WITF History

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1963, The South Central Educational Broadcasting Council is created. It's mission, to bring public television to Central Pennsylvania.

November 22, 1964, adopting the call letters that stand for “It’s Top Flight”, WITF-TV began broadcasting from studios in Hershey. Initial support came from the state PTA, Hershey Estates (now HERCO), commercial broadcasters and private contributions from individuals and businesses. Then the funds were matched by the Ford Foundation and state and federal government.

1965, WITF-TV installed a translator (channel 38) to extend our signal reach to Franklin County.

April 1, 1971, WITF-FM signed on the air with Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. Expanding its mission of education and culture through the medium of radio, WITF-FM became the first classical station for all of central Pennsylvania.


March 28, 1979, WITF-FM provided extensive coverage during an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant that captured national attention. NPR reporter Cokie Roberts reported from the WITF-FM studio.

July 1, 1981WITF's program guide is given the name Apprise meaning: to acquaint, to enlighten, to inform.

September 24, 1982, Moved out of temporary quarters in former Hershey Middle School (across parking lot from Hershey Theatre)

September 27, 1982, First official day of operations at 1982 Locust Lane, Harrisburg

July 1, 1984WITF's Apprise evolves from a program guide into a full magazine, and extending WITF's mission further through the medium of print

January, 1990, Desert Island Discs, hosted by Ellen Hughes, premieres with Larry Newland, former Harrisburg Symphony Music Director, as featured guest.

1992, WITF-FM installed a translator (frequency 99.7) to enhance our signal in the city of Lancaster.

June, 1996, WITF presents the first Next Generation Festival, a series of free chamber music concerts performed by rising talent, the “next generation” of nationally acclaimed musicians.

1997, a website is born... WITF.org takes its place on the World Wide Web.


July 1, 1997, Apprise magazine is re-named Central PA

August 26, 1998, WITF-TV made history by launching Pennsylvania's first digital television channel. WITF-DTV Channel 36 became one of seven public broadcasting pioneers in America to transmit digital programming.

May 20, 2000, the WITF Board of Directors approved the first comprehensive strategic plan in WITF’s history, a plan that sharpened the mission, identified the values by which WITF operates, and detailed the organizational goals of a valued public media organization that uses technology to enhance education and enrich lives.

2001, as an outgrowth of the strategic plan, WITF unveiled a new logo and graphic identity that signals its invigorated mission of lifelong learning through technology.

April 1, 2001, WITF-FM celebrated its thirtieth year of providing news, information, and classical music to the region.

September 11, 2001, as the earliest reports came into the newsroom, all of WITF’s media responded to provide the needed facts, context, understanding, and comfort in the wake of the attacks on the United States.

2002, WITF purchased a twelve-acre tract of land in Swatara Township as the site for the first purpose-built facility in WITF’s history, to be constructed with funds raised in The WITF Campaign: Building for a Lifetime of Learning.

EPH400x2702003, WITF launched ExplorePAhistory.com . The award-winning website uses the state’s historical markers system as an entry point to bring history to life for visitors, students, teachers, and history buffs. The site integrates tourism tools, rich and accurate information, and the only PA standards-based lesson plans for teaching Pennsylvania history.

November, 2004, WITF added to its public media services with the launch of Public Radio Capitol News (PRCN), a radio news operation designed to serve its affiliates across the state with the news from Pennsylvania’s Capitol.

November 22, 2004, WITF celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its first TV broadcast.

July 22, 2005, Groundbreaking for WITF’s 75,000 square foot Public Media Center, in Swatara Township, Dauphin County.

November 27, 2006, WITF staffers move into the new Public Media Center

WITF_buildingApril 21, 2007, WITF celebrates the opening of the New PMC with the first annual Where Ideas Take Flight Gala

April 29, 2007, The public is invited to their new Home For Curiosity with the first annual WITF Family Day

October 2008, WITF launches ENGAGE: WITF’s HD Radio Service in HD and on the Web

October 2008, WITF premieres Radio Smart Talk: Coping with the Economy – a live, call-in radio program to help our audience deal with the economic crisis in America

December 2008, In response to audience demand, WITF makes Radio Smart Talk a permanent addition to the weekday FM line-up

January 9, 2009, WITF Launches WYPM-FM 93.3 Trusted Information from WITF in Chambersburg and reaches 400,000 new listeners in all or parts of Franklin, Adams, Fulton, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Perry and Juniata counties.

July 2009—The approved state budget for FY10 reduces operating grants to stations by 87.5% over the previous fiscal year. For WITF, state funding was reduced to $114,000 vs. $917,000 in FY09.

September 23, 2009—The WITF Board of Directors approve On Trusted Ground: The WITF 50th Anniversary Campaign.

June 25, 2012— WITF 89.5 and 93.3 shift to an all-news and information format. For the first time, WITF is able to bring listeners some of NPR’s most requested programs, including The Diane Rehm Show and Talk of the Nation, as well as the BBC World Service.

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