PBS Expands Its World

The public broadcaster's 24/7 channel rolls out today on 55 digital stations

PBS is expanding its carriage for 24/7 channel PBS World. A repository for the public broadcaster’s documentary, news and public affairs programming, the channel rolls out today on 55 digital stations (representing 24 licenses), reaching more than 27 % of the country.

PBS World has been available in New York, Boston and Springfield, Mass., since 2004 and Washington, D.C. since 2006.

Distributed by WGBH Boston and New York’s Thirteen/WNET, in association with American Public Television (APT) and the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), PBS World will offer second runs of popular PBS programs including American Experience, Frontline, History Detectives, Nature, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NOVA, Scientific American Frontiers and The Tavis Smiley Show.

Ken Burns’ anticipated World War II documentary series The War, which kicks off nationally in September, also will rerun on PBS World.

The channel will get an infusion of member station programming as well: the PBS World allows for several hours of local news and public affairs programming each day. Additionally, member stations can brand the channel with their own call letters.

“This new national channel offers more choice, more convenience, and more opportunity to invite new audiences to public television,” says Jon Abbott, chief operating officer of WGBH.

The public broadcaster expects to expand the channel with the 2009 digital conversion. Major markets signing on for the launch include Cleveland, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Milwaukee.

“The launch of this new service provides an exciting opportunity for PBS and its stations to deliver more of the non-fiction programming that our audiences tell us they want,” says PBS President Paula Kerger. “We believe that PBS World will prove an indispensable destination for people who crave in-depth information about the world.”