History | About | DPTV
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The History of Detroit Public Television

1986 Channel 56 logo

Detroit Public Television (DPTV) began broadcasting in 1955 as WTVS Channel 56, a non-commercial, educational TV station licensed to the Detroit Educational Television Foundation. As a community licensee, DPTV now operates four digital broadcast television channels:

  • 56.1 (DPTV’s High Definition main channel)
  • 56.2 Detroit PBS KIDS (Dedicated to showing your favorite PBS KIDS programming 24/7)
  • 56.3 CREATE (how-to, cooking, travel, and home improvement programs).
  • 56.4 WORLD (Featuring public tv's signature documentary, science, and news programming complemented by original content, and extended coverage of regional special events like the Mackinac Policy Conference, Great Lakes Week)

The digital service was launched in October 2000. The former analog Channel 56 service ended in 2009 when all broadcast television completed the changeover to digital.

Detroit Public TV also operates these websites:

  • DPTV.org The station’s primary site
  • MiWeek.org Analysis of current news and policy issues
  • MiVote.org Candidate interviews and debates and civic engagement information for voters
  • MiAmericanGraduate.org An initiative to help combat the dropout crisis in the U.S.
  • GreatLakesNow.org Environmental information related to the Great Lakes region
  • DetroitPerforms.org A source for arts and cultural events happening around the Detroit area

WRCJ 90.9 FM and HD-1 is a listener supported classical & jazz music public radio station licensed to Detroit Classical and Jazz Educational Radio, LLC., and managed by Detroit Public Television and the Detroit Educational Television Foundation Board of Trustees.  The station is located inside the Detroit School of Arts, a public high school training young people for careers in performing, visual and media arts.
Detroit Public Television is governed by a Board of Trustees led by Chair Arthur Horwitz. The board is composed of representatives from the local, business, civic, and cultural communities. A separate Community Advisory Panel reviews the station’s content (programming, productions) and connects the station to people and organizations in Southeast Michigan. Rich Homberg is the Station's President and Chief Executive Officer.

DPTV is the only public television station in the Detroit market and Michigan’s most watched public station, regularly viewed by some 1.5 million people in southeast Michigan each week. Additionally, DPTV is viewed by 1.2 million people per week throughout Canada via cable and Shaw Direct satellite-to-home. 

Detroit Public Television operates from the Riley Broadcast Center, named for lead donors Dolores and George Riley, at 1 Clover Court in Wixom, Michigan 48393. The Capital Campaign for the facility, its equipment, and the production truck reached a successful conclusion in 2009. DPTV completed building its new studios in 2010.

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