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About PBA 30, Atlanta’s PBS Station
In 1958 when PBA 30 signed on the air as Georgia’s first public television station, everybody liked Ike, “The Phil Silvers Show” was tops on TV, and two new concepts — beatniks and space travel — had people puzzled. But both Elvis and Nat King Cole were kings of the charts, Bridge Over the River Kwai was a runaway hit, and some fellow calling himself Dr. Seuss introduced us to The Cat in the Hat.
Licensed to the Atlanta Board of Education, and funded by the Atlanta and Fulton County Boards of Education, PBA 30 (then WETV), began as a classroom television service and telecast only during school hours. It joined WABE 90.1 FM, which had signed on in 1948.
Just 12 years later, the station became an affiliate of National Educational Television (which evolved into the Public Broadcasting Service) and began broadcasting content for the general public, as well the school children of Atlanta and Fulton County.
Atlantans soon discovered and embraced British drama through The Forsyte Saga and The First Churchills on Masterpiece Theatre, saw the Joffrey Ballet and the Alvin Ailey Dance American Theater on Great Performances, learned their letters with Cookie Monster and Kermit on Sesame Street, traveled the world through the wonders of the National Geographic Specials, and met two young journalists named Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. Atlanta’s PBS station focused on its community, producing a variety of local programs like Cinema Showcase and Southern Bases, an award-winning documentary about the Negro Baseball Leagues.
WETV became PBA (Public Broadcasting Atlanta) in 1984, accurately reflecting the station’s role in serving the needs of the Atlanta community. In April 1995, PBA began broadcasting its instructional and public broadcasting programming 24 hours a day on APS 22, Atlanta’s education station.
Today we are Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA): PBA 30, Atlanta’s PBS station; WABE 90.1 FM, Atlanta’s home for the classics and NPR news; PBA Online at pba.org; and APS Cable 22, Atlanta Public Schools’ education station.
Today, PBA 30 designs its schedule to give Atlantans more viewing choices, to meet the unique needs of the Atlanta market, and to make it easier for Atlantans to find the kinds of shows they like by scheduling theme nights, like Nature Tuesdays, History Thursdays and Nostalgia Fridays.
Additionally, PBA 30 creates unique local content, including its Telly Award-winning original series This is Atlanta; Atlanta Shorts, its new weekly series highlighting Atlanta’s independent film community; and the engaging travel series Atlanta Road Trip: A Day Away. Through the Atlanta Voices series of specials, PBA tells Atlanta’s unique historical stories.
PBA also extends the value of its broadcast and online services through extensive community partnerships and outreach, developing educational and informational activities that can change lives. Past projects have revolved around topics as diverse as learning your family’s personal history to exploring the impact of childhood cancer to remembering and celebrating the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement.