In 1955 the Florida Legislature established the Florida ETV Commission to coordinate and activate ETV stations throughout the state. One of the stations in the state plan was WFSU-TV, Channel 11. On September 20, 1960, WFSU-TV began operations in a small studio on the campus of the Florida State University. WFSU-TV began as a low-power black and white signal that only partially covered Tallahassee. Most of the schedule was instructional television programs. By today's standards this may seem primitive, but it was a healthy beginning.
During the late 1960s, WFSU-TV began to expand its operations. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting created in 1967 by Congress, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), formed in 1969, were instrumental to its growth. The concept of public television broadened the scope of programs offered by WFSU-TV resulting in larger audiences. Channel 11 began broadcasting with maximum power in 1972, and shortly after converted to full color.
On July 11, 1988, WFSU-TV began broadcasting to most of Northwest Florida via its new 500-foot state-of-the-art transmitter tower on UHF Channel 56. Prior to the new transmitter installation, some of the Panama City/Bay area had received WFSU-TV's signal through a low-power translator (Channel 22). The new transmitter served residents within a radius of 40 miles from the tower site located in West Bay community of Seminole Hills. Late in 1987 the project was assigned UHF Channel 56 and call letters WFSG by Federal Communications Commission.
In the early 1980s, coinciding with the construction of a new studio and building, a new satellite facility was one of the most exciting innovations at WFSU-TV: it included up-link and down-link capability. This allowed WFSU to receive programs from other public television stations or send programs for reception by stations throughout the nation. WFSU still uses satellite technology today and can carry several channels of alternative programs to provide WFSU-TV and other public television stations with an increasing variety of programming options.
In 1995, WFSU was granted a local cable access station that would feature programming for and about the Florida State University. This channel began as FSU 47, migrated to Channel 6 and is now known as 4FSU. 4FSU features up-to-date information about student and faculty affairs at FSU.
In 2001, WFSU began the process to upgrade to a digital broadcast signal. WFSU-TV can currently be viewed in High Definition digital broadcast signals in accordance with FCC regulations.
Today, WFSU-TV presents a wide variety of programming. It is able to offer programming directed to cultural, educational and special interests. WFSU-TV is unmatched in public affairs, and for the origination of special events. Locally produced programs include Issues in Education, dimensions and Capitol Update (among others), focusing on The Florida State University and statewide government, respectively. Local programming is offered in addition to adult and children's programming offered by PBS nationally.
WFSU-TV has come a long way since its inception in 1960. WFSU now broadcasts a digital signal 24-hours a day and in full High Definition for 12-hours a day.
WFSU-TV's facilities include KU and C Band satellite uplink and downlink capabilities which enable the station to transmit programs around the world and to operate Navigator, an international "turnkey teleconferencing service."
The WFSU facilities include two fully equipped television studios, one of which is the largest in north Florida. Studios house three cameras, computer-driven lighting systems, stereo audio systems, Chyron Duets, and digital video effects systems. Five editing suites are fully equipped for post-production with digital editing equipment (Final Cut Pro/Macintosh based) and professional graphics software. All services are available for hire.
Since 1995, WFSU has operated 4FSU (Comcast Channel 4), a cable access channel that hosts The Florida Channel programming during the day and FSU programming each evening. It is dedicated to heightening public awareness of local and University affairs. 4FSU also acts as a training laboratory for students interested in television production and technology.