The History of WGCU
WGCU Public Media and its predecessor WSFP-TV/FM have served Southwest Florida with the finest in public television and radio programming for over 30 years. Originally a satellite operation licensed to the University of South Florida, WGCU Public Media became an independent entity in 1996 when the broadcast licenses were transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University, a new public university that was being built to serve the Southwest Florida region. The stations’ call letters were changed to WGCU-TV/FM, and a new state-of-the-art broadcast facility was built as part of the new university’s campus. The building is named the Myra Janco Daniels Public Media Center, in honor of Ms. Daniel’s major gift to local arts programming.
Since that time we have dramatically strengthened and expanded the physical infrastructure, the financial base and the media services that now comprise WGCU Public Media:
- Expanded our service by providing five distinct digital television programming streams–including a 24-hour High Definition channel and a 24-hour PBS Kids Channel
- Provided the region with the first full-day public radio News and Information programming service that today includes a weekday local call-in, talk show: Gulf Coast Live focusing on issues and people in Southwest Florida.
- Launched a 24-hour-a-day Adult Album Alternative programming service and a 24-hour classical music service on HD radio
- Organized staff to reflect an integrated media model for production, dissemination and programming rather than a traditional television and radio model
- Founded a monthly magazine, funded from paid ads and membership pledges, that has a circulation of 14,000 and an online digital version as well
- Developed an award-winning website, wgcu.org, that incorporates digital archives of all locally produced TV and FM programs, streaming FM service, access to national sites, and social media tools
- Launched and significantly upgraded a mobile app that provides limitless listening and viewing, with our four live radio streams and on-demand viewing of favorite PBS series
- Produced over 160 documentary-style local television programs, many of which have won national awards and have been accepted for national distribution through the American Public Television Service
- Earned numerous national and regional awards, including a Peabody Award, for our radio news programming
- Virtually eliminated videotape as our dissemination source. Download, store and transmit exclusively in digital formats
- Upgraded TV production equipment to a state-of-the-art HD facility