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Our History

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WQLN PBS NPR has been a staple in the Lake Erie region for more than 50 years. We would like to thank our members for helping us achieve our community service mission year after year.

Because of you and your support for our core programming, we've educated, inspired, and entertained—with series like Masterpiece, All Things Considered, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Classics with Brian Hannah, and so many more! We've also taken that passionate commitment to keeping you informed, entertained, and safe to a new level in the wake of a global pandemic.

1950's - 1970's
1980's- 1990's
2000's - 2020's
1950's - 1970's

1953
Educational Television
Local PTAs establish Educational Television of Northwest Pennsylvania.

1966
Robert Chitester
General Manager

FCC approval
March 31 — Public Broadcasting of Northwest Pennsylvania receives final approval from the FCC. Construction of WQLN Studio and Offices begins.

1967
WQLN TV signs on the air
August 13 — WQLN TV signs on the air. Mondays to Thursdays 6:00pm to 11:00pm. Sundays 7:00pm to 11:00pm

1968
Mister Rogers
June — Debut of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

1969
Sesame Street
November — Sesame Street Premieres

1973
WQLN Radio signs on the air
January 7 — WQLN Radio signs on the air. First program is Towards the Less Known Music hosted by John Fleming.

Jazz
Rob Hoff begins hosting Jazz programs from WQLN Radio’s remote studio located at Mercyhurst College.

1974
Jazz with Joe DiGiorgio
Joe DiGiorgio begins hosting Jazz with Joe DiGiorgio.

Guppies to Groupers
October — Premiere of Guppies to Groupers hosted by Paul Speice.

1975
Five Mornings
September 8— Jim VanDongen begins hosting the radio news program Five Mornings.

1976
Great TV Auction
May — WQLN Great TV Auction airs for first time.

1980's- 1990's

1980
Free to Choose
WQLN TV’s Free to Choose with Milton Freeman airs on PBS.

1981
Two Cents Worth
Two Cents Worth with Paul Brown premieres.

1982
Robert Clark
General Manager

1984
Holiday Craft Show
First annual WQLN Holiday Craft Show.

1986
6:00am to Midnight
WQLN-TV begins broadcasting 6:00am to Midnight seven days a week.

1989
Chris Zimmerman
President

This Old House
Norman Abrams from This Old House visits Erie, speaks at WQLN annual luncheon.

Linda Wertheimer
August — Linda Wertheimer from NPR visits Erie, speaks at WQLN annual luncheon.

1990
Paul Stankevich
President/General Manager

1994
F Brady Louis
President/General Manager

1997
New building
September — New WQLN building completed

1998
Patricia Combine
President/General Manager

1999
24 Hours
WQLN TV begins broadcasting 24 hours a day.

2000's - 2020's

2001
Whad'Ya Know
January — Michael Feldman’s Whad'Ya Know broadcasts live from Erie’s Warner Theatre.

2002
Dwight Miller
President/General Manager

2004
A Prairie Home Companion
January — A Prairie Home Companion broadcasts live from Erie’s Warner Theatre.

2009
State Funding Eliminated
June — Pennsylvania eliminates all funding for public broadcasting and eliminates the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

Create
WQLN adds the Create Channel WQLN TV 54.2

2010
World
WQLN adds the World Channel WQLN TV 54.3

2013
Tom New
President/CEO

2014
Radio Studio Dedication
July — WQLN Radio renames its studios after Tom McLaren.

2015
Our Town
May — WQLN TV premieres Our Town with Our Town Meadville.

2016
TV Studio Dedication
July — WQLN TV renames its studios after Phil Fatica.

2020
24/7 Kids
WQLN adds 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel TV 54.4