About MPTV

Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) is southeastern Wisconsin’s premiere non-commercial media organization. With studios and offices at the downtown campus of Milwaukee Area Technical College, the MPTV family consists of two traditional television stations, WMVS and WMVT; seven additional digital television services; a state-of-the-art production facility; the popular website mptv.org; the monthly magazine Fine Tuning; and an associate-s degree program in Television and Video Production through MATC

The MPTV stations are the area’s only over-the-air source for PBS and other national public television programs, and also offer a diverse schedule of their own award-winning local series and specials, K-12 and college credit broadcasts, and outreach activities for young and old that are responsive to community needs and interests

The stations serve over 2.1 million potential viewers in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois with public and educational television programming. More than 200 hours of programming each day, 365 days a year, are delivered over its nine, co-located, full power broadcast services. Over 900,000 viewers watch MPTV each week.

WMVS, Channel 10, began broadcasting in October 1957 as the 28th educational television station to go on the air in the nation. Today, Channel 10 offers a quality mix of public affairs, cultural, minority, entertainment, recreation, children’s and life-long educational television programming from PBS, regional public television networks, and independent producers. Locally produced specials and series deal with topics of importance to the diverse audience served

WMVT, Channel 36, began service in January 1963, and fulfills a more formal educational mission with dayparts devoted to statewide K-12 in-classroom instruction, and regularly scheduled news, sports, and information programs.

WMVS inaugurated digital TV service in 2000, and WMVT followed suit in 2003. Digital TV technology enables stations to split up, or multicast, their signals, and the two MPTV stations do just that:

  • On WMVS you can find: MPTV HD (Channel 10.1); MPTV WORLD (10.2); Spanish language MPTV V-me (10.3), and MPTV WEATHER (10.4)
  • On WMVT, there are: MPTV-HD-36 (36.1); a standard definition simulcast of Channel 10.1 (36.2); MPTV CREATE (36.3), MPTV CLASSICAL (36.4), MPTV JAZZ (36.5), and MPTV TRAFFIC (36.6).

WMVS and WMVT are licensed to the Milwaukee Area Technical College District Board, and the stations’ studios and offices are located on MATC’s downtown campus at 1036 N. 8th Street, Milwaukee. Station performance is discussed monthly by the Public Television Committee of the MATC board in meetings held at the station and open to the public.


The stations have a rich history of technological and programming firsts:

1952
Milwaukee Vocational School (predecessor of MATC) applies to the Federal Communications Commission to operate Channel 10 as Milwaukee’s first educational TV station
1954
MATC establishes TV technician and telecasting training programs
1957
The first live instructional broadcasts to the Milwaukee Public Schools as part of Ford Foundation experiment
1960
First adult telecourse, INQUIRING MIND, produced for National Educational Television (NET)
1961
First live remote broadcast form Wisconsin State Fair
1963
First live broadcast of Milwaukee’s Great Circus Parade (eventually coverage offered nationwide)
1965
The nation’s first educational TV broadcast of a color program using an experimental flying spot scanner
1969
First Great TV Auction — raised $67,000
1969
Live broadcast of the opening of the Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
1970
HATHA YOGA with Kathleen Hitchcock, MPTV’s first national production, premieres
1975
First on-air membership campaign raised $23,000
1977
First program underwriting announcement
1978
First live telecast of a courtroom trial in Wisconsin, second in nation, the Amaro murder trial
1980
Public/private transmission tower cooperative between WVTV-TV, Channel 18 and Channels 10&36
1984
OUTDOOR WISCONSIN premiers (becomes national series)
1985
First station in Wisconsin to broadcast stereo sound
1987
National Emmy award recognition for participation in national Descriptive Video Service experiment
1987
Local Hispanic program CONCIENCIA offers Spanish translation on Second Audio Program (SAP)
1989
THE GREAT CIRCUS PARADE taped in experimental HDTV (HD) format
1990
TRACKS AHEAD series premieres (becomes national series)
1992
WMVT-TV used to conduct worlds first full-power digital broadcast test with Zenith/ATT
1994
Installed digital satellite reception equipment
1995
Inaugurated web site: www.mptv.org
1998
Ground was broken for 1,221-foot digital tower cooperative with American Tower, Inc.
1999
THE GREAT CIRCUS PARADE produced as the first live HD broadcast on PBS
2000
WMVS is first digital TV station to sign on the air in southeastern Wisconsin
2003
Remote HD truck is put into service to enable coverage of communuity events in high definition
2006
The multi-Emmy award winning THE MAKING OF MILWAUKEE mini-series premieres, scoring the highest public TV primetime ratings in the nation
2007
MPTV V-me Spanish language channel premieres as an MPTV multicast
2008
Four new multicast channels premiere, MPTV CLASSICAL, MPTV JAZZ, MPTV WEATHER, and MPTV TRAFFIC
2009
Analog WMVS and WMVT sign-off the air, replaced by digital WMVS and WMVT
2010
I AM THE FIT GENERATION initiative launched to encourage healthy eating and physical activity in children
2011
Year-long Finding Work initiative launched, featuring monthly series JOBS

Ongoing weekly series include OUTDOOR WISCONSIN, INTERCHANGE, I REMEMBER, and 4TH STREET FORUM. Two additional series, BLACK NOUVEAU and ¬°ADELANTE! cover concerns and events in southeastern Wisconsin’s African American and Hispanic communities, respectively. They are augmented with frequent specials that showcase area arts activities, focus on the region’s history, or deal with compelling issues. The nationally-distributed MPTV series, TRACKS AHEAD, travels all over the world giving viewers the inside story about railroads, both full-size trains and notable model collections. Two MPTV-produced cooking series, HEALTHFUL INDIAN FLAVORS and COOKING RAW, are also popular with our viewers and those at other public TV station where they have aired.

MATC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Television and Video Production that prepares students for many career opportunities. Each year, some 60 students gain real-life TV industry experience working alongside our professional staff on MPTV productions