South Carolina ETV

History of ETV

1957 - The General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution calling for a study of the use of television in public schools.

1958 - A study committee recommends a pilot project be set. A studio is built at Dreher High School in Columbia and the experiment begins. Henry J. Cauthen is selected as technical director and R. Lynn Kalmbach is selected as project director. Educational services are extended to five Columbia area schools.

1960 - The General Assembly creates the SC Educational Television Commission.

1963 - The closed-circuit network is extended to all counties, reaching 155 public high schools, 36 elementary schools, most state colleges, university extension centers and 10 hospitals. WNTV-TV 29 in Greenville signs on.

1964 - WITV-TV 7 in Charleston signs on.

1965 - Henry J. Cauthen becomes executive director of the network upon the death of R. Lynn Kalmbach.

1966 - WRLK-TV 35 in Columbia signs on.

1966 - The first SCENE member's magazine is published.

1968 - The groundbreaking series, "Jobman Caravan" premieres.

1969 - "Jobman Caravan" garners ETV its very first Emmy Award.

1971 - ETV becomes the presenting station for William F. Buckley's "Firing Line."  The series runs until 1999.

1972 - ETV Radio is born, as WEPR-FM 90.1 in Greenville goes on the air, broadcasting the NPR Classical News format. "All Things Considered" is the first program aired.

1974 - WSCI-FM 89.3 in Charleston joins the ETV Radio network.

1975 - WRJA-TV 27 and WRJA-FM 88.1, both in Sumter, and WJWJ-TV 16 in Beaufort begin transmitting.

1976 - WLTR-FM 91.3 in Columbia signs on.

1977 - The brainchild of ETV volunteer Elaine Freeman, the ETV Endowment is born as the non-profit entity that supports the educational mission of ETV and ETV Radio. Freeman serves as the founding executive director of the Endowment, and runs it out of her home for the first few years. To date, the ETV Endowment has raised over $76 million dollars in membership contributions that directly support the programs that are seen and heard across the ETV network.

1977 - ETV begins broadcasting live from Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston. 

1977 - ETV uses satellites for the first time to broadcast continuing Education content on Medical seminars to Charleston and Columbia 

1978 - ETV joins the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) satellite system. WNSC-TV 30 and WNSC-FM 88.9, both in Rock Hill, sign on.

1978 - The first episode of "NatureScene" debuts on ETV. The program would have a 23-year run on ETV, and would make Rudy Mancke and co-host Jim Welch household names in South Carolina.

1979 - "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" is first produced by ETV Radio for national broadcast. The program is still going strong today, and has become the longest running cultural program on NPR.

1980 - WRET-TV 49 in Spartanburg signs on. WJWJ-FM 89.9 in Beaufort signs on.

1981 - WHMC-FM 90.1 in Conway signs on.

1983 - "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" wins the prestigious Peabody Award. 

1985 - "NatureScene" goes national, with distribution all across the United States. Hosts Rudy Mancke and Jim Welch also start going international, visiting everywhere from Costa Rican rainforests to Chernobyl, the site of the catastrophic nuclear plant accident in the USSR.

1988 - ETV starts broadcasting "The Black History Teleconference," connecting South Carolina with communities in Detroit, Atlanta and Washington, DC. The teleconference continues to be aired each February.  

1988 - The 18-state Satellite Educational Resources Consortium, under Henry Cauthen's leadership, receives a $5.6 million grant from the US Department of Education to implement the Star Schools project, providing via satellite live, interactive instruction in math, foreign language and science.

1989 - ETV and ETV Radio provide up-to-the minute coverage of Hurricane Hugo, assisting the Governor in distribution of press announcements.

1989 - ETV ranks as the busiest teleconferencing center in the nation.

1990 - WLJK-FM 89.1 in Aiken signs on.

1991 - Over ETV's closed circuit network, 150 higher education courses are distributed statewide for college credit. A single teleconference produced and transmitted statewide for the Department of Corrections trains more than 1000 law enforcement and correctional officers for approximately 39 cents per officer.

1991 - ETV partners with Bill Moyers and the "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" in broadcasting a live, impromptu national town hall meeting during the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War.

