Maryland Public Television (MPT) is the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member state network for the U.S. state of Maryland. It operates under the auspices of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, an agency of the Maryland state government that holds the licenses for all PBS member stations licensed in the state. It benefits from the support of an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, the MPT Foundation, Inc. (formerly known as the Maryland Public Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.). Studios are located in the unincorporated community of Owings Mills in northwestern Baltimore County.
MPT operates six full-power transmitters that cover nearly all of the state, plus Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Its local and regional television credits include several state-focused programs on civic and public affairs, as well as a variety of original performance, documentary, and entertainment offerings for the citizens of Maryland. Beyond broadcasting, MPT creates instructional videos, develops training, and builds Internet sites that serve tens of thousands of students, teachers, and child-care providers annually. The centerpiece of MPT's service to Maryland educators, students, and families is Thinkport, a Web site that offers online teaching resources, professional development opportunities and digital technology tools to assist educators.
Maryland Public Television has earned awards ranging from television Emmys for its quality productions to government citations for its volunteerism and educational accomplishments. MPT has been led by Larry Unger, president and chief executive officer, since 2011.
WMPB (licensed to Baltimore) first signed on in 1969 as the first station of the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting; it gained satellite stations in Salisbury, Hagerstown, and Annapolis between 1971 and 1975, resulting in a formation of a statewide public television network. The network adopted its current name in 1984. Maryland Instructional Television (Maryland ITV), a division of the State Department of Education, was also housed at the network until 1991. On July 4, 1987, WFPT (licensed to Frederick) signed on as a third PBS member station for the Washington market, while WGPT in Oakland signed on as the MPT station for extreme western portions of Maryland (which is part of the Pittsburgh television market); prior to the latter station's launch, PBS programming was only available over the air via WNPB-TV.
About 1999, the network launched an afternoon Britcom programming block, Afternoon Tea, replacing children's programming. By 2009, MPT was airing kids' programming during the day on its MPT Select channel.
In September 2015, as part of budget cuts, MPT outsourced its master control operations to Public Media Management—a joint venture of Boston PBS member WGBH and Sony Corporation.
Inside MPT's Studio A during the taping of Chesapeake Collectibles in June 2010
Current regional productions
- MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans: Maryland Public Television salutes the men and women who served in the Vietnam era
- Chesapeake Collectibles: weekly series featuring people and their collectibles
- Maryland Farm and Harvest: weekly series helping Marylanders learn more about agriculture
- Chesapeake Bay Week: week long series of programs in April dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay
- Direct Connection: public affairs call-in show focusing on discussion and analysis of politics and the news
- Outdoors Maryland: outdoors show highlighting the Mid-Atlantic region's diversity and beauty
- State Circle: news and analysis program detailing Maryland's General Assembly proceedings
- Ways to Pay for College: annual special on finding money for higher education
- Your Money & Business: consumer-oriented business magazine
- ArtWorks: regional arts updates and specials highlighting Maryland's culture and history
- Our Town: a collection of documentaries showcasing different towns across Maryland
On location in Tucson, Arizona shooting Steven Raichlen's Project Smoke at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort in February 2015
Nationally distributed productions
- Steven Raichlen's Project Smoke (2015-2017) outdoor cooking series with Steven Raichlen.
- MotorWeek: (1981–present PBS) automotive magazine featuring new automotive technology and model reviews
- Great Performances: Star-Spangled Spectacular: Music special commemorating 200th Anniversary of FSK's National Anthem
- F.S. Key and the Song That Built America
- Planet Forward: A special on energy, climate, and sustainability
- For Love of Liberty: series telling the story of America's black servicemen
- Music of Ireland: Welcome Home
- National Geographic Bee
- Veteran's Day: A Musical Tribute
- Space Racers: an animated children's television series about space and science
Regional documentaries and specials
- Eatin' Oysters: Chesapeake Style! (2017) who's eating & shucking oysters, why they love them, and where to find the best.
- Search for the USS Scorpion: (2017) Could it be that we have finally found the lost flagship of Commodore Barney’s Flotilla?
- Conowingo Dam: Power on the Susquehanna (2016) the dam's unique story and place in Maryland history
- Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had: (2011) the ultimate crab cake treasure hunt
- Potomac by Air: (2015) explores incredible natural and man-made history along our nation's river
- Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style: (2008) a rollicking foray into the world of the blue crab, from dockside to table.
- Distinctive Homes of the Chesapeake: (2013) opening the door to Maryland's unique, historic and magnificent homes surrounding the Chesapeake Bay
- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay (2014) an exciting look back at the monumental creation of the Bay Bridge
- A.M. Weather (1978-1995): a 15-minute daily program featuring detailed forecasts presented by NOAA meteorologists
- Baking with Julia (1996-1999) a cooking series with Julia Child (PBS)
- Barbecue University (2003–2006) outdoor cooking series with Steven Raichlen.
- Bob the Vid Tech (1993–2010), children's specials and interstitials.
- Coastal Cooking with John Shields (2005), 13 programs hosted by John Shields, distributed by American Public Television
- Consumer Survival Kit (1970s), national PBS series.
- Cooking in America with Pierre Franey (1991), series of 13 shows.
