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Explore Your World. Experience WCTE.

For over 30 years, the Emmy award-winning WCTE Upper Cumberland PBS has enriched the lives of its viewers in middle Tennessee, stimulating educational, civic and personal development through informational and innovative programming and services that address local and regional needs. The mission of WCTE, Upper Cumberland Public Television, is to give voice to the people and places of the region we serve. We strive to engage our citizens through distinctive programs and services that inform, educate, entertain and inspire. Since 1978, WCTE has been a leader in celebrating the stories and people of this region. We continue this tradition today through multiple platforms of engagement that extends beyond the broadcast.

WCTE, Upper Cumberland Public Television, is an essential resource for the people we serve in middle Tennessee. On air, online, in print and in the community, we are our regions’ premier storyteller and convener. WCTE is the ONLY television station, public or commercial, in a 75-mile radius of Cookeville, TN, making it a strategic partner with education, health service, government, arts and music.

WCTE, Upper Cumberland Public Television, local services had deep impact in the middle Tennessee area. WCTE's signal reaches 1.3 million throughout middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky with over the air broadcast, cable and satellite services. With a 30+ year history of service to the Upper Cumberland and all of middle Tennessee, WCTE partners with leaders in local education, business, agriculture, economic development, public safety, music, art, theatre, athletics and tourism to provide much needed resources to the citizens we serve.

WCTE is owned and operated by the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council and is one of only 350 PBS affiliates nationwide. 

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Educational Outreach 

The upcoming year of 2014 / 2015 is an exciting one for WCTE, as we plan to build on our education and community engagement foundation with significant work in RTL and American Graduate through established community and regional partners. In addition, our Content team is aggressively pursuing development of local content that will serve as an economic development driver for this rural region.

WCTE received a CPB grant to help families utilize PBS transmedia. This Ready to Learn Cohort 3 Transmedia grant features a strong partnership with the Putnam Co. School System; all 21 Head Start Centers; TTU Stem Center; the Highlands Education and Workforce Development Committee and many other service based groups within the Upper Cumberland. The purpose of this work is to train at risk children and their families utilizing technology available to them and especially through PBS mobile content.

ready to learn grant.jpgThe Putnam County School system believed so strongly in this opportunity for parents and families that they have supported the work with a three to one match. They have placed a full time classroom teacher (contributing half of the salary) into full time service as a trainer for this work. In addition, they replaced the teacher in the classroom and have also supported her work within the other counties through Head Start. 

Reggie brown.jpg WCTE also works closely with several Putnam Co. Schools in our region that have a majority of students that are Hispanic. We have a staff member on this team, Reggie Brown, who is bilingual and follows closely with the schools for opportunities to engage and provide PBS resources to these families and children as well as supporting the teachers and administrators. In one of these schools, Jere Whitson Elementary, we participate with community leaders to assist in a one mile run, where the students get medals and are encouraged to exercise and eat a healthy diet.

WCTE continues to work closely with the Highlands Economic Development and Education Committee to build on the investment of “The American Graduate: The Tennessee Story”. Our goal is to encourage students to not only stay in school, but to excel in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. This is supported on air and also on the ground as listed above.

White Co trophy.JPG That is why we make a significant commitment to high school academic competitions, such as the WCTE High School Academic Bowl, which is a double elimination tournament and covers schools of all sizes from throughout this rural region. This year we took the WCTE High School Academic Bowl taping out of the studio and into a public facility at Tennessee Tech University, allowing for a studio audience and an engaged partnership with the university for these students and their families, teachers and friends.


