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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Branding MiND: Media Independence
Channels Digital: 35 (UHF)
Affiliations Non-commercial independent
Owner Independence Media
First air date June 10, 1990
Former channel number(s) Analog:
35 (1990-2009)
Digital: 34
Transmitter Power 500 kW
Height 343 m
Facility ID 28480
Transmitter Coordinates 40°2′30.1″N 75°14′10″W / 40.041694°N 75.23611°W / 40.041694; -75.23611
WYBE is also the callsign of low-power station WYBE-CA of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

WYBE is a public television (Non-PBS) station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its first sign on was June 10, 1990. WYBE's transmitter and offices are located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, in the Schuylkill River valley. The channel was previously occupied by WHYY-TV starting in 1957, which later moved its city of license and frequency to Channel 12 in nearby Wilmington, Delaware in 1963. For several years afterward, WHYY continued to operate channel 35, under the call letters WUHY-TV, carrying alternate educational programming on school days; that station closed down in the early-1970s, and the channel 35 frequency remained dormant until WYBE opened in 1990.

The station is owned and operated by Independence Public Media of Philadelphia (also known as Independence Media).


Station history

One of the largest independent public television stations in the United States not affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service, Philadelphia's channel 35 serves a broadcast area of approximately 6 million viewers. The station operates a unique service which celebrates diversity and multi-cultural sharing of ideas. Often, these communities and ideas are not represented on television. Since 1990, WYBE has featured the work of independent filmmakers (Through the Lens, Philadelphia Stories, etc.) and LGBT programming with In the Life, locally produced shows including Out Loud, In Bed with Butch, Under the Pink Carpet, independent documentaries, the production of five local talk shows that aired weekly, each on a different weeknight:Gente (Hispanic), Shades of Opinion (African-American), Asian Outlook, Global Lens and Out Loud (LGBT). The station also features regularly scheduled (often daily) news programs from England, France, China, Korea, Poland and other nations. Culture Trek, a series of specials, followed US teenagers as they pursued projects with local teens in Costa Rica, Ireland, and Jamaica.

For seven years (1998-2004), WYBE was led by General Manager Sherri Hope Culver, formerly of NJN. This period brought a move into a new self-standing facility; a first multiyear Strategic Plan, transitioned from analog to digital television, and a substantial increase in production of original programming. Many of these high-profile productions addressed issues that were typically not seen on television. Many explored issues relating to cultural diversity such as Global Lens, Culture Trek, The Neighbors Project and The Tolerance Project which addressed race, sexual orientation and religion. WYBE has long been associated with independent film. The popular Philadelphia Stories anthology series was begun by Culver, and is now beginning its 7th season. A live M-F talk show included community leaders and celebrities, and included viewers in the conversation (via telephone). This talk series began as Philly Live and was subsequently reorganized as five individual series, each addressing a specific cultural heritage group. Also during this growth period, WYBE was recognized with several national Telly Awards, Emmy nominations and a special screening at the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The WYBE World Heritage Council Initiative was a ground-breaking community outreach effort developed by Culver and funded by the William Penn Foundation. It enhanced WYBE’s civic partnerships and service, specifically among the city’s diverse ethnic communities. These innovations and other significant contributions to independent media were featured in a cover story for The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine in November 1998.

American Public Television and NETA were among the prime sources for programs, however, WYBE also acquried programming from foreign suppliers and independent producers and filmmakers. WYBE was also first to air Australian drama, Water Rats, the Gaelic drama, Ros Na Run, and Polish drama, The Name of Love. WYBE is one of eight broadcast television stations in the US to regularly air Korean dramas and Bollywood movies. Nightly news programs include Democracy Now!, Le Journal, German Journal, BBC World News, and the New Tang Dynasty News. In more recent years, the prime time schedule has featured music specials specializing in musical genres rarely seen on broadcast television (world music, bluegrass, and more).

MiND: Media Independence

On May 15, 2008, the WYBE brand was retired. The new channel is known as MiND: Media Independence. Approximately 2/3 of the program schedule is filled with 5-minute programs developed by and with community members; the remaining 1/3 is filled with international news and public affairs programs. MiND's unique approach to public service and community engagement now includes video production training, Boot Camps for members who want to learn to make their own MiND programs, a book called Making MiND Programs that is provided to every MiND member, and more. Many of MiND's programs feature ideas, people, and stories that are not typically seen on television.

WYBE Digital Subchannels

Channel Name Programming
35.1 MiND Main WYBE programming
35.2 Global MiND International programming
35.3 MHz Worldview World programming

Programming firsts

  • WYBE's predecessor, WUHY-TV, was the first station in the world to show Sesame Street, in a week of test broadcasts in July 1969. A slightly-retooled version of the show had its national premiere on NET four months later, in November 1969. ([1])
  • WYBE today was also known to take risks in being the first in the US to show foreign or independently-produced series, but in some cases, the results were not favorable. For example: WYBE was the first American station to air the Australian children's series The Shapies, with the initial airing on March 3, 2004. In the moments leading up to The Shapies' U.S. debut, WYBE ran a clip of The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. However, The Shapies' success in the US was never realized—the series was never picked up nationally by PBS or a syndicator, and would soon be dropped from WYBE's schedule.


  • The transition to Digital TV has resulted in a reduction of the viewing area receiving the over-the-air signal, and to disappointed viewers. The station has stated they must transmit at reduced power since they currently share a transmission tower. They further state full power transmission will resume, once work on a new tower is completed by the end of October 2009.
  • Changes to format or scheduling are often not well disseminated before hand, resulting in nasty surprises to viewers tuning in to shows that are repositioned.
  • WYBE/MindTV’s laudable attempt to add additional programming, by providing new digital channels, backfired, when the popular foreign dramas and soaps were assigned to the Global TV channel, which the majority of cable providers did not carry. Those programs have been returned to the main channel, and can be viewed by most (but not all) cable subscribers.
  • The station has developed a reputation for unreliability, resulting from broadcasts that are unexpectedly unavailable. To be fair, this is to be expected from a small, under funded, organization, stretching limited resources to the utmost. Improved availability of information, perhaps by adding a “What’s Happening” section to the web site might help. Better viewer support would result in better performance, but this is rapidly becoming a chicken or egg situation – will more viewers become members if the station’s reliability is in question, or will the reliability improve to the point to which viewers feel comfortable becoming members?


8200 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19128

See also

  • MiND: Media Independence -- Internet television service from Independence Media

External links


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