WQPT Public Television Endowment

 WQPT Public Television Endowment

A History of WQPT

Quad Cities Public Television WQPT strives to promote, through broadcasting and other means, the general education of the public by offering programs and related services that inform, stimulate, entertain, and thereby enrich and improve lives. Prior to the creation of WQPT in 1983, Black Hawk College was involved in television programming in the Quad Cities. In conjunction with its television production curriculum, Black Hawk formed a partnership to operate a cable channel with Cox Cable. This channel featured instructional television course, locally produced programs, and other programming obtained via alliances with Orange Coast community college, City Colleges of Chicago, and Dallas Community College. The broadcasting curriculum trained staff for all local television stations.

At the time, the Quad Cities was the largest community in the nation without a public television station of its own. WQPT was formed and signed on as Channel 24 in 1983 with the help of many Quad City leaders. As the station grew, it became obvious that underserved areas still existed within the Quad Cities and in neighboring counties. To serve those areas, WQPT established Channel 61 (now Channel 48) in the Sterling-Rock Falls area. 

In 1997, WQPT entered a new era with the installation of a more powerful transmitter that greatly increased our signal strength and coverage area. Now covering an area from Clinton, Iowa down to Galesburg, Illinois, WQPT has become a regional resource for quality television programming for a potential audience of nearly 600,000 people.

Since July of 2003, WQPT has been operating a digital transmitter on channel 23. This was part of the conversion to digital broadcasting as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. WQPT is using channel 23 to broadcast two streams of programming: our primary channel of PBS programming and a second channel featuring international programs from MHz Worldview.

WQPT became a part of the Western Illinois University (WIU) family on May 1, 2010. WQPT will exist as a self-sustaining department within the University structure and is responsible for generating its own revenue.


Today, WQPT is a full service public television station, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a staff of 12. It offers innovative, state-of-the-art educational services to child care centers, public school districts, colleges and other community institutions. Its local programming has been honored with educational awards and an EMMY nomination. PBS honored WQPT in 1994 and 1995 with its PBS Development Award for dramatic improvements in local fundraising. The station also won national awards and recognition in 1994 and 1995 for its monthly WQPT program Guide, and its annual Imagination Station children’s programming fundraiser. In 1996, WQPT received the top award presented at the annual PBS meeting: The Beryl Spector award for creativity and resourcefulness. In 2000 WQPT received a PBS Overall Membership Award for stations reaching between 250,000 and 3,000 households. In 2006 and 2007, WQPT was recognized nationally with two CINE Golden Eagle Awards for Chad Pegraecke: The River Rescuer and Ready to Learn PSA’s. In 2012, WQPT’s Brew Ha Ha was awarded the Network: Young Professionals of the Quad Cites Hot Spot Award. In 2013, WQPT earned several distinctions including:

  • 2013 American Graduate Champion
  • 2013 National Friends of Public Broadcasting Grassroots Award - PBS Ambassadors
  • 2013 Telly Award for Achieve Quad Cities PSA’s
  • 2013-2014 Locals Love Us Award for Brew Ha Ha

WQPT Public Television is a Nonprofit Endowment Partner at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.  

WQPT Public Television Endowment

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The Rotary Club of Davenport has utilized the Community Foundation to administer their annual scholarship since 2001.
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