syracuse, New York, United States and serving as the area's PBS member station. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 25 (or virtual channel 24 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Pompey. Its programming is also seen in Utica on low-powered digital translator W22DO-D channel 22.

WCNY-TV is owned by The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, who also owns 91.3 WCNY-FM (Classic FM). Both stations maintain studios located on West Fayette Street in Syracuse's Near Westside neighborhood.

History

WCNY was established on December 20, 1965 by the Onondaga County School Board Association under a charter by the New York State Department of Education.[2] A non-profit organization known as the Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York was set up to manage the station. WCNY intended to use the call letters WHTV, but chose WCNY after the station now known as WWNY-TV in Watertown gave up the call letters.

The new station's equipment was donated by General Electric, whose plant in the nearby town of Salina manufactured broadcast equipment. General Electric also provided WCNY with its studios, located on Old Liverpool Road in the eastern end of Salina. (WCNY's entire TV and radio operations would be based there until 2013, when it moved to its current location.) WCNY initially broadcast in monochrome, using cameras used to tape The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but switched to color in 1971.

WCNY was initially a member station of National Educational Television (NET). When NET was replaced by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1970, WCNY became a member station of PBS. Over the years, WCNY has been responsible for producing programs and specials of local interest, some of which were distributed nationally by PBS and/or other outlets. Among the programs produced by WCNY and seen nationally include Old Enough To Care, a six-part drama that was picked up by PBS and distributed to their member stations in 1982, and Pappyland, a children's television program co-produced with Craftsmen and Scribes' Creative Workshop and telecast for three years on TLC's Ready Set Learn block, in addition to various PBS member stations.

In 2006,[3] WCNY-TV became the first television station in the Syracuse market to produce and broadcast their own programs in high definition.

In 2007, the station discontinued its pledge drive, making it the only PBS member station to do so.[11] According to WCNY's President and CEO, the station is "focused on truly eliminating our dependence on any state and federal funding".[12]

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

ChannelPSIP Short NameVideoAspectProgramming[4]
24.1WCNY-11080i16:9Main WCNY-TV programming / PBS
24.2WCNY-2480iCreate
24.3WCNY-3GlobalConnect (formerly carried World)
24.4WCNY-4PBS Kids

WCNY-TV operates four digital programming subchannels, which also simulcast on W22DO-D.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WCNY-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 24, 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 25.[34] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 24.

Prior to March 2013, WCNY-TV's main programming was broadcast in SD-only (480i) on subchannel 24.1, while continuous HD (1080i) programming was offered on subchannel 24.4.

A fifth channel, WCNY2-“Your How To“, had been available on cable only.[6]

A repeater on UHF analog channel 62 had transmitted from Nedrow to reach over-the-air viewers south of Syracuse in higher elevations until the 2009 digital conversion.

Television Programs produced by WCNY

TitleFrequencyDescription
Connect: NYMonthlyIn-depth analysis of government, social, economic, and environmental issues affecting New York State.[13]
Cycle of HealthWeeklyReports on community health and wellness issues.[2]
InsightWeeklyPublic affairs concerning Central New York and interviews with local newsmakers.[2]
Ivory TowerWeeklyRound table discussion of local, national, and international news featuring academic commentators from Syracuse and Colgate Universities and area colleges.[2]
SciTech NowWeeklyScience, technology, and startup stories from the region and segments contributed by other PBS affiliate stations.[2]