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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions we receive about Classical WETA, WETA Television, and more.


Classical Weta

I'm having trouble listening to Classical WETA from the Internet. What should I do?

There are many reasons why you may be having trouble listening to Classical WETA via your computer. Please see the extensive FAQs on our Listen Live page for questions and answers that may help.
What is the broadcast coverage area of  Classical WETA?


Does WETA offer tours of its radio and/or television facilities?
Unfortunately, no, not at this time. However, we have conducted organized adult-only group tours for WETA donors in the past and may reprise that activity at some time in the future.


Sometimes segments from "Sesame Street" or another children’s show will be repeated several days in a row. Why is that?
Shows like Sesame Street are targeted at an age group that learns best through repetition. Childhood development specialists who work on these programs recommend that core lessons be repeated to optimize the value of the lessons. Controlled research shows that children love the repetition. They gain a sense of accomplishment through recognition of repeated concepts.


When does my WETA membership expire?
A donation of $35 or more renews your membership for one full calendar year from the date of your contribution.
Can I renew my WETA membership over the phone or online?
Yes. You may call the Audience Services department at 703-998-2724 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday to renew your membership. Or, you can go to and click on "Donate" in the upper right corner of each page. Making a contribution by telephone or via the web are faster methods than mail renewal.
What do I do if I'm receiving two magazines from WETA?
If you are receiving multiple magazines from WETA in your household, you may have more than one membership account with us. Please call our Audience Services staff at 703-998-2724 and we will combine the duplicate accounts. Please be sure to provide us your name and the membership numbers from your magazine mailing labels.
When can I expect to receive my thank-you gift after a pledge donation?
Delivery of thank-you gifts usually takes 2-8 weeks following the end of a membership drive. We place our order for gifts as soon as we know how many we’re going to need and then send them on to members like you as soon as we receive them. Gifts are sent via third-class mail in order to maximize the value of your contribution to support our programs.
I sent my renewal check, but I received another renewal notice. Why?
Due to the long lead time required for mailing thousands of notices, your name was most likely pulled for the next notice while your payment was on its way – so they may have crossed in the mail. If you sent your payment with the reply card that was enclosed with a renewal reminder, be assured that your membership has been renewed.
I would like to mail a donation to WETA. To whom should I address it?
Attn: Membership
3939 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206

WETA Television

What is the broadcast coverage area of  WETA Television?
Where can I purchase a copy of a recent TV program that I watched and enjoyed on WETA?
Many popular public television programs and series that appear on WETA’s channels are made available for sale on VHS or DVD, and some programs have companion books as well.
Go to Shop WETA to find Shop PBS programs available for purchase. By first going through the WETA website, you will receive a 15 percent discount when you enter a special code and a portion of the proceeds will come back to support WETA.
You can also use Google or other search engines to find programs by name. Most programs' websites indicate whether a show is available for retail sale. If you are having trouble finding a program, please contact the Audience Services department at 703-998-2724.
Will particular TV programs I enjoyed years ago – "I, Claudius" or "Upstairs Downstairs," for example – ever be re-broadcast?
WETA acquires broadcast rights for many television programs from PBS or other distributors and independent producers through contracts that stipulate when WETA can air the program. Contracts can be for a single airing or for multiple airings during a specified period, but the standard rights window is three years. When the rights term expires, WETA may no longer air the program and the rights revert to the producers of the programs.
The producers may then sell the program elsewhere or renegotiate arrangements with public television, but they also may choose to end distribution of the program for a variety of reasons, including antiquated production values or contractual obligations to the original participants in the program. Re-broadcasts of older shows most often hinge on decisions by the producer of a program.
The WETA Magazine, TV Week and on-screen guides all list the same program but when I tune in to watch it's not playing. Why?
While we try our best to avoid schedule changes, sometimes they are inevitable. The main reason is long lead times for print deadlines. We may discover that an important event leads us to change the TV schedule, or we may find out after the WETA Magazine goes to press that we cannot air a particular program. During membership drives, we may make changes on the basis of a program’s popularity and success in raising funds.
For the latest information, please check the schedules on
Why are some television programs repeated often during WETA’s on-air membership drives?
In a word: Success! On-air membership drives, both on TV and FM, are critical to raising funds to support the production and broadcast of our programs. On TV, about 2 percent of our total airtime in a year is devoted to fundraising; less than 1 percent of airtime on Classical WETA.
Given the narrow window of opportunity that we have to ask our audience for support, the time that we do spend must be used wisely. Naturally, we find that some programs are far more successful at raising membership dollars than others. Because viewers spend varying amounts of time – at differing times of the day and evening – watching television, we repeat successful programs more often in order to reach the most viewers.
On-air membership drives are the most direct way to talk to those who enjoy and value our programs, and successful drives help fund our daily line-up of shows.
Why does WETA sometimes feel the need to preempt previously-scheduled shows for news events we can watch elsewhere?
On rare occasions when news events of national importance arise, WETA does indeed preempt regularly scheduled programming. Not everyone has access to the cable news media, and even many commercial news stations do not devote extensive coverage to hearings, conventions, speeches and other news events.
We believe that a vital aspect of our public service is making available to the American public the proceedings of our democracy on the most momentous of issues or on the most momentous occasions for the nation. As the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, we believe that WETA has a special responsibility to dedicate broadcast time in these instances.
During your TV pledge drives, I see listings for “WETA Member Favorites” – what are these?
Essentially, WETA Member Favorites is a device to guard against the bane of all viewers and broadcasters alike: last-minute schedule changes. Less than 2 percent of our total air time in a year is devoted to on-air fundraising, yet support from individual members like you makes up about half of our day-to-day operating budget. Thus, when we do conduct on-air membership drives, there is no room for failure. Every program must be as effective as possible at raising membership support. Naturally, some programs perform much better than others. However, we cannot know in advance which shows will be the most successful.
Meanwhile, we do have print deadlines to make. So we block out the time as WETA Member Favorites so we can then slot in the most successful programs. Remember, every viewer has different viewing habits. Some viewers may be seeing a show for the first time, even though it may have aired multiple times in the past. Our goal is to reach as many viewers as possible with the most popular shows.
What is Descriptive Video Information (DVI)?
DVI (Descriptive Video Information) enables visually impaired people to hear enriched verbal descriptions of what is heard and seen on a TV's primary audio and video channels. Most TVs and VCRs require you to select the SAP channel in order to activate DVI.
Other SAP channel services can include translations of programming into other languages (such as the Spanish translation on some children's series), a director's narration on a movie or arts program, along with other possibilities.
The selector is usually labeled SAP, MTS, Audio 2, or Audio B on your TV panel, remote-control device, or on-screen menu. It's generally included in the Audio Options part of your menu. Un-selecting the SAP channel (usually by going back to Stereo or Mono) should eliminate the extra sound. If you're not able to un-select the SAP channel, review your TV owner's manual or contact a TV vendor who can guide you through the process. If this does not help please contact your cable provider.


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