WUTV’s rich history in Carrollton even predates the dawn of color television. Formally known as Cable 13, WUTV’s inception is credited to Mr. Jerry Mock, Mr. David Chapman and Mr. Jim Herts along with many others for setting the foundation for what is now an instructional/experiential learning laboratory for Mass Communications and Film & Video Production majors.
In 1969, Jerry Mock came to West Georgia to complete his undergraduate degree. During Mr. Mock’s senior year, he was offered a part time job in the College of Education, as a television coordinator for the Learning Resource Center formally known as the Instructional Media Center, by Dr. Richard Cofine, a professor in the Department of Education.
As the popularity of television grew, the College of Education wanted to build a television studio too, because it tied into their program, which was to train school media specialist.
Since the Department of Education used more classroom media than any other department on campus during the early 70’s, completion of the television studio resulted in becoming the Department of Education as being central location to house and distribute all media equipment for the university. The building finally opened in 1971 and funding was an issue for the new television studio housed in the Department of Education. The only equipment that existed in the studio was lighting equipment and the physical walls. Mr. Mock had a student named David Chapman who was a brilliant engineer. With the help of Mr. Chapman, they managed to purchase blue curtains for the studio and build a wooden console for the control room to support the equipment as well as build wooden backdrops and wooden set on wheels used for various shows. Over time, the wooden consoles were replaced with metal racks.
Mr. Jerry Mock managed Cable 13 for 25 years. Finally, Mr. Mock asked the local cable company 20CATV, located in Carrollton, to provide the Education building with a cable drop which the company was more than happy to provide. The cable drop ran from the university to downtown Maple Street.
As Cable 13 continued to add modern equipment, Mr. Mock asked for a channel to run programming. During this time, television stations were analog, meaning that all television sets were only limited to channel 13. After several discussions, Mr. Mock managed to negotiate with the cable company to assign University of West Georgia channel 13. Mr. Mock’s rationale for this particular move was to accommodate the students on campus and those coming to the university. Mr. Mock wanted to accommodate those students who were familiar with the turn knobs on their television sets as well as students whom were accustomed to remote control sets that could display more than 13 channels. Mr. Mock’s sole purpose was to choose a channel number that could be viewed on both television sets for the students. In the beginning, programming was very limited. Cable 13 would air college football play-by-play, then moved to cover community events and aired in-house produced content.
Cable 13 now owned and operated by Charter Cable was turned over to the Mass Communications Department. Jim Herts initially developed the curriculum for Cable TV 13 for over twelve years for the Mass Communications Department. Other Mass Communication professors used the station to teach television production courses for the Mass Communications Department.
Restructuring emerged upon Dr. Sethna’s arrival as president of West Georgia State College. The restructuring resulted in West Georgia State College becoming the University of West Georgia and Cable 13 becoming UTV13 carried by Charter Cable.
In February of 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that all television stations had to transition to a digital signal. Stations across the country had to comply with this FCC mandate or otherwise pay a hefty fine and this included all public access stations. This digital transition was a revolution for all stations in all markets. Some stations in the larger markets could afford making the transition and some stations in smaller markets could not make the transition.
In 2006, Connie Williams, former General Manager and James Paul, former Production Coordinator of UTV13, started converting some equipment in the UTV13 control room from analog to digital, staying in compliance with the FCC 2009 mandate. Additionally, General Manager Sonya Barnes, along with student staff members, developed and created a convergent newsroom to complete the transition from analog to digital. Charter transitioned to all digital networks in Carrollton GA April 19, 2014. Concurrent with this change, they adjusted the channel lineup and grouped similar channels together into “neighborhoods. As a result, UTV13 was shifted in the channel lineup change to channel 180 off campus and channel 13.1 on campus. Due to the change, it was decided to change the name to WUTV, eliminating the numbers and using call letters to identify the station.
In the recent years, WUTV has remained the University of West Georgia’s television station which serves as an instructional/experiential learning laboratory for Mass Communications and Film & Video Production majors. Airing 24 hour programming, WUTV eventually adopted the slogan “Where Education and Community Meet” from former UWG President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna.” While WUTV’s primary mission is to serve as an instructional/experiential learning laboratory component to the School of Communication, Film, and Media, both majors and volunteers participate in programming and are trained on state of the art equipment. The station provides a balanced variety of cultural, recreational, leisure, educational, and informational programming that enhances the quality of campus life for the campus community as well as the Carroll County community. As University of West Georgia’s own fully operational educational television station, students write, produce, direct, shoot, and edit programs that enhance their understanding and appreciation of all aspects of television production.