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WPBA (TV): Wikis


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Atlanta metro area
City of license Atlanta, Georgia
Branding PBA 30
Slogan Atlanta's PBS station
Channels Digital: 21 (UHF)
Affiliations PBS
Owner Atlanta Public Schools
(Board of Education of the City of Atlanta)
First air date February 17, 1958
Call letters’ meaning Public Broadcasting Atlanta
Sister station(s) WABE
Former callsigns WETV (1958-1984)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
30 (UHF, 1958-2009)
Transmitter Power 55.4 kW (digital)
Height 265.7 m (872 ft) (digital)
Facility ID 4190
Transmitter Coordinates 33°45′32.6″N 84°20′5.7″W / 33.759056°N 84.334917°W / 33.759056; -84.334917 (WPBA TV 21 (30.1) transmitter)Coordinates: 33°45′32.6″N 84°20′5.7″W / 33.759056°N 84.334917°W / 33.759056; -84.334917 (WPBA TV 21 (30.1) transmitter) (digital)

WPBA (or simply PBA; channel 30.1, DTV 21) is one of two PBS-member TV stations in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The callsign stands for Public Broadcasting Atlanta, and it is counterpart to WABE FM 90.1, the primary local National Public Radio station. Both are licensed to and operated by the Atlanta Public Schools. The two stations share a studio on Bismark Road in the Morningside-Lenox Park neighborhood.

It is the only PBS station in Georgia not run by Georgia Public Broadcasting as part of the GPB television network. There is some duplication (but only rarely simulcasting) of programming with GPB flagship station WGTV. Unlike WGTV, WPBA datacasts UpdateTV, an over-the-air programming service which updates the firmware on some brands of ATSC tuners, via the PBS National Datacast network. Conversely, WPBA is also one of the few PBS stations not to broadcast any digital subchannels. The station has also datacast TV Guide On Screen since the beginning of October 2009, after WGCL-TV 19 (46.1) ended the service following technical issues the service caused for some viewers with certain DTV converter boxes.

Prior to the permanent shutdown, the station typically turned its analog TV transmitter off late at night (generally 1-5 AM), but could and can still be seen on most cable TV systems, DirecTV, and over the air on digital TV at all hours.



The station signed-on on February 17, 1958 as WETV educational television, Georgia's first public television station. It was changed to WPBA in 1984. The WETV calls today are now used for a low-powered television station in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, WETV-LP.

In 2000, WPBA's digital signal on channel 21 began operation.

Digital television

The station's over-the-air digital channel 21 carries only one feed:

Channel Label Format Programming
30.1 WPBA-DT 1080i Main WPBA programming / PBS (mostly up-converted standard definition) with some HDTV content

In 2009, Comcast cut off WPBA to analog subscribers on June 12, the same day that it and all full-power TV stations in the U.S. were forced to shut down their analog over-the-air transmissions. This violated a "quiet period" moratorium on such actions which runs until well after the over-the-air cutoff, in order to prevent viewers from losing all sources of any channel all at once. However, all analog subscribers are entitled by FCC regulation to receive two simplified digital television adapters (DTAs) from the cable company at no extra charge (and more for a maximum of two dollars each per month), in order to recover channels that have been taken away but are still on the basic tier of service (below channel 100). These devices require a separate remote control which may not work with universal remotes or personal video recorders' IR blasters for recording WPBA programming.

The termination of WPBA's analog over-the-air signal allows LPTV station WTBS-LP 26 to proceed with its construction permit for digital WTBS-LD, which is also for physical channel 30. (That station's MTV Tr3s programming has been simulcast on virtual channel 32.1 via co-owned sister station WANN-LD 29.)

Transmission tower

WPBA TV and WABE FM share two adjacent radio towers in the east side of the city with the single antenna used by WSB-FM 98.5, WSTR FM 94.1 and WVEE FM 103.3. (Those three radio stations' transmitters are diplexed together, so that they all feed to the antenna instead of into each other.) WABE was formerly on Stone Mountain, but had to leave when WGTV needed the space for its digital equipment, in addition to maintaining analog, and the use of the tower by KEC80 to transmit NOAA Weather Radio.

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