This week marks WKAR TV's 60th anniversary. The educational broadcasting station first went on the air Jan. 15, 1954.
"When WKAR began, there were only three commercial networks," General Manager Gary Reid said. "Given the change in our media landscape with the dozens, if not hundreds, of TV channels, WKAR is striving to be as relevant today as we were to the community 60 years ago."
Much has changed at WKAR TV the past 60 years. In the early days, almost every program was live and locally produced and the station was housed in World War II-era Quonset huts.
WKAR TV later aired programs from a budding educational network known as NET (National Educational Television) and later the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Now, the station is housed in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences building and WKAR TV original productions like "Off the Record," "BackStage Pass" and "Current Sports with Al Martin" can be viewed on iPad and iPhone, Xbox, Roku and at video.wkar.org by people all across the country and world.
But for all the changes, the mission has remained the same as it was so aptly described by then-MSC President John Hannah at WKAR TV's dedication ceremony in 1954: "The purpose of Michigan State College when it was established 100 years ago was to help the people of Michigan learn to live more effectively and to learn to live more enjoyable lives. Television is the greatest tool ever devised to carry out the program of education for all the people."
For the past 60 years, WKAR TV has provided educational and entertaining programming for people of all ages across mid-Michigan, and continues to build upon that service, with WKAR originals, the best from PBS, and community events that bring together people and ideas to Expand Your World.
"Current State's" Kevin Lavery spoke with Reid about the station's history. During that interview, Reid said it made sense to have a TV station at a university at the time because it was new, cutting-edge technology. To listen to that interview, visit the WKAR-TV website.
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