WDSE-WRPT rebrands as 'PBS North'
Duluth's public media brand is no longer just a TV station; it's "a multi-platform entertainment and educational programming provider."
DULUTH — The corporation running Duluth's public television channel WDSE and its Hibbing satellite WRPT has taken a new name. Instead of "WDSE-WRPT," the organization will be called "PBS North."
In a news release, the nonprofit emphasized its forward-looking orientation as "a multi-platform entertainment and educational programming provider." Those platforms include streaming online video and a radio station, The North 103.3. That station, formerly known as KUMD, was purchased from the University of Minnesota Duluth by WDSE-WRPT in 2021.
"We are proud of the ways we’ve innovated to meet our viewers where they are, providing them exceptional, educational and entertaining programming on their televisions, tablets, phones and computers," PBS North President Patty Mester said in a statement. "Since we are no longer tied exclusively to the television set, we felt it was time to update our brand to better reflect these innovations."
As Mester went on to acknowledge, Duluth's main public TV channel has been called PBS North for the past eight years, so it won't be a stretch for locals to start using the new name for the company overall. The new name comes with a new logo, incorporating the iconic PBS logo centered on designer Ernie Smith's "P-Head" image.
The company now called PBS North was incorporated in 1957 as the Duluth-Superior Educational Television Corp. That company began broadcasting on WDSE, Duluth's VHF Channel 8 in 1964. WRPT was added in 2008, extending the station's reach across the Iron Range.
The St. Paul-Minneapolis public television corporation, formerly known as TPT, made a similar rebranding move in 2015 when it became Twin Cities PBS. The Minnesota affiliates' new brands are part of an overall push by PBS to strengthen its identity in an increasingly crowded media landscape.
"We want to be there for every American, regardless of background, age, or geography," PBS executive Don Wilcox told Fast Company in 2019, "whether you’re getting us with rabbit ears in the Blue Ridge Mountains or an optic connection in Austin."
Or, as the case may be, with a dipole in Duluth.