WFWA, virtual channel 39 (UHF digital channel 40), is a PBS member television station located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Fort Wayne Public Television, Inc. WFWA maintains studios located at the Dr. Rudy and Rhonda Kachmann Teleplex at the corner of Coliseum Boulevard and Crescent Avenue on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and its transmitter is located at its former studio facility on Butler Road in Fort Wayne. Bruce Haines is the current president and general manager of WFWA.[2]


In 1964, W39AA, a translator of WBGU-TV in Bowling Green, Ohio, signed on the air on channel 39. Prior to 1974, Fort Wayne had been the only area of Indiana without access to PBS programming even on cable (it was standard practice for PBS to offer programs to commercial stations in markets without PBS-member stations, but no evidence concerning carriage of the network's programs in Fort Wayne has yet surfaced). This low-powered repeater station was merely a placeholder, as channel 39 was allocated as a full-powered educational channel in Fort Wayne. By the early 1980s, the station became a translator of Indianapolis PBS station WFYI.

On March 12, 1985, a local public television group was granted the channel 39 slot from the FCC, and licensed the station under the 'WFWA call letters; WFWA signed on the air on December 5, 1986, bringing northeast Indiana its own PBS station for the first time ever.

In 2003, WFWA became the first television station in the Fort Wayne market to broadcast a digital signal, originally carrying the national PBS HDTV feed on a separate subchannel from its regular programming; funding issues would later cause the national HD feed to be pulled, leaving all programming in standard definition for several years. It was announced that WFWA's main channel 39.1 would broadcast in high-definition full-time at some point during summer 2010.[3] During a summer 2010 pledging break, general manager Bruce Haines announced that the change would occur on July 4, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Due to advancements in video compression, the station was able to upgrade its main channel to HD without sacrificing the video quality of its other three SD subchannels.

In May 2013, the station announced a fundraising drive to upgrade its infrastructure over the next three years, including a signal boost, the purchase of remote production equipment, and improvements to the station's master control.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

ChannelVideoAspectPSIP Short NameProgramming[4]
39.11080i16:9PBS39HDMain WFWA programming / PBS
39.2480i4:3Kids39PBS39 Kids
39.4PBS4YouPBS39 Explore

Formerly, WFWA had shown the national PBS Kids feed (also seen nationally on digital cable/satellite) on channel 39.2. When the service ended on September 26, 2005, WFWA continued the channel by self-programming it locally. WFWA aired the Annenberg/CPB Channel on 39.4 until October 1, 2008. The satellite feed for Annenberg was discontinued at that time.[5]

Analog-to-digital conversion

WFWA shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 39, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 40.[6] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 39.

As part of the SAFER Act,[7] WFWA kept its analog signal on the air for 2+ weeks to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.