1992 - The Early Childhood Professional Development Network, a national initiative undertaken by ETV, is launched and delivers live interactive training seminars to Head Start teachers in isolated rural areas across the United States.

1993 - ETV enters state-of-the-art medical telecommunications when it establishes a two-way video link between the Medical University of South Carolina and Richland Memorial Hospital.

1994 - ETV enters into a partnership with Scholastic Productions, Inc., as the presenting station for the Magic School Bus.

1995 - ETV introduces its first World Wide Web site.

1996 - ETV Radio begins broadcasting 24-hours a day.

1998 - Paul Amos takes the helm as ETV's third president. ETV launches the READY TO LEARN service to help meet the state's challenge of preparing South Carolina's children for first grade.

1999 - Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, Outstanding Achievement: Interview/Discussion Program, Making It Grow!

2000 - ETV Radio starts broadcasting multiple formats, beginning with WRJA-FM in Sumter, which started airing the NPR News format. Previously all stations only aired the NPR Classical News format. ETV Radio also provides wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Floyd.

2000 - WRLK-DT becomes the first digital television station in the ETV network and in the state.

2000 - "Your Day" and "Walter Edgar's Journal" premiere on ETV Radio.

2000 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Making it Grow!

2000 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Best of Making it Grow!

2001 - Maurice "Moss" Bresnahan joins ETV as the new president.

2001 - is launched.  By 2005, it had reached 2 million page views, and just a year later, it surpasses 10 million page views. Today, that number has surpassed 16 million.

2001 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Best of Making it Grow!

2001 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Making it Grow! Heritage

2002 - ETV, in collaboration with the SC Partnership for Distance Education, creates,, a web resource that consolidates all of the state's distance learning courses and places them at the fingertips of South Carolina residents looking to complete a GED, take a college course, home school their teenager or re-certify a credential.

2002 - ETV debuts new local series, "Southern Lens," which spotlights independent films that reflect life in the South and/or were produced by Southerners.

2002 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Making it Grow!

2002 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, More Making it Grow!

2003 - The South Carolina Channel, the state's first 24/7 digital broadcasting service, launches at the State Fair.

2004 - The ETV Road Shows originated live broadcasts from dozens of South Carolina communitites for the first time.

2004 - ETV launches StreamlineSC, an educational technology resource that makes over 10,000 educational videos and corresponding lesson plans and quizzes available to every public, private and home school in the Palmetto State. In just over a year, it received its one-millionth page view.

2004 - Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, Outstanding Achievement: Scenic Design, Making It Grow!

2005 - Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, Outstanding Achievement: Scenic Design, More Making It Grow!

2005 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, More Making it Grow!

2006 - New local series "Carolina Stories" launched. Programs focus solely on South Carolina, its history, people and places.

2006 - Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, Outstanding Achievement: Interactivity, Making It Grow!

2007 - New local series "The Big Picture" and "The Big Picture on the Radio" are launched. 

2007 - Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, Outstanding Achievement: Scenic, Making It Grow!

2007 - Telly Award, ETV Sumter, Best of Making it Grow!

 2008 - David Crouch becomes president of ETV.  ETV Endowment Founding Executive Director Elaine Freeman retires. 

2008 - ETV and ETV Radio provide the only SC statewide coverage of GOP and Democratic conventions.

2009 - ETV ends all analog television broadcasting, and goes fully digital in February. Carolina Stories: Carolina Caught is ETV’s first HD documentary, followed by South Carolina A to Z; G Man: The Rise and Fall of Melvin Purvis; The Next Big Hootie; Backstage Pass; Roots in the River; and Incident at Mars Bluff.

2009The Create service is added to The South Carolina Channel. ETV World is launched for live State House coverage and live newscasts from Europe.  ETV begins leasing EBS spectrum to commercial providers.  

2009 - TV productions presented nationally by ETV include The Powder and the Glory; The Final Hours: Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight; The Winemakers; Homestretch: Racehorse Rescue; The People v. Leo Frank; and Planet Earth.  

2009 - Coby Hennecy is named the Executive Director of the ETV Endowment.

2010 - Linda O'Bryon became the President and Chief Executive Officer of ETV.

