Mission: WQED changes lives by creating and sharing outstanding public media that educates, entertains and inspires.
WQED was the nation’s first community-supported television station and went on the air on April 1, 1954. In 1973, Classical WQED-FM 89.3 was founded as the region’s only 24-hour classical radio station.
Today, WQED is educational public media with four television programming streams: WQED-TV; WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; and WQED Showcase; three radio streams: WQED-FM 89.3; WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; The Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-FM HD-2 and www.wqed.org/fm online provide WQED content for free to all residents in the viewing and listening area, and online around the world; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive, and iQ: smartmedia, WQED’s Educational initiative.
Over the years, WQED has been honored with 73 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards (including two for Station Excellence); 61 national Emmy Awards; an Academy Award; 10 Peabody Awards; 5 DuPont/Columbia batons; 10 Gabriel Awards; 27 CINE Golden Eagle Awards; 1 Edward R. Murrow Award; 95 Golden Quill Awards; 23 awards from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters (PAB); and 13 Telly Awards.
Throughout its history, WQED has partnered with hundreds of local community organizations toward improvements in education; arts and culture; community health; economics; and important local issues through its form of civic journalism. These partnerships are a hallmark of WQED’s mission and are an important part of its daily activities. As the only community-owned multimedia resource in the region, WQED is a convener, a central gathering place, and a conduit for other local non-profit organizations.
From local and national programming that exports Pittsburgh to the world to teacher training sessions and media literacy, WQED reaches every facet of life in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland. No other local media can match WQED’s footprint or impact.
Whether natives or transplants, most Pittsburghers know WQED. Pittsburghers have come to rely on its quality programming and viewers and supporters appreciate WQED’s safe, educational content for children. WQED’s reverence for the city can be seen in local broadcasts that highlight Pittsburgh’s distinctiveness.
WQED has exported the region nationally with projects like The War That Made America, a four part historical documentary on the French and Indian War that aired nationwide on PBS; national cooking shows with Chris Fennimore; the Doo Wop music franchise; weekly national radio broadcasts of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and a continuing series of local and national documentaries by Emmy Award-winning producer Rick Sebak.
WQED is one of the busiest producers of local programming in the PBS system. In addition to the local and national documentaries, WQED produces and airs local programs that capture the stories of advancement, arts and diversity in our region:
Michael Bartley hosts this live discussion program focusing on topical issues, with guests ranging from newsmakers and community leaders, to entertainers and athletes. Interactive brings viewers into the conversation through Facebook, Twitter and more.
Pittsburgh 360 is a full circle look at the region and the stories that capture what Pittsburgh is as a community. With a focus on arts and entertainment, education, ethnic customs, challenges and celebrations, health, technology and civic issues, Pittsburgh 360 creates an interactive dialogue with viewers. This show is shot both on location and in the WQED studios.
4802 makes WQED’s Fifth Avenue address the central point for a lively conversation about the events making the news of the week. Hosts moderate a panel of guest journalists to talk about what’s in the news.
Rounding out WQED’s local programming lineup is Filmmakers Corner, an hour-long showcase of independent films by local producers. Each week, a new independent film is showcased that includes interviews with the producers to provide background on each documentary.
Special series such as Portrayal and Perception: African-American Men and Boys examine and challenge the destructive images of African American males in media. Inspiring young people about classical musical was the aim of WQED’s Musical Kids project, a competition and public recognition of musically inclined students. Another of WQED’s timely and important pieces is a series examining gun violence through pieces such as Gun Violence: Victims and Voices for Change. The range of compelling, inspiring, heartwarming and important programming, as it relates specifically to Pittsburgh, can be found through no other outlet, locally or nationally.
Classical WQED-FM is “the voice of the arts in western Pennsylvania” by highlighting all that the station has meant for the region with retrospectives, tributes, community events, and celebrations. WQED-FM has offered classical and fine arts and cultural programs since its inception in 1973, allowing listeners to hear live and recorded classical performances and learn the latest arts and culture news from Pittsburgh and around the world. Listeners can hear WQED-FM at 89.3 and on its repeater stations, WQED-FM89.7 /Johnstown. In 2012, WQED launched WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM), which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WQED-HD2 airs the Pittsburgh Concert Channel, exclusively broadcasting archived performances recorded by WQED from concerts by local performance groups.
Interactive and Social Media
WQED Interactive, a media portal to the world, makes the aforementioned WQED programs all the more accessible to viewers and listeners, any time, and any place. WQED reached a few important milestones recently in its social media initiatives, with over 9,500 Facebook friends and over 15,000 Twitter followers.
iQ: smartmedia is the innovative model for WQED’s educational content for children. Specifically, it creates and promotes educational games, music, web and TV videos, events, and workshops for children to have fun and learn.
WQED’s educational programs for children offer free and effective educational tools that can make dramatic differences in how children perform and achieve. Through television programs, multimedia toolkits, and community collaborations, WQED programs ensure that, “anytime is learning time.” WQED engages in meaningful partnerships with other schools, organizations, and stakeholders nationally as well as across the region that have a vested interest in ensuring that children receive the highest quality education possible. WQED serves 82% of the regions’ children ages 8 and under and 40,000 parents on a monthly basis, just through TV broadcast.
Parents can trust WQED. Adults who grew up with PBS characters as part of their lives pass that love on to their children. WQED’s free educational programs allow all children to participate, regardless of socio-economic background. And WQED gives parents the security of knowing that their children are viewing something that simultaneously entertains and educates. Parents can trust that their children aren’t being bombarded with commercials designed to encourage consumerism, as WQED is commercial-free. No other media in Pittsburgh provides parents with this level of safety, security and peace of mind.
WQED's Service to the Community
WQED's services are free to the people. All people. Just like libraries. No admission is required, no dues are collected, no tickets are sold.
Imagine a world without twelve hours a day of free educational programming for kids. These are programs that teach children instead of peddling merchandise. Imagine Pittsburgh without Nova or Frontline, or without Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood or Sesame Street. Imagine Pittsburgh without classical music or performances from local arts and culture organizations.
The brilliance of the public service media model is that WQED does much more than air programming. We leverage the educational value of that programming and take it out to the community to educate, engage and inform through real world learning.
iQ: smartmedia is our strategy for education to capitalize on what kids have inside of them and to capture that potential. Around it revolves all of WQED's educational goals and objectives: to provide new tools and models, thought leadership, research, and training on the intersection of media and learning to prepare our children for a competitive world. We provide content for science and technology; literacy; global cultures and connections; expression; social and community responsibility; numeracy; and behavioral wellness.
For children and teens, WQED offers more than 60 hours a week of programming and online resources free of charge to the entire community regardless of socio-economic status. We offer media literacy and digital fluency through our "Ready to Learn" initiative that speaks to early childhood science, literacy and arts.
WQED and public broadcasting stations nationwide are America's largest classroom, providing educational content that is available to all of America's children, including those who can't attend preschool. Research shows children gain valuable skills through our programs, including measurable improvement in literacy scores, and children who watch Sesame Street obtain higher grades in English, math, and science.
There is a difference between WQED and commercial media. In commercial broadcasting, the relationship is between the broadcaster and the advertisers, with the deliverable being the audience (number of eyeballs to the screen). In public broadcasting, the relationship is between the broadcaster and the audience. We represent the community and air programs that educate, inform, and engage our audience.
Public broadcasting is a public/private partnership that has served the community well. Non-commercial public service media started in Pittsburgh with Fred Rogers and WQED in 1954, and it continues and flourishes as an educational service to this city and the four-state area we serve -- free of commercial influence and as an educational voice for our community.