Over five decades ago, a group of motivated and eager individuals came together around a common goal. They sought to enrich people’s lives through high-quality, non-commercial, educational programming. Institutions like Trinity College and the State of Connecticut supported this goal of reaching out to the community through public broadcasting.
In 1962, the Connecticut Educational Television Station began broadcasting in black and white from the basement of the Trinity College Library in Hartford, Connecticut. With a single videotape machine, 11 staff members launched what soon would become Connecticut Public Television.
On October 1, 1962, at 9:40 a.m., CPTV (Connecticut Public Television) aired a discussion of the humanities with critic Clifton Fadiman. It was the station’s first program, first broadcast, and first day as the nation’s 68th station in the National Education Television Network, the predecessor to PBS.
In 1978, Connecticut Public Radio joined the network, forming what is today known as Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc., is the parent organization of CPTV, CPTV Spirit, PBS KIDS 24/7 and Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR). Past TV channels included CPTV Sports and CPTV Create.
CPTV has been a major producer of children's programming for the PBS network. Its best-known offering was Barney & Friends. Other children's shows originated and/or distributed by CPTV are Thomas & Friends, Bob The Builder, Make Way for Noddy, Angelina Ballerina, and The Saddle Club as well as the first season of SeeMore's Playhouse (the second season was distributed by Oregon Public Broadcasting). From 1993 to 2005, Alan Alda hosted the science series Scientific American Frontiers, based on the popular magazine Scientific American. That show was also produced by CPTV and aired nationwide.*
In 2004, CPBI made the move to a new broadcast home in Hartford's historic Asylum Hill neighborhood, a facility with contemporary technology that has enabled CPTV and WNPR to provide programming through a variety of multi-media platforms, in addition to traditional television and radio broadcasting. A satellite office at Gateway Community College in New Haven also houses a Connecticut Public Radio broadcast studio.
For its first 20 years, Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR) broadcast a mix of classical music, jazz and NPR talk, gradually increasing the news programming on its schedule beginning in the late 1990s. Ultimately, in 2006, WNPR dropped classical music altogether in favor of a full-time news and information format. In 2013, the station launched a new online web service, WNPR News.
From 1982 to 2019, Faith Middleton hosted various shows out of the New Haven studio. She hosted The Faith Middleton Show and The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze, until she retired in 2019.**
Connecticut Public has received many awards and accolades for its original productions and programs over the decades, including multiple Emmy and Student Emmy Awards, 2 Peabody awards, Murrow awards, Gracie Allen awards, Mark Twain awards and more.
Thanks to the generous support of the communities we serve, Connecticut Public has evolved from a single television station broadcasting in black and white to a vibrant statewide, multimedia broadcasting network.
- Here’s a great timeline of Public Media history in the United States from Current.
- More about our media properties and other enterprises here »