For Immediate Release:
July 5, 2005
WTTW11 Celebrates 50 Years On The Air
America's most-watched public television station marks 50th anniversary of first broadcast on September 6, 2005
Chicago, IL In early 1953, the Chicago Educational Television Association (CETA), was created to lobby for, form and fund Chicago's educational station. A public television station was born. “The plan to acquire the license from the FCC for use of Channel 11 is an opportunity that offers unknown and unlimited advantages for every citizen in this area,” said Inland Steel chairman and CETA leader Edward Ryerson. A citywide contest was held to choose call letters for the new station. WTTW Window To The World came in first and on September 6, 1955, fledgling station WTTW11 broadcast its first television program, Report to Teachers. Nearly 50 years later, WTTW11 is the most-watched public television station in the country, with more than 4 million monthly viewers.
While the television market has changed dramatically in the last half-century, as has the climate for public broadcasting, WTTW11 has remained dedicated to educating, enlightening, entertaining and serving its audience. Respect for its viewing audience is key and WTTW11 has sought to demonstrate that respect by maintaining the highest possible standards in programming, engineering and community service. Today, under the leadership of President and CEO Dan Schmidt, WTTW11 produces more local programming than any other public television station in America. WTTW11 has a rich history of devoting its resources to the examination and exploration of local issues, from the arts to public affairs, on a level unmatched by any other electronic media outlet. WTTW11 also remains one of public broadcasting's premier producers of programming - from music series, the arts and children's programs to documentary and current events seen often by a national audience.
WTTW Celebrates 50 Years
While the anniversary is being celebrated throughout the 2005 calendar year, the station will be presenting a special celebration, a gift to its viewing audience and the city of Chicago, with WTTW's 50th Birthday Bash, a live concert special broadcast from Millennium Park on Saturday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Joe Mantegna and Irma P. Hall, the special features Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra with a host of special guests including Billy Corgan, Otis Clay, Liz Callaway, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Carroll, Orbert Davis, Samuel Ramey and Susanne Mentzer.
WTTW's 50th Birthday Bash, a live concert and broadcast event, is made possible through the generosity of Chase, the consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and in partnership with the Grant Park Orchestral Association and Millennium Park.
Whether seen locally on WTTW Channel 11 or WTTW Digital, experienced through community outreach and educational events, or seen nationally through WTTW National Production, WTTW is a cultural resource that continues to become more vibrant each year. All of this is made possible through the support of WTTW11's viewers, members, supporters and the community. WTTW11 is profoundly grateful to all of these groups as we enter our next 50 years of public service through broadcasting.