Alabama Public Television

Alabama Public Television is a network of PBS member stations serving the US state of Alabama. The stations are licensed by the Alabama Educational Television Commission which was created by the Alabama state legislature in 1953. The broadcast signals of the nine stations combine to provide complete geographic coverage of the state. The network produces its own news and public affairs programming and broadcasts content produced by the state's universities for online education and course credit as well.


The network's first station, with the transmitter atop Cheaha Mountain, began broadcasting in January 1955 as WTIQ (now WCIQ) for Talladega, though the city of license was Munford. When flagship WBIQ in Birmingham came online in April, Alabama Educational Television became the first operational educational television network in the United States. It made its first broadcast as a network shortly after WBIQ signed on. Twenty-five other states have started public television networks, all based on Alabama's model. The network changed its name to Alabama Public Television in the early 1980s.

Today APT's mission continues to be focused mainly on education. It provides educational services to the people of Alabama online, on air from three digital and one analog channel, and through outreach services to educators and service provides statewide.

WAIQ in Andalusia (now WDIQ in Dozier) went on the air in August 1956, bringing APT to south Alabama for the first time before being reassigned to Montgomery in December 1962. WAIQ was the first APT station to broadcast a digital signal as Channel 14 in 2003, but it was later changed to Channel 27 on account of Montgomery station WSFA. Mobile television station WALA-TV donated its former transmitter in Spanish Fort to APT in 1964, allowing WEIQ to bring the network to Mobile and Baldwin counties in November. WEIQ's power was increased during the 1980s.

In 1976, the FCC delayed renewal of AETC's licenses, on grounds of APT's refusal to air programs pertaining to the Vietnam War or the African-American community. APT management feared that airing these types of programs would have put the network's future in jeopardy, due to potential losses of funding from outraged (politically conservative) public officials. Therefore, APT followed orders by state officials not to air certain programming during the 1960s and 1970s. However, it has taken a more independent stance over the last 30 years.

In August 2004, APT began datacasting on its digital broadcast signals to distribute digital multimedia content to ten elementary and secondary schools, in a pilot program.

For longer than a quarter century, Alabama Public Television has aired a public affairs program, For the Record, which takes a very aggressive approach to covering state government. In January 2007, APT reduced the frequency of For The Record to a weekly one-hour slot on Friday nights after two decades of being a nightly show, the longest-running program of its kind on a PBS affiliate or regional or state network. For The Record: Focus and For the Record: Face to Face (interview show) are two other versions that appear on APT. Capitol Journal, which covers the Alabama Legislature's activities, is aired during times when the Legislature is in session.

APT began broadcasting a high definition channel (APT HD) in 2005. In December 2006 it launched a how-to channel featuring established cooking, gardening, decorating, crafts and sewing programs on APT Create. A family learning channel, APT IQ, began airing in March 2007.


As of 2008, the Alabama Public Television stations are:
Station City of license Channels
First air date Second letter
Facility ID
Transmitter coordinates
WAIQ Montgomery 26 (UHF)
27 (UHF)
December 18, 1962 Alabama 1410 kW
600 kW
183 m
178.7 m
WBIQ Birmingham 10 (VHF)
53 (UHF) 7
April 28, 1955 Birmingham 316 kW
31 kW
426.3 m
365 m
WCIQ1 Mount Cheaha 7 (VHF)
56 (UHF) 7
January 7, 1955 Cheaha 316 kW
61 kW
610 m
561.6 m
WDIQ2 Dozier 2 (VHF)
11 (VHF)
August 8, 1956 Dozier 100 kW
1.3 kW
226 m
214 m
WEIQ Mobile 42 (UHF)
41 (UHF)
November 19643 Educational 1170 kW
199 kW
183 m
185 m
WFIQ Florence 36 (UHF)
22 (UHF)
August 19674 Florence 851 kW
418.8 kW
221 m
207.6 m
WGIQ Louisville 43 (UHF)
44 (UHF)
September 9, 1968 Greater Alabama 4180 kW
925 kW
262 m
2626 m
WHIQ Huntsville 25 (UHF)
24 (UHF)
November 19655 Huntsville 1230 kW
396 kW
338.2 m
338.2 m
WIIQ Demopolis 49 (UHF)
19 (UHF)
September 13, 19716 Informational 1950 kW
1000 kW
324 m
324 m

  • 1. WCIQ used the callsign WTIQ (the T standing for Talladega) from its 1955 sign-on until 1959 or 1960. Also, the station's city of license was previously Mount Cheaha State Park, where the station's tranamitter (and mountain) is located.
  • 2. WDIQ used the callsign WAIQ (the A standing for Andalusia) from its 1956 sign-on until sometime in the early 1960s.
  • 3. The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says WEIQ signed on November 6, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on November 18.
  • 4. The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says WFIQ signed on August 16, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on August 9.
  • 5. The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says WHIQ signed on November 8, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on November 15.
  • 6. WIIQ signed on this date according to the Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook and some other sources. However, the Television and Cable Factbook says WIIQ signed on for the first time on September 13, 1970.
  • 7. WBIQ and WCIQ will be returning to their original VHF channel assignments at the end of the digital switchover as the corresponding UHF DTV installations are on channels which will be out-of-band after 2009. There have also been issues with inability (or prohibitive cost) to provide coverage to the original WBIQ viewing area on these higher frequencies.

Station Signal Reach
WAIQ the southern portion of the geographical center of the state.
WBIQ the northern portion of the geographical center of Alabama and the west central counties of the state including the city of Tuscaloosa to the Mississippi state line
WCIQ the east central portion of the state to the Georgia state line
WDIQ the south central portion of the state to the Florida state line
WEIQ Mobile and Baldwin counties along Alabama's Gulf Coast and several counties to the north as well as parts of southeastern Mississippi and northwestern Florida Though, it's been received in Florida VIA long range UHF Antennas in the Florida Panhandle
WFIQ the northwestern portion of the state and some counties in southern central Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi
WGIQ most of the southeastern portion of the state and some parts of southwestern Georgia
WHIQ most of the north central and northeastern portion of the state as well as some counties in southern central Tennessee
WIIQ much of southwestern Alabama in the region known as the "Black Belt"

On all stations, HDTV is on subchannel 1, and SDTV is on subchannel 2. The date the station commenced broadcasting is in parentheses. The network's offices and Network Operations Center are located in Birmingham, but APT also operates a studio in Montgomery for pledge drives and For the Record. The AETC also operates a public radio station, WLRH 89.3 FM, in Huntsville.

Digital television

The network's digital signals are multiplexed: Digital channels
Sub-channel Programming
.2 APT
.3 APT Create

Post-analog shutdown

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009:

  • WAIQ, WEIQ, WFIQ, WGIQ, WHIQ, and WIIQ will remain on their respective, pre-transition channel numbers (27, 41, 22, 44, 24, and 19);
  • WBIQ and WCIQ will move their digital broadcasts back to their respective analog channel numbers (10 and 7);
  • WDIQ will move its digital broadcasts to channel 10.

Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display virtual channels for each APT station corresponding to their present analog channel numbers.


See also

External links

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