call_letters = WKAR-TV
city =
station_slogan =
station_branding =
analog = 23 (UHF)
digital = 55 (UHF)
affiliations = PBS
other_chs =
founded =
airdate = January 15, 1954
location = East Lansing, Michigan
callsign_meaning = K(C)ollege of AgRiculture
(from MSU's original name, Michigan Agricultural College)
former_callsigns = WKAR-TV (1954-1959)
WMSB (1959-1971)
former_channel_numbers = 60 (1954-1959)
10 (1959-1972)
owner = Michigan State University
licensee = Board of Trustees, Michigan State University
sister_stations = WKAR (AM), WKAR-FM
former_affiliations = NET (1954-1970)
effective_radiated_power = 50 kW (digital)
erp_temporary = 1230 kW (analog)
54.6 kW (digital)
HAAT = 295.5 m (both)
class =
facility_id = 6104
coordinates = coord|42|42|6.7|N|84|24|48|W|type:landmark_scale:2000
homepage = [http://www.wkar.org/tv/ www.wkar.org/tv]

WKAR-TV is a PBS-member station serving the Lansing, Michigan area. It is owned by Michigan State University. The station broadcasts on channel 23 analog / 55 digital, and its studios are located on MSU's campus in East Lansing, its city of license. WKAR's transmitter is located on Kinawa Road in Meridian Township, Michigan between East Lansing and Williamston. WKAR transmits its signal from an antenna with a height of 969 feet.

WKAR-TV is part of the Broadcasting Services Division of MSU. WKAR-TV's studios and offices are located in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building, at the southeast corner of Wilson and Red Cedar Roads, on the Michigan State University campus.

WKAR's SD analog channel is available on Comcast's Flint system on channel 21, but for unknown reasons, none of its digital subchannels are available.


WKAR-TV went on the air in January 1954 broadcasting on channel 60. It is the second-oldest educational television station in the United States, and the oldest east of the Mississippi River. It was the third station on the air, but the second, in Los Angeles, went dark not long after it went on. KUHT in Houston is the oldest.

Despite MSU's long history in broadcasting, WKAR-TV struggled for viewers because television sets at that time were not required to have UHF tuning capability. Viewers needed an expensive converter to watch channel 60, and the picture was marginal at best even with one. With this in mind, Michigan State unsuccessfully tried to persuade the FCC to redesignate channel 10, the only other VHF channel allocated to the Lansing area, for noncommercial use.

Eventually, MSU cut a deal with Jackson Telecasters to share channel 10. So in 1959, WKAR-TV changed its calls to WMSB (for Michigan State Broadcasting) and moved to channel 10. It shared the frequency with Jackson Telecasters' new station, NBC affiliate WILX-TV. WMSB was on the air for 30 percent of the broadcast day, but WILX had all of prime time. The two broadcasters maintained separate studios and offices and shared the same transmitting facilities in Onondaga. The station brought back the old WKAR-TV calls on November 15, 1971 for their new UHF allocation. [http://www.michiguide.com/dials/tv/wkar.html]

In 1972, WKAR-TV resumed full-time broadcasting on channel 23. This was made possible by the All Channels Act of 1961 (requiring all TV sets sold in the United States to receive UHF channels starting in 1964), the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and the subsequent development of PBS in 1969. The channel 23 dedication show was simulcast on both channels 10 (WMSB) and 23 (WKAR-TV), after which WMSB went silent and WILX began broadcasting on channel 10 full time.

In 1981, WKAR-TV moved from the Quonset hut studios it had occupied since the station first signed-on to the Communication Arts Center. The Breslin Student Events Center occupies the former studio location today.

WKAR-TV serves as the flagship station for Michigan Public Broadcasting (MPB) television programs. Programs distributed statewide on a weekly or monthly basis include QuizBusters, "Off the Record," "Michigan At Risk", as well as specials like the Governor of Michigan's annual "State of the State" address.

WKAR-TV also held a yearly phone-in auction spanning over several days, where viewers could bid on items which were donated by local businesses and volunteers. When it was first held in 1977, it was the first of its kind in mid-Michigan. In 2007, citing a poorer ecomony, and the fact that they can raise more money by putting their resources into other developmental activities, it was announced that the 2007 edition would be the last ever edition of the WKAR Auction. [http://www.wkar.org/enews/story.php?fill=070416/auction]

WKAR signs off at night from 12:00 AM-7:00 AM on both the analog and digital television stations. The cable channels stay on the air 24/7.

Digital Television


WKAR-DT began broadcasting on Channel 55 on January 15, 2004. WKAR-DT's signal is multiplexed. On November 4, 2007 WKAR Life and WKAR World were added to the digital lineup. On April 6, 2008 WKAR Life became WKAR Create.

At the conclusion of analog broadcasting on February 17, 2009, WKAR will move WKAR-DT's signal from UHF Channel 55 to UHF Channel 40.

Cable Services

WKAR-TV offers several companion services on Comcast Cable in the Greater Lansing/East Lansing/Meridian areas. Most of these services carry PBS digital services usually carried as subchannels by other member stations.

WKAR Create

WKAR Create is broadcast on the channel that formerly carried KAR2. From 7 a.m. to midnight (24/7 on the cable channel) WKAR Create carriers the Create service, a channel broadcasting lifestyle programming. The change from WKAR Life to WKAR Create was due to viewer feedback.

WKAR World

WKAR world is broadcast on the channel that formerly carried KAR3. WKAR World carries the PBS World service, with some local programming from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


KAR4 broadcasts educational programming for Teachers from the Annenberg/CPB channel. KAR-4 is only available in East Lansing and Meridian Township.

External links

* [http://www.wkar.org/tv/ WKAR-TV]
* [http://www.wkar.org/specials/firstfifty/ WKAR-TV First Fifty documentary with video link]

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