WETA’s public service began 50 years ago when a group of visionaries led by Washington publisher Willard Kiplinger and former college dean and Arlington School Board Chairman Elizabeth Campbell secured a license from the FCC and launched WETA Channel 26 on October 2, 1961. Since then, WETA has steadily expanded its public service — but its mission remains fundamentally the same. WETA is committed to presenting educational programming for children and to providing opportunities for lifelong learning for all who seek enrichment, inspiration and information.

Learn more about WETA's history with the retrospective features below.

Elizabeth Campbell

WETA’s Founding & Elizabeth Campbell

After an eight-year effort by a committed group of public television pioneers, longtime Arlingtonian Elizabeth P. Campbell and Washington publisher Willard Kiplinger brought WETA on the air in 1961. Campbell would guide the institution for more than 40 years. Learn more about the history of WETA.

WETA's First Broadcast

Our First Broadcast

WETA Channel 26 hit the Washington airwaves on October 2, 1961, when station manager George Baker introduced viewers to WETA's inaugural broadcast, The New Era.

Gwen Ifill

Remembering Gwen Ifill

We remember our friend and colleague and her nearly 40-year career as a newspaper and television journalist.

Ward Chamberlin

Ward Chamberlin

Ward Chamberlin served as President and CEO of WETA for fourteen years, from 1975 until 1989, and then as the Vice Chairman of our Board of Trustees until 1994.