Community Engagement

WCTE offers the rural region of the Upper Cumberland a key service through Local Community Outreach and Engagement. Many of our residents are culturally isolated, economically disadvantaged and underserved. WCTE has always worked closely with Head Start and area school systems and this year was no exception. Workshops are offered on parental engagement, literacy, parents as the child’s first teacher, STEM, PBS Kids and more. 

curious george character.jpg In addition, bringing the power of public television to these areas through PBS Kids character visits to remote rural areas provide children and teachers with opportunities to engage with characters tied to science, math and literacy. In September WCTE partnered with the Livingston Police Department to bring the popular PBS Kids characters from “Super Why”! They visited five different rural elementary schools throughout Overton County to promote science, math, engineering and technology skills.

We also know the importance of reaching the whole family to reach the child and have been active in major community events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Village; TTU Golden Eagle Tailgate Park; TTU Windows on the World, as well as our own events: Community Cinema and Stations of Imagination, WCTE Academic Bowl and WCTE PBS Kids Go Writers contest.

stations 2014.jpg Specifically, WCTE’s community event, Stations of Imagination, is an incredible opportunity for families to learn, to be inspired and entertained as it is free and is combined with a major city festival. Over 1500 attend this full day event, including many economically disadvantage families and ethnically diverse populations. There are 40 different booths and activities as well as a character and entertainment stage and the entire event is free to all thanks to support from sponsors and WCTE’s commitment to this event for families in our region. 

Building a healthier community is always as the forefront of WCTE’s community engagement and within this year, the station had many opportunities to work with local runningorganizations to support a half marathon, a 5K and 10K races. These races held in October and May encouraged family running, training, team building and community engagement, as well as a way for many in the community to support the station.

Two new areas of outreach that resulted in on air presentations, was first in capturing the motivation, determination and discipline that young people exhibit in the TTU Young Artist Piano Competition. This special feature, “Youth: Behind the Keys” took a behind the scenes look at this state wide high school competition and how this endeavor helped many of the competitors academically, build their self-esteem and realizing their future endeavors.

Another area that embraced a diverse population was in the staff participation on site at the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences of a United Nations World Peace Day. WCTE worked with the Isha staff on the event as well as creating a special program, World Peace Day: A Celebration.

The citizens of our region trust WCTE to provide safe and helpful programming and engagement that will grow a healthy, educated and resourceful community of people. For that effort WCTE is well respected and appreciated as a community partner engaged in this work. 

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 2040
Cookeville, TN 38502


Office: 931-528-2222
Fax: 931-372-6284 
Pledge Toll Free 24/7 - 800-282-9283



Your Emmy Award-Winning Station

YOUR Local PBS stations since 1978, WCTE Upper Cumberland PBS brings you quality national PBS programming PLUS local and regional shows like the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree, TTU Sports, Live Green Tennessee, One on One with Becky Magura and the Great TV Auction. Each year YOUR Upper Cumberland PBS station provides 200+ hours of original, locally produced content covering a variety of topics such as sustainable agriculture and environmental living, health, history, public affairs, education, music, art, & sports. WCTE is one of the smallest stations in the PBS family, yet it produces more local programming than many of the larger PBS stations. 

National Productions

  • *Bluegrass Underground
  • Crank: Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • *Jammin' at Hippie Jack's
  • Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree
  • Tree Safari: A Sculptural Journey
  • Tree Safari: The KOA Connection
  • Tuba U: Basso Profundo
*WCTE is the presenting station of that production

Local Series

  • BSO Backstage: A Concert Preview
  • Live Green Tennessee
  • One on One with Becky Magura


  • A Tennessee Table
  • American Graduate: The Tennessee Story
  • Discover the Upper Cumberland
  • Everybody's Welcome at John's Place
  • Silent Struggles of Our Seniors
  • World Peace: A Celebration
  • Youth: Behind the Keys

Special Events/Productions

  • Cookeville Christmas Parade
  • Live From the Farm
  • Mastersingers Concerts
  • Putnam County Fair
  • TTU Sports

Mobile Production Unit

This state-of-the-art unit houses a full production control room, multiple HD cameras, an audio console, enabling WCTE to produce quality programming from any location. Video production services are for hire through our Creative Services department.