PBS Western Reserve: Ohio’s Largest PBS Station
PBS Western Reserve serves the largest population among Ohio’s eight PBS member stations. Our broadcast channels — PBS Western Reserve, Fusion and FNX — are available to 4.9 million viewers in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. It costs us less than $1 per person per year to provide programming and services to the people in our viewing area, making us the most cost efficient PBS station in the state.
History and Mission
PBS Western Reserve is made up of two separately licensed public television stations (WNEO and WEAO) and an Educational Services division operating under one 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio Inc. (NETO). WNEO was established in 1971, is licensed to the city of Alliance and serves the Youngstown designated television market. WEAO went on the air in 1975, is licensed to the city of Akron and serves the Cleveland-Akron-Canton designated television market. All programming is simulcast on the two stations.
It is the mission and purpose of PBS Western Reserve to see that the powerful medium of television is used to teach, illuminate and inspire. We do this through the presentation of consistently outstanding programs and lifelong educational services that are responsive to the varied interests and needs of Northeast Ohioans. The organization continually strives to bring to our viewers cultural and artistic enlightenment and enjoyment; exposure to local, state and national public affairs of importance; and the opportunity for lifelong learning through formal instruction and general educational programming.
Core Programs and Services
PBS Western Reserve airs 35,040 hours a year of commercial-free television on three broadcast services.
PBS Western Reserve is the primary, high definition broadcast service and offers a wide range of programs on subjects including science and nature; drama, art and music; how-tos, travel and adventure; history and biography; and news and public affairs. Additionally, the station airs over 60 hours of children’s programming each week. children’s programming each week. We are in the process of re-inventing our production platform to be nimble and able to take full advantage of new technology and media. We also enjoy an excellent relationship with regional independent producers and serve as the premier television outlet for their work.
The organization also has two standard definition channels: Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2) and FNX (WNEO 45.3 / WEAO 49.3). Fusion offers a combination of arts and culture, public affairs, regional productions and BBC Worldwide programming. FNX features Native content from tribes across the United States and also includes programming that directly connects with a vast minority and immigrant population. These digital channels are available over the air and are also carried by Spectrum Cable, Massillon Cable and Armstrong Cable. Carriage on other cable and satellite services is pending.
Our Educational Services Department, funded by the Ohio Department of Education, serves K-12 students and educators in 10 Ohio counties, which includes over 100 public school districts, over 150 nonpublic schools, over 300,000 students and over 24,000 educators. Since 1973, Educational Services has been training teachers to use the latest educational technologies in their classrooms. Teachers also use the station’s instructional television programming, locally produced multimedia curriculum projects and in-school technology and consultation services. PBS Western Reserve is part of the statewide network of educational technology agencies that provide collaborative training to all educators across the state.
The Ready To Learn Service
PBS Western Reserve’s Ready To Learn (RTL) service is a parent and child-care provider outreach project that supplements PBS children’s programs. The RTL staff offers free workshops, print materials and Web resources to help extend the learning from our children’s shows into reading and hands-on activities. Our free workshops are aligned with the state of Ohio’s “Step Up to Quality” standards and present the professional training now required of all family and in-home child-care providers.
PBS Western Reserve extends our brand through strategic partnerships. We are proud to collaborate with other community entities through local events, reciprocal agreements and other types of support. Some of the organizations with whom we work include Akron Civic Theatre, the Akron and Canton symphony orchestras, Akron Museum of Art, The Butler Institute Institute of American Art, Stambaugh Auditorium The Summit FM, WKSU, the Youngstown Area Children’s Book Fair and more.
Our program guide, The Alternative, circulates to 12,500 members monthly, while our Monday morning e-blast, The Prompter, is sent to 3,000 and highlights programming for the week. In addition, our website averages 118,500 views monthly.
PBS Western Reserve’s website is home to a state-of-the-art video on demand service, which allows visitors to watch PBS national programs as well as over 100 hours of our original regional programming. The site also houses thousands of pages of station-created content. Visitors will find video, daily program schedules for all of our digital broadcast services, station e-newsletters, blogs and our locally developed multimedia curriculum kits for K-12 classrooms, featuring online teacher guides, interactive lesson plans and instructional video.
Operating Budget and Funding Sources
PBS Western Reserve’s 2020 fiscal year operating budget is $4.9 million. Revenue comes from these sources:
Private Support (64%) Private funding includes revenue from 16,000+ members, corporate and foundation underwriting grants and entrepreneurial activities such as tower rental income.
State Funding (17%) Almost all of this funding supports PBS Western Reserve Educational Services and its outreach to K-12 educators. Additionally, Ohio Educational Telecommunications provides partial support for nighttime and weekend operations.
Federal Funding (19%) Federal funding comes to PBS Western Reserve through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
PBS Western Reserve is the business name of Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio Inc. (NETO), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The board of directors is made up of 15 members. View the current board of directors members.
PBS Western Reserve is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and Ohio Educational Television Stations (OETS).
Facilities and Operations
PBS Western Reserve employs 10 full-time and four part-time staff members and engages the services of several freelance professionals for special projects. The operations center, administrative offices and location of public files are housed at 1750 W. Campus Center Drive, Kent, Ohio, 44240. Additionally, the organization operates three transmitters: the WNEO transmitter, located in Salem, serves greater Youngstown and Western Pennsylvania; the WEAO transmitter, located in Copley, serves the greater Cleveland, Akron and Canton areas; and W44CR-D is located in and serves low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley.