NEW ORLEANS (press release) – WYES, the premier public broadcasting station for southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is celebrating 65 years of service. The station signed on the air April 1, 1957.
Throughout the coming year, 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.
On Saturday, April 2, beginning at 3:00 p.m. WYES will present nine hours of its award-winning locally-produced documentaries, some of which have not been aired in decades.
When WYES began broadcasting in 1957, television was still new to New Orleans. WYES fulfilled the dream of a group of community leaders who believed in the power of the new medium as an educational tool. In fact, 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. As a local PBS member station, WYES has worked to educate, enlighten, and entertain for 65 years by offering adults and children first-rate 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 are produced. That includes three weekly series: “Steppin’ Out,” “Informed Sources” and “Wall Street Wrap-Up with Andre Laborde.”
For more than 40 years, WYES has earned a national reputation 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.
While technology and times have changed, the mission of WYES remains. Through quality PBS programs and award-winning local productions, the station is a vital source of education, information, inspiration and entertainment – on air and online. With the generosity and dedication of its members and supporters, WYES looks to an exciting future while honoring its vibrant past.
In 2021, WYES welcomed new leadership in station executives with strong ties to WYES and to the greater New Orleans and Mississippi Gulf Coast communities. Robin Cooper, a 32-year veteran of WYES, was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer. Dominic Massa, a local broadcasting veteran and longtime freelance producer for WYES, was named Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer.
“Our supporters’ efforts are what strengthens WYES and allows it to continue to grow and showcase our region,” said Cooper. “As the saying goes, ‘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.”