- Cooking With Master Chefs (1990s), 13 shows hosted by Julia Child.
- Cuisine Rapide (1990), series of 13 cooking shows hosted by chef Pierre Franey.
- Dessert Circus (1997), a cooking series featuring Jacques Torres.
- Hodgepodge Lodge (1970s), a nature show for children hosted by Jean Worthley.
- Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan (1998-2002) (PBS)
- Julia Child: Lessons With Master Chefs (2000-2011) (PBS)
- Kratts' Creatures, (1996) children's series with the Kratt Brothers (PBS)
- Lynn Fischer's Healthy Indulgences (late 1990s), 26 shows hosted by Lynn Fischer.
- Maryland State of Mind (1994–2001), 28 episode series hosted by NPR's Scott Simon, showcasing the 13 schools of the University System of Maryland.
- Newsnight Maryland, a locally produced news program that reviews the stories happening in the state of Maryland; hosted by journalists Bob Althage and Camilla Carr.
- On Nature's Trail (1978), a television show featured Elmer and Jean Worthley observing and discussing plants growing at different locations in Baltimore County, Maryland.
- On Stage at Wolf Trap (1980s), concert series.
- Of Earth and Man (1970s), educational series.
- Primal Grill (2008—2011) outdoor cooking series with Steven Raichlen.
- The Transformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution with Robert X. Cringely (2007), 1 hour documentary on technology and business. A co-production with the Robert H Smith School of Business.
- To the Contrary (1992-2011) Persephone Productions (PBS)
- Volvo Ocean Race: sailing race around the world with host Gary Jobson
- Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser (1972–2002), MPT's signature long running financial information program
- Weeknight Alive! (1980s), arts series
- Wimzie's House, children's series
- Zoboomafoo (1999-2001) children's series with the Kratt Brothers and PBS in the United States; Canadian production handled by Cinar.
The MPT stations are:
||City of license
||First air date
||Public license information
(to move to 22 (UHF))
|October 5, 1969
90 kW (CP)
|309 m (1,014 ft)
307 m (1,007 ft) (CP)
|39°26′49.9″N 76°46′47.2″W / 39.447194°N 76.779778°W
(to move to 16 (UHF))
|March 18, 1971
320 kW (CP)
|155 m (509 ft)
154 m (505 ft) (CP)
|38°23′9″N 75°35′31″W / 38.38583°N 75.59194°W
(to move to 29 (UHF))
|October 5, 1974
700 kW (CP)
|369 m (1,211 ft)
375 m (1,230 ft) (CP)
|39°39′4″N 77°58′14″W / 39.65111°N 77.97056°W
(to move to 21 (UHF))
|September 22, 1975
1000 kW (CP)
|290 m (951 ft)
284 m (932 ft) (CP)
|39°0′36.7″N 76°36′31.8″W / 39.010194°N 76.608833°W
|July 4, 1987
71.3 kW (CP)
|158 m (518 ft)
156 m (512 ft) (CP)
|39°15′38″N 77°18′43.6″W / 39.26056°N 77.312111°W
(to move to 26 (UHF))
|July 4, 1987
200 kW (CP)
|285 m (935 ft)
283 m (928 ft) (CP)
|39°24′14.3″N 79°17′36.1″W / 39.403972°N 79.293361°W
- WMPT used the callsign WAPB (the "A" standing for Annapolis) from its 1975 sign-on to July 4, 1984.
- WGPT and WFPT were both first licensed in 1979 as translators W36AB and W62AY, respectively. They were later replaced by full-powered licenses from the same transmitter sites.
Cable and satellite coverage
MPT is available on all Maryland cable systems. Additionally, WMPB is available on the Baltimore DirecTV and Dish Network feeds. WMPT is carried on nearly all cable systems in the Washington area, as well as the Washington DirecTV and Dish Network feeds. WCPB is available on the Salisbury DirecTV and Dish Network feeds; while WGPT is carried on the Pittsburgh feeds.
The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:
MPT's stations shut down their analog signals on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital channel allocations post-transition are as follows:
- WMPB shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 67; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 29, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 67, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
- WMPT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 22; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 22.
- WCPB shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 28; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 28.
- WWPB shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 31; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 44, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31.
- WGPT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 36; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 54, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 36.
- WFPT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 62; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 28, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 62, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
As a part of the repacking process following the 2016–2017 FCC incentive auction, channels 38 through 51 will be removed from television broadcasting. None of MPT's stations sold their allocations, but five of them will move channels within the UHF band: WMPT will move to channel 21, WMPB to channel 22, WWPB to channel 29, WGPT to channel 26, and WCPT to channel 16.
For 2008, MPT received 14 Emmy Award nominations from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). MPT received Emmys for Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style, two awards for Bob the Vid Tech: The Mystery of the Missing Pizza and one for ArtWorks: Manuel Barrueco Special.
MPT received two 2008 CINE Golden Eagle Awards for The Transformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution with Robert X. Cringely, a coproduction of MPT/University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, and Lethal Landscapes: Canvases of the Combat Artist.
For 2007, the station received 11 nominations and won 1 National Capitol Emmy including 3 nominations for their regional The War series and 5 nominations for Outdoors Maryland. Motorweek also received the Board of Governors Award.