WCTE's History

WCTE, Upper Cumberland PBS, is a small, rural public media organization located in Cookeville, Tennessee and serving a fourteen county region, known as the Upper Cumberland. It is the only broadcast television station in a seventy-five mile radius of Cookeville, nestled in between Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga.

The station went on the air as a state licensee in 1978 with a single analog signal. In 1989, the station was transferred to a community licensee and was governed by a lo- cal board of directors, the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council.

In 2017, the award-winning station is recognized nationally, regionally and locally as a full service PBS member with a strong emphasis on locally created content; education; public safety; and a national conduit for independent producers.

The station hosts four channels: WCTE 22.1 HD; WCTE Create 22.2; WCTE World 22.3 and WCTE PBS KIDS 22.4. Located on WCTE’s transmitter site is a 300 ft tower and a building dedicated to emergency services and public safety for Putnam County and the Upper Cumberland region.

WCTE currently focuses on the Upper Cumberland area, although the signal reaches 1.3 million viewers throughout middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky with over- the-air broadcast, cable and satellite services. Through the expanded use of digital content and online funding campaigns, the goal is to reach more fully outside of our current demographic.