National Public TV Day

03 Apr 2024 in

Did you know April 7 is National Public Television Day? We’re proud to celebrate with all of you! YOU are the reason for the work we do to serve Arkansas - and the reason that 350 other public television stations across America do the same. You are the support system that keeps us going each day.  

For our history buffs and PBS super fans, we thought we’d share a bit about how public television started, and some little known or new facts about Arkansas PBS. And don’t miss the end where we give you a sneak peek at what’s coming up!  


Public television stations have been serving America since the early 1950s, when the Federal Communications Commission reserved a portion of the broadcast spectrum for noncommercial educational purposes. KUHT-TV in Houston was the first public television station to go on the air, in 1952, and Alabama Public Television launched the first statewide public broadcasting network in 1955. Arkansas PBS followed 11 years later with our first broadcast in 1966, several years before PBS was established.

President Eisenhower proposed the first federal support for public television in the National Defense Education Act of 1958, to explore the power of television in improving instruction and student outcomes in elementary and secondary schools, and the Public Television Finance Act of 1962 provided federal funds to dramatically expand the number of public television stations in the United States.


As Arkansas’ only statewide broadcaster, our 10 broadcast towers across the state bring our free over-the-air television signal to 96% of all Arkansans.

Our towers are also the essential nerve center for Arkansas’ Emergency Alert System, providing statewide infrastructure for first responder and homeland security services and helping protect citizens from tornadoes, floods and other severe weather events with life-saving alerts and messaging.

With PBS WARN (Warning, Alert and Response Network) system, Arkansans have even more protection as cell carriers are required to utilize public media’s highly reliable and low-cost distribution channel for delivering Wireless Enabled Alerts such as emergency messages from FEMA.


Our newest live-action series, “Mystery League,” teaches Arkansas kids in kindergarten through second grade about civic engagement, economics, community involvement and leadership.

“Rise and Shine,” our multifaceted educational program, features video lessons and free workbooks to boost summer learning and address learning gaps for K-5 students.

Our educational outreach features face-to-face events throughout the state including Read to Succeed and Ready to Learn.


ArkansasIDEAS, the most utilized K-12 teacher professional development resource in Arkansas, improves teacher quality to increase student achievement.


Arkansas PBS is the home of Arkansas high school championships in football, basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball.

In partnership with the Arkansas Activities Association, our exclusive, live broadcasts are top quality productions that serve students by television some of the most important moments in their young lives, making it possible for family and friends statewide who cannot attend in person to watch and share in these shining moments.

Now in our sixth year of broadcasting high school sports, we go beyond the games to produce award-winning videos that tell the stories of student-athletes, coaches, legendary teams, Arkansas sports history and the pageantry — the bands and cheer squads — that surround high school sports.


AR-CAN — the Arkansas Citizens Access Network — Provides unprecedented livestreaming and archived on-demand viewing of legislative proceedings, board and commission meetings, press briefings from the governor and other elected officials and more.


Our public affairs program “Arkansas Week” engages newsmakers on the important issues impacting the state.

Our statewide political debates are an Arkansas tradition attended by all candidates.

Our live primary election night coverage is the only coverage of its kind available statewide.

Our “Good Roots” programming spotlights the agricultural economy and rural Arkansas life.

Our veterans programming “Honor. Service. Duty.” explores the issues facing those who served and points them to needed resources.

Our documentary “7 Days” tackles the scourge of opioid addiction that challenges Arkansas and communities across the nation.


We have our annual “Quiz Bowl” coverage, starting April 27 with the top high school minds in the state, while a pair of new documentaries will air, first with “Arkansas Wild” about trout fishing on the Little Red on April 11 and “Autism Amplified: Acceptance Through Communication” scheduled for April 25.

In May, we’ll continue with our live coverage of the high school baseball and softball state championships May 16-18 on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

In June, we’ll have the second part of “TOTALITY: The Total Eclipse Experience,” Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m. while episode six of “Arkansas Treasures” premieres Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m., and the Spring/Summer episode of “Celebrating Arkansas” will premiere Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m.


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