WLJT (now known as West TN PBS) first signed on the air in March 1968 as a repeater site in Lexington, TN for the PBS station in Memphis. All public television entities in Tennessee were owned and operated by the state through the Department of Education. In 1981 studios were activated, staffing was initiated, and administrative offices were established on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
In 1984 the state divested itself of ownership of all public television stations. Consequently, the West Tennessee Public Television Council was established to take over ownership of WLJT.
On-air operations (Master Control) were handled at the Lexington transmitter site until 1993. A grant was obtained to construct a master control facility in the Communications Building on the UTM campus. A new, remote-controlled microwave link between the UTM campus and the transmitter was also established.
Over the years, the staff and services of WLJT have grown. Local programs are produced from the Martin studios and from all over West Tennessee with mobile production truck facilities. Programs serving West Tennessee communities include local and regional high school and college sports, community events, festivals, parades, music and arts, public affairs, and politics. Educational services to enhance the literacy skills of young children have also been introduced.
WLJT-DT officially signed on the air February 20, 2004. Through local support, federal grants, and sound fiscal management, WLJT-DT now transmits three (3) high power digital programming channels. Channel 11-1 presents 1080i high definition programming, channel 11-2 presents the PBS World programming schedule, and channel 11-3 presents PBS Create programming. Local HD productions from our production truck began in April 2008.
WLJT continues as a fully invested PBS member station. Operating budgets are a mix of federal and state grants and local fundraising.