COOKEVILLE – The year was 1978 – a monumental time for Upper Cumberland public television.
That’s when local PBS-affiliate WCTE-TV launched its first broadcast, providing a voice for viewers across the region through informative and innovative programming.
Four decades later, the Cookeville History Museum is taking a look back at the station’s accomplishments in a new exhibit, “WCTE-TV: 40 Years of Upper Cumberland PBS,” which opens Saturday with a reception from 1-3 p.m. at 40 E. Broad St.
“We want to celebrate WCTE-TV’s impressive milestone,” Pam Philpot, exhibit specialist, said.
Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.
WCTE’s mission, according to its website, is to give a voice to the people and places of the Upper Cumberland region, as well as engage citizens through “distinctive programs and services that inform, educate, entertain and inspire.”
The Emmy award-winning station is the only television station, public or commercial, in a 75-mile radius of Cookeville, making it a strategic partner with education, health services, government, arts and music.
Additionally, it is one of only 350 PBS affiliates nationwide. Its signal reaches 1.3 million throughout middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky with over-the-air broadcast, cable and satellite services.
“As a small southern town in a rural area, we are so lucky to have an asset like WCTE,” Beth Thompson, Cookeville museums manager, said. “We want people to recognize the quality programming that is created by the station, as well as the educational and entertaining options that are offered to our area because we have a local PBS affiliate.”
Numerous WCTE artifacts will be displayed, including technical equipment, Great TV Auction memorabilia, PBS Kids items, photos of many familiar faces and special awards the station has received.
“There will be so many WCTE memories to make you smile,” Philpot said. “You won’t want to miss this special hometown exhibit.”
The exhibit continues through Sept. 22.
The Cookeville History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at 40 E. Broad St. For more information, call 931-520-5455.