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WETA History

WETA’s public service began 50 years ago when a group of visionaries led by Washington publisher Willard Kiplinger and former college dean and Arlington School Board Chairman Elizabeth Campbell secured a license from the FCC and launched WETA Channel 26 on October 2, 1961. Since then, WETA has steadily expanded its public service — but its mission remains fundamentally the same. WETA is committed to presenting educational programming for children and to providing opportunities for lifelong learning for all who seek enrichment, inspiration and information.

Learn more about WETA's history with the retrospective features below.

WETA Camera Drawing

Enjoy this step through time charting WETA's history.

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A New Era

WETA Channel 26 hit the Washington airwaves on October 2, 1961, when station manager George Baker introduced viewers to WETA's inaugural broadcast, The New Era.

Watch our first broadcast, "The New Era" →
Elizabeth P. Campbell

After an eight-year effort by a committed group of public television pioneers, longtime Arlingtonian Elizabeth P. Campbell and Washington publisher Willard Kiplinger brought WETA on the air in 1961. Campbell would guide the institution for more than 40 years. Learn more about the history of WETA.

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WETA 50th Anniversary Photo Montage

WETA 50th Anniversary Photo Montage

Take a look back at WETA's first 50 years with this musical photo montage highlighting some of the top moments and personalities in our history. Thanks to our viewers and listeners for making everything possible!

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