WGTV is one of two PBS affiliates in the Atlanta, Georgia television market, and is the flagship station for the Georgia Public Broadcasting network. GPB, as it is billed, is a network of nine PBS stations across Georgia. WGTV's signal airs on digital channel 8 with three subcarriers--8.2 for Create, and 8.3 for PBS Knowledge. WGTV had a third subcarrier, 8.4, for WUGA out of Toccoa, Ga. until 2015 when the station switched to independent WGTA. Their analog channel 8 was shut off on February 17, 2009. Prior to that, WGTV's digital was on channel 12 at low power to keep from interfering with Chattanooga CBS affiliate WDEF/channel 12.
WGTV signed on in 1960 as an NET station (NET stations provided independent educational and cultural fare as well as classroom programming for schools). Prior to 1960, channel 8 was allocated to WSB in 1948. After WSB moved from channel 8 to channel 2, WLTV took over channel 8. WLTV moved to channel 11 in 1953 (today it's WXIA), and the channel was re-allocated for educational purposes.
WGTV was based in Athens and its transmitter atop Stone Mountain (about 20 miles east of Atlanta), and its signal cut a wide swath through north and middle Georgia. In 1982, ownership of the station license was transferred to the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, its broadcast facilities was moved to Atlanta, and the GPB network was born. In 1984, the station changed calls to WPBS, but it reverted back to WGTV as viewers were not happy with the change.
Atlanta's other PBS station is WPBA/channel 30, which is owned by the Atlanta Board of Education. It usually airs the same programs as WGTV but at differing times. On Saturday mornings while WGTV airs children's programs, WPBA airs arts-and-crafts, do-it-yourself and cooking shows.
All of GPB's stations have shut their analog signals off. WGTV will be moving their physical digital transmissions to channel 7 (retaining 8 as their virtual) in late spring of 2020, the result of the spectrum incentive auction. Affiliates of the GPB network will follow suit as noted below, some during different phases of the repack than WGTV.
The other stations on the GPB network (future physical in parenthesis):
|8||8 (7)||WXGA||Waycross (Valdosta)||1961||Jacksonville FL DMA|
|9||9 (8)||WVAN||Pembroke (Savannah)||1963|
|18||33 (4)||WNGH||Chatsworth (Dalton)||1967||Chattanooga TN DMA; original call WCLP|
|25||8||WACS||Dawson (Americus)||1967||Albany DMA|
|28||23 (5)||WJSP||Warm Springs (Columbus)||1964|
|29||7 (9)||WMUM||Cochran (Macon)||1968||On channel 15 from 1968 to 1990; original call WDCO|