PBS Station WYES Celebrates 65 Years of Service

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NEW ORLEANS — Public broadcasting station WYES, which reaches television viewers in southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is celebrating 65 years of service. The station first signed on the air on April 1, 1957.

Throughout 2022, WYES will highlight its 65th anniversary on air and online with a special promotional campaign. WYES invites viewers to share their memories on social media with the hashtag #wyes65. Beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, WYES will present nine hours of its most popular locally produced documentaries, some of which have not been aired in decades.

In 1957, WYES was founded by community leaders who believed in the power of the new medium as an educational tool. The letters Y, E and S in the station’s name stood for “Your Educational Station.” WYES signed on the air as Channel 8 and as the twelfth educational television station in the nation. It became Channel 12 in 1970 and has worked to “educate, enlighten, and entertain” for 65 years by offering national programs, award-winning local and cultural documentaries, and community outreach activities.

In 2017, the station opened its multimillion dollar Paulette and Frank Stewart Innovation Center for Educational Media, where its local and national productions originate. That includes three weekly series: “Steppin’ Out,” “Informed Sources” and “Wall Street Wrap-Up with Andre Laborde.”

For more than 40 years, WYES has been known for its locally produced documentaries. The station’s most recent co-production, “Irma: My Life in Music,” focusing on music legend Irma Thomas, aired on public television stations across the country.

Over the years, more than two dozen WYES cooking series have also aired nationally, including “Kitchen Queens: New Orleans” in June 2020 and “Kevin Belton’s Cookin’ Louisiana,” the fourth national cooking series for Chef Belton, which premiered on WYES and public television stations nationwide in 2021.

In 2021, WYES welcomed new leadership. Robin Cooper, a 32-year veteran of WYES, was appointed president CEO. Dominic Massa, a local broadcasting veteran and longtime freelance producer for WYES, was named executive vice president and COO.

“Our supporters’ efforts are what strengthens WYES and allows it to continue to grow and showcase our region,” said Cooper. “The best is yet to come, and with all of our continued involvement and support, WYES will be here, stronger than ever, for future generations to enjoy in new and creative ways. Thank you for making 65 years possible as we look forward to many exciting and wonderful years ahead.”

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