learn. dream. grow. SDPB

Learn Dream Grow with SDPB.

The scope of SDPB may surprise you. Perhaps you love Masterpiece on Sunday nights or tune in to South Dakota High School Football Championships. Maybe you landed on our radio station and got hooked by “Wait, Wait....Don't Tell Me", NPR's news quiz program, during a long trek across the state.


But SDPB is more than PBS…more than NPR…more than "Wait Wait" and football championships.

SDPB is South Dakota.

“In a sense, we’re one big community as a result of our connection through South Dakota Public Broadcasting.” (Tom Daschle)




“Growing up, my kids actually thought the TV set was called “a PBS” because that’s all they watched. [SDPB] always had something to meet their interests and to spark them. They took the lessons learned and applied them in their life.” (Brenda Ehrmantraut, Aberdeen)

That’s because SDPB was built on education.

In the early 1930s, SDPB aired “South Dakota School of the Air” to give one-room school teachers – the original multiple-subject specialists  – a much-needed assist in the classroom. Teachers tuned their radios to our signal and students received grammar, art and singing lessons from  shows like “Allis, the Speech Lady,” “Candy Cane Lane” and “Music of the Air.”

LDG Allis.png

This is how SDPB supplemented the basics for generations of South Dakota kids, whether they lived in Sioux Falls or St. Francis.

When the modernities of television and world wars impacted South Dakota, SDPB expanded its educational mission.

SDPB TV was born when lessons on subjects like government, humanities and world affairs, taught by professors from USD, SDSU and other state schools, were broadcast to veterans and those who held the home front, giving South Dakotans opportunities to understand and practice their changing roles as citizens in an increasingly industrialized and connected world. 

SDPB’s commitment to education endures today. Numerous hours in our broadcast day are dedicated to educators. SDPB provides standards-based programs and resources – from Sign Language to Accounting – that instructors rely on in classrooms state-wide.

SDPB studios are a training base for aspiring media professionals. Each year SDPB hires interns in Television, Radio, Marketing and Engineering. These diligent students are given real-world assignments and projects to nurture marketable skills.




“When I was in 5th grade my science teacher watched a show on SDPB about a program that was tagging and tracking Monarch butterflies. He signed up to participate, and within days we were catching, tagging and releasing butterflies. Out of that I gained an appreciation for nature and the cycle of life…but I also learned some biology, sociology, geography, and I even got some exercise! I don’t see a monarch butterfly today and not think of that experience – spurred by a show on public TV” (Viewer, Dakota Dunes)

SDPB enhances everyday life.

For those of us who may be master chefs or world-travelers mainly in our hearts and minds, SDPB inspires the creation of mouth-watering seafood paella and strolls along Brazil’s Ipanema Beach where most of us actually spend our time – at home. With SDPB, every gardener can grow into a horticulturalist, every stargazer is a potential astronomer, and all news junkies have the information they need to become truly informed citizens.

And for the opera-aficionado, the theatre-goer, and the dance-enthusiast – no other media organization broadcasts hundreds of hours of commercial-free world-class opera, drama, and dance.

SDPB brings you the world and SDPB showcases South Dakota.


South Dakota is SDPB’s backyard – one we never stop exploring.  That’s why we encourage kids to discover science and physics at the world’s-only Neutrino Day, learn archery and kayaking at the GF&P’s Outdoor University, and promote writers and their craft at the South Dakota Festival of Books – because we strive to feature science, nature, and writing that are uniquely forged by the forces of nature and art native to South Dakota.

Meanwhile, uncommon music programs like Jazz Nightly and No Cover, No Minimum spotlight local and international artists.

“Music makes me happy. It lifts my spirits. I appreciate having a station that offers Classical Music.” (Sue Tuve, Vermillion)



SDPB opens wide the doors of state government to every citizen.

 “What I really get is perspective. SDPB allows people to come to their own decisions. Without that depth of information that SDPB provides there would be a tremendous hole.” (John Fiksdal)

Throughout the year, South Dakotans – from elected and appointed officials to social workers, DOT workers and law enforcement officers – work to strengthen the state’s social and physical infrastructure.  SDPB is proud to share the results of those labors by providing vital public information and promoting civil discussions about issues that affect each of us personally.

When state legislators convene, SDPB is there. Plus, we stream and archive every open meeting, helping to ensure a government that is open, transparent and accountable.

Throughout the legislative session, SDPB staff members live and work in Pierre to report legislative news as it happens. And SDPB broadcasts and livestreams general House and Senate sessions not only for South Dakotans, but also for smaller media outlets like hometown newspapers whose reporters don’t have the time or resources to attend every session.


A viewer who recently watched Ken Burns’ masterpiece “The Civil War” wrote: “Seeing this, seeing my own ancestors, seeing their sacrifice, often in vain, but now to understand that we survived as a Union. It is so powerful and gives me renewed vigor to focus on facts and reasonable precaution to preserve what was fought so hard to uphold.” (Dave Egbert, Carpenter, SD)

And while we do take our work seriously, SDPB knows everyone needs a laugh now and again.

That’s why we air programs like This American Life and RadioLab. Programs that grant us perspective on the human experience and remind us, through compelling storytelling, that the examined life can make for a fascinating journey.

“SDPB Radio allows me to relax…calm down…center myself. It helps me get ready for the day. On my worst days it transports me to a different place so I can take a short mental vacation and reenergize. On my best days it confirms that what I’m doing matters.” (Listener, Newell)

I support SDPB because it is comprehensive in its coverage. It brings me the news from Pierre during legislative sessions so I know what’s going on during the session, and how the bills that are introduced might affect me so that I can be an aware voter. At the same time SDPB is also bringing me the news from Washington, D.C. and the World.” (Dr. Tim Schorn, Vermillion)

“It is a constant soundtrack in our lives. [SDPB] is like a little family that’s a part of our family.” (Anna Huntington, Rapid City)