FAQs

Q: Where do you get most of your funding?

The most important source of funding for PBS39 is you, our viewers. We get most of our funding for programming and operations through local resources. Government funding at the state and federal level has been staying steady, but not keeping pace with the costs of programming, utilities and the other overhead it takes for PBS39 to keep bringing you the programs you want to watch, either over the air or via your pay TV provider. Nearly 64% of our overall budget is made up by viewers, donors, program sponsors and production underwriting.

You might be interested to know that the retail sale of products related to shows that PBS39 carries, such as licensed merchandise like toys, books, DVDs, apparel and other things, when bought outside PBS39’s pledge drives, do not benefit us, the station that serves you. We don’t get a percentage, a kick-back, royalties or a piece of any of these sales. You might be getting a bargain, but we don’t see a dime of the many in the form of royalties, licensing fees or any other avenues such funds might offer.

However, when you make a pledge of support and donate to PBS39, the money you spend with us stays right here and goes to work for you in the form of programming, production of local shows and services that help make your public TV experience a richer one.

Another resource for us are the businesses and organizations that sponsor programs, from the nationally-known icon series from PBS to programs and documentaries produced by PBS39. If you’re a business or organization who wants to support our mission of bringing the best that TV has to offer home to a loyal audience, the program underwriting would be an excellent way of helping us serve thousands of your friends and neighbors throughout our region. You can learn more by clicking here and seeing what our Corporate Support Department has to offer you and your business.

Q: I watch PBS39 on my cable/satellite TV service. Don’t you get a cut of the fees I pay?

In a word, no. PBS39 does not get any money back from area cable companies, satellite providers or other pay-tv service carriers. Many cable and satellite providers have to carry at least one of our channels, and many only handle the bare minimum of what they have to carry to stay compliant with FCC regulations. You might be interested to know that the retail sale of products related to shows that PBS39 carries, such as licensed merchandise like toys, books apparel and other things, when bought outside PBS39’s pledge, do not benefit the station that serves you.

Q: I’ve noticed that I get audio on some of your programs that doesn’t match the video. Why is that?

PBS39 often has additional data in the program broadcast that can be accessed through a viewer’s TV or other equipment connected to that TV, such as a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), or, even still, a VCR. This data might be the Descriptive Video Service (DVS) which describes what is happening on the screen for our sight-impaired viewers, or on some shows, it may be audio broadcast in Spanish. Most often, this happens by someone enabling the SAP (Second Audio Program) channel on your TV, DVR or VCR.

Q. I have noticed that some of the shows I see on PBS39 are different from shows I see on other PBS stations when I travel. Why is that?

A. Each PBS station, PBS39 included, airs programs that fit the area or region that it serves. There are similarities, such as the airing of iconic PBS series like Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Nature, NOVA, Great Performances, American Experience, PBS NewsHour and many PBS Kids programs such as you might see anywhere across America, but then we schedule other programs throughout the week that are unique to PBS39 and our audience here. The times in which you might see programs or types of programs will also vary slightly from station to station and region to region.

How do we determine this? Audience input is one method, and contacting our programming department by email at programming@wfwa.org is one way you can let us know about a show you remember or one you’d like to see.

Ultimately, for us at PBS39, we take steps from listening to our viewers to reviewing hundreds of hours of programs to ensure we are providing the best service possible for our viewers.

PBS39’s Local Programs

Q: How can I buy a DVD of a show I saw on PBS39?

You can contact our Membership Services Department at 260.484.8839 Monday through Friday during our normal business hours of 8:30am – 5:00pm.

Or you can email us at: membership@wfwa.org

Most locally produced shows such as episodes of HealthLine, Matters Of The Mind or PrimeTime39, as well as our locally produced documentaries, are available for purchase for $19.95 ($14.95 for the DVD plus $5.00 shipping and handling).

Most nationally produced shows are available directly through PBS. Click here to see their online shopping site:  http://www.shoppbs.org.

Q: Where can I watch a show you’ve produced like Matters of the Mind, HealthLine, Life Ahead, arts IN focus or Primetime39?

At PBS39, we archive and make our local programs available to watch online, anytime, for free. These shows, from our weekly series in addition to other productions,  can be found online by clicking this link.

You can also copy and paste this URL: http://video.wfwa.org/ into your favorite web browser and it will take you there.

Programming

Q: Why does PBS schedule a program for broadcast, but sometimes PBS39 doesn’t air it until later?

There are times when PBS will schedule a program for broadcast off of a satellite feed at a time when PBS39 will have already scheduled another show in our lineup (as do many other stations nationwide). In these cases, we usually find a broadcast slot at a later date to air the program.

Still, there are instances where the producers of the program may mistakenly promote the satellite feed date and time of a program as the broadcast date and time of a program.

Finally, there are a wide variety of programs fed by PBS and other public television resources, in total, more than there are hours in the day to broadcast them. We simply cannot air all the programs available to us. The past history of a program’s performance, its educational or cultural value, and how those values relate to our viewing area and mission, are major factors in determining whether a particular show may or may not air.

Viewer input is also greatly valued. If you have an idea or suggestion, we’d love to hear it. Just email us at: programming@wfwa.org.

Q: When do you repeat Nature / NOVA / British Comedies / My Favorite Show?

You can find out by clicking this link or simply check the schedule embedded on the homepage. This will give you a direct link to the PBS39 schedule including all 4 of our channels. Once there, you’ll be able to view programming by channel, day, week or month. You’ll find that many show that air in prime time viewing hours re-appear in the overnight hours, and that some of the prime-time shows from 39.1 may re-air again on 39.4.

Q: Who do I talk to about a show I heard might air on PBS39?

A:  You’re welcome to call your question in anytime during normal business hours to (260) 484-8839 and ask for program Director Kris Hensler. You can also email your request directly to us at programming@wfwa.org.

Q: I got an email from a company teling me to watch for a program that‘s going to air on PBS39, but I don’t see it on your schedule. Why is that?

A. Because many program producers that are not affiliated with PBS, but other resources (like American Public Television, NETA, BBC Worldwide and independent producers) we pick programming from may make a program available on a certain date, that does not mean that we at PBS39 are going to pick up and air that show the minute it becomes available. At PBS39, we look at programs before we pick them, review the subject matter and content and then determine if we’ll air a program or not.

Timing is another reason. Because we work on our schedules for all four channel at least six weeks ahead of air dates for a particular month, being able to fulfill the minute it has been made available is a nearly impossible one to make happen. If there is a cost for a program above and beyond what we have in our budget, that also makes these requests very difficult to manage.

We also get dozens of emails and calls from people who have been assured a show will run on PBS39 through a producer’s marketing email or social media account they subscribe to “urging their local PBS station to carry this program.” We read the requests, we investigate the shows and we balance our decision making with how a show fits our mission as a public television station in addition to how well it fits the audience at large that we serve.