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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Our History

WGVU’s broadcast stations are licensed to Grand Valley State University as public radio and television facilities operating from the Meijer Public Broadcast Center, as part of the University's downtown Grand Rapids campus.

Our television stations are affiliated with PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and the radio stations are affiliated with NPR (National Public Radio).

The first television station, WGVC-TV 35, signed on the air on December 17, 1972. In 1984, our Kalamazoo station, WGVK-TV, Channel 52, began operation. In 1987, the call letters of channel 35 were converted to WGVU-TV, reflecting Grand Valley State College's transformation to Grand Valley State University.

WGVU-FM 88.5 began broadcasting on July 17, 1983 and expanded its power to 3,000 watts on December 17, 1987. WGVU-AM 1480 began simulcast transmissions on May 22, 1992, and stations WGVS-AM 850 in Muskegon and WGVS-FM 95.3 in Whitehall came on-board in 1999. On August 24, 2009, WGVU 1480 AM and WGVS 850 AM became Real Oldies, offering music from the 50s, 60s and early 70s to west Michigan.

We are licensed in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek designated broadcast market. It is the 38th largest market in the United States, reaching over 2.4 million television viewers in 28 counties and over 1.3 million radio listeners from Grand Rapids to the Lakeshore. The majority of our operating funds come from individual members in west Michigan (68%); other funds come from Grand Valley State University (9%), corporate underwriters (9%) and currently, the federal government (14%). We currently have approximately 16,000 television members and 1500 radio members who support our efforts to provide quality public broadcasting to west and southwest Michigan.

WGVU Productions produces several local series and programs, including Ask the, WGVU Community Connection, WGVU Newsmakers, West Michigan Week and Grand Valley State Sports Report, which has traveled throughout the country to bring home coverage of all of Grand Valley State University’s varsity sports teams. Documentaries by WGVU Productions include The Deadly Fuze: The Story of World War II’s Best Kept Secret, David Plowden: Light, Shadow and Form, Defying Hitler, Surviving Auschwitz: Children of the Shoah, Time and Chance: Gerald Ford’s Appointment with History and Stefon Harris and Friends: African Tarantella – Dances with Duke. Many WGVU productions have been nominated for Michigan EMMY Awards, with honors going to Hope College Christmas Vespers 2004, Battle Creek: Celebrating Flight 2008, David Plowden, Defying Hitler and Surviving Auschwitz.

WGVU Radio was named Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2005 and 2006. WGVU TV followed in 2008.

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