WVIZ (Digital channel 26, PSIP 25.1), is a PBS memeber station serving its city of license, Cleveland, Ohio. The non-commercial outlet is the flagship station of parent owner Ideastream, with studios located in the Idea Center at Playhouse Square at 1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115, and on the web at www.wviz.org.
On February 7, 1965, at 10:42 a.m., WVIZ signed on the air for the first time, broadcasting the word “THINK” from its first home, Max Hayes Trade School in Cleveland. The new WVIZ broadcast 50 hours a week—weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. WVIZ became the 100th public television station in the nation.
In the early 1960s, Betty Cope, then a director at WEWS-TV 5, began working with a community group interested in activating educational television on Channel 25 for the Greater Cleveland area. In 1963, thanks to start-up grants from The Cleveland Foundation and the Educational Television Association for Metropolitan Cleveland, matched by a United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare grant in 1964, educational television in Northeast Ohio was becoming a reality.
Cope was WVIZ’s first general manager, and, in 1972, she was named president of the association that held the station’s license. Commonly called Channel 25, WVIZ was a member of National Educational Television (NET), which later became the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1970. The broadcast station officially changed its name to WVIZ/PBS in 1999.
Jerry Wareham became the station’s chief executive officer after Cope retired in 1993. Currently, Wareham is the CEO of ideastream, created in 2001, when WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN, an NPR member station, joined together to “strengthen our communities” and harness the power of multiple media. The growth continued and today ideastream is a nonprofit organization that applies the power of media to education, culture and citizenship. It includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, WCLV 104.9 Classical, educational and public service cable channels, broadband interactive video distance learning and web and other interactive media, as well as a community engagement platform—Civic Commons.
WVIZ/PBS is now on 24/7 and includes four digital channels—WVIZ/PBS HD, WVIZ/PBS Create, WVIZ/PBS World and The Ohio Channel—as well as video on demand at video.ideastream.org. WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education builds upon WVIZ’s rich heritage of educational training programs by offering a variety of in-person, online and distance learning opportunities throughout the year, as well as managing the SMART Consortium (Science and Math Achievement Required for Tomorrow), a professional development program for teachers in Northeast Ohio’s school systems.