2010 - ETV Radio partners with WDAV to produce Carolina Live, local symphonic performances in North and South Carolina.  Local TV productions include Celebrate America; NatureScene: A Look Back; The Lady in Black; Take on the South; the 500th episode of Making It Grow!; Forgotten Founder; Miss Springmaid; the premiere episode of South Carolinians in World War II; and Jail, No Bail.

2010 - Regional Emmys are awarded for Making It Grow! Scott’s BBQ; Carolina Caught; Take on the South; and Incident at Mars Bluff.  Tellys were awarded for Finding Clovis and Carolina Caught.

2010 - National TV productions include Not in God’s Name, The Adventists, The World of Julia Peterkin: Cheating the Stillness, and Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story.

2011 - Following a successful ETV Endowment capital campaign, ETV Radio moves into new 1.5 million dollar facility funded by over 1,000 ETV Endowment donors and corporate underwriters.  Production of Piano Jazz: Rising Stars begins for NPR.

2011 - Local productions include Jail, No Bail; Uncommon Folk; South Carolinians in World War II: A New Front; and The Baruchs of Hobcaw.  ETV presents Expeditions with Patrick McMillan; Expeditions wins a regional Emmy.

2011 - National productions include Journey to Planet Earth; Ucook!; The American Road to Victory; a live GOP town hall, The Palmetto Freedom Forum, with Republican presidential candidates (program was also carried nationally on CNN); and Bernardin.

2011 - Live State House coverage expands to streaming committee meetings online

2012 - ETV and South Carolina are center stage for a host of national efforts.  Washington Week and Need to Know originate national broadcasts from ETV.  Antiques Roadshow (from Myrtle Beach) and Story Corps (from Charleston) record programs or segments in South Carolina in cooperation with SCETV.

2012 - Song Travels with Michael Feinstein is launched over NPR stations, and this ETV Radio-produced series begins production for Season II.   Piano Jazz Rising Stars with Jon Weber begins national radio broadcasts and produces additional episodes.

2012 - Rapid Response Studio begins operation with guests ranging from Senator Graham and Congressman Clyburn to the presidential candidates prior to the 2012 primary election.

2012 - Linda O’Bryon is named to the PBS board. 

2012 - ETV Radio marks its 40th anniversary in South Carolina this year. Over the past three years, ETV Radio increases its audience by nearly 25 percent to 378,000 tuning in each week (Arbitron).

2012 - Special Carolina Stories feature SC Hall of Fame video biographies including Space Heroes, the stories of three astronauts (Charles  Duke, Ron McNair and Charles Bolden) and Born to Rebel, profiling civil rights’ pioneer and educator Benjamin Mays. These biographies are offered through ETV Education services reaching classrooms across the state. 

2012 - Other local productions include Dizzy Gillespie: From the Be to the Bop; Marian McPartland:First Lady of Jazz; Man and Moment: Moffatt Burriss; South Carolinians in World War II: A World War; and Man and Moment: Charles Murray. Rowland Alston retires as host of Making It Grow! and receives Order of the Palmetto, the State’s highest award; regular contributor Amanda McNulty becomes the new host. Expeditions host Patrick McMillan wins a regional Emmy as program host. 

2012 - Administration Building sold to USC; proceeds to be used to renovate and build-out unfinished areas of ETV’s Telecommunications Center.  

2014 - ETV won a Peabody award for “A Chef’s Life” on PBS, and premiered a new episode of “South Carolinians in World War II”. “Robert Smalls,” a production for the S.C. Hall of Fame, won a Telly Award. ETV also hosted debates in its studios for major statewide offices. ETV Radio added a live classical music program, and its “Chamber Music From Spoleto Festival USA” went on to international distribution. “Song Travels with Michael Feinstein” won a New York Festival award. The content division also launched a new website devoted to Hobcaw Barony.  

2015 - ETV’s national presentations include Journey to Planet Earth and 180 Days: Hartsville on PBS, For Your Home on Create, and the NPR Jazz Night in America webcast of Remembering Marian McPartland: A Celebration from New York City’s 92nd Street Y. They will also host PBS’ Antiques Roadshow for a third time in August.  


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