Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc dba WEDU PBS
1300 N. Boulevard
Tampa FL 33607-5645
WEDU exists to serve the public good and to aid in the creation of an informed citizenry. Through quality programming using new technologies and community outreach, WEDU fulfills the needs of individuals for education, information, and culture enabling people and communities to connect, to grow, and to lead more fulfilling lives. WEDU educates, informs and enriches lives.
Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) telecommunications entity which holds the license of WEDU PBS. WEDU is the primary PBS station in West Central Florida. Its' signal reaches the largest viewing area in Florida and consists of 16 counties.
CEO/Executive Director Susan Howarth
Board Chair Don DeFosset
Board Chair Affiliation Director-Regions Bank
General Info
Organization DBA
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1959
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt 0
State Registration 0
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS LetterView
Impact Statement

Each week, WEDU combines nearly 100 hours of award-winning, standards-driven, quality programming with educational resources and outreach dedicated to enriching the lives of children, families and educators in our community.


Literacy-based shows such as Martha Speaks and SUPER WHY have solid research to back up the positive impact they make on children’s vocabulary, word-attack and reading skills. Popular STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) oriented shows like The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid build a strong foundation for early learning by encouraging young minds to observe, discover and explore the everyday world around them.


Area educators are enthused and engage users of Florida PBS LearningMedia. This innovative online service provides more than 100,000 PreK-13+ classroom-ready, digital resources, aligned to Florida standards of education, and created to complement the fast-paced 21th century approach to education –at no cost to teachers.  WEDU provides free educator workshops focused on maximizing the benefits of PBS programming and instructional resources.    

Through the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative, an awareness campaign focused on the drop-out crisis in our nation, WEDU is helping the community find solutions to the academic and social issues that prevent children from reaching their full potential.   
Needs Statement

WEDU seeks to expand our educational outreach efforts with a multi-media approach utilizing our award winning children’s programming, online resources and our hands on literacy workshops. These efforts will help support crucial work in our community to provide math and literacy education to low-income citizens and to allow the children from these families to have a much needed educational jump-start.

 Your gift of …
$25 – Provides 8 free books for area children.
$500 - Provides a scholarship to a PreK-12 teacher for a high-quality, professional development course through PBS TeacherLine.
$1,000 – Provides a professional development workshop and training on Florida PBS LearningMedia to 25 teachers.
$2,000 – Provides books and a one week Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Camp for 40 elementary students.
$4,000 – Provides a PBS Kids Raising Readers Library Corner to a local library or school.

Donations help offset the cost associated with numerous events hosted by WEDU each year in partnership with local museums, early learning coalitions, schools, libraries and community organizations. WEDU’s FREE family engagement events provided fun activities, PBS character appearances and valuable educational resources to thousands of children and families in our viewing area.

Background Statement
  • WEDU signed on the air October 27, 1958. WEDU’s viewing area is the largest TV market in Florida, encompassing more than 5,000,000 viewers in more than two million households.

  • Over multiple media platforms, WEDU provides the community with content that expands the minds of children, programs that ensure music, theatre, dance and art remain available to all, documentaries that open new worlds and non-commercialized news and public affairs programs. WEDU is a window to the world from America’s most trusted brand, PBS. WEDU’s mission is to serve the public good, unite communities and help create an informed citizenry.

  • WEDU broadcasts award-winning television programming over four channels.   Acclaimed PBS programming and award-winning local programs that provide timely in-depth discussions on current community issues and more than 5,000 hours of educational children's programming annually are included.

  • Community outreach includes hosting PBS Community Cinema, a series of thought-provoking films screened throughout WEDU’s coverage area, and the annual WEDU Be More Awards that raises awareness of local non-profit organizations.

  • WEDU’s original productions include Suncoast Business ForumUp Close with Cathy Unruh; That's All I'm Saying;  Florida this Week exploring public affairs issues with area leaders each week; WEDU Arts Plus, featuring local artists and cultural organizations and WEDU Quest. WEDU also hosts town hall meetings on kids and alcohol, autism, caregiving, and the mortgage crisis and has produced award winning documentaries including Too Close to Home, The Feminine Touch, a documentary that follows the rise of women in medicine, and the Telling Project, a documentary that shares the story of our local veterans returning from war. 

  • WEDU partners with local organizations including Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, New College, State College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design and USF Sarasota-Manatee, as well as local foundations to bring multiple, enriching opportunities to children and adults alike. Cultural experiences are provided through collaborations with area theaters and performing arts centers as well as through quality programming found only on PBS.

  • WEDU, a community owned non-profit organization, has a volunteer board comprised of local business people, community leaders and volunteers from throughout its viewing area, including Sarasota. A Community Advisory Board provides connections to and input from local communities, including the Manatee and Sarasota areas. WEDU seeks to reflect the diversity of its service area in its board, volunteers and staff.
Areas Served
Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Charlotte
FL- DeSoto
FL- Hardee
FL- Hillsborough
Areas Served Comments

WEDU serves 16 counties in West Central Florida including Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Highlands, Orange, and Citrus and three more with its broadcast service. In addition, WEDU’s online and mobile services make WEDU’s programs available worldwide. Many WEDU productions air throughout the State of Florida and some are broadcast nationwide.  

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

As the CEO of WEDU, I am proud to lead an organization that provides high-quality programming fostering lifelong learning, offers a trusted window to the world and serves as America’s largest classroom.

WEDU’s ongoing partnerships with community foundations and nonprofits enable us to provide a forum to showcase the good work happening in the community. Included in these efforts are our "Be More Awards" recognizing the outstanding and often unrecognized efforts of West Central Florida's non-profit organizations; now entering its' 13th year! These partnerships extend our educational initiatives throughout the communities we serve by providing teacher workshops, outreach events and ongoing literacy awareness campaigns.  In 2014, WEDU’s FREE family engagement events provided fun activities, PBS character appearances and valuable educational resources to more than 15,000 children and families in our viewing area.
Every day, WEDU PBS and more than 350 member stations fulfill our essential mission to the America public by providing trusted non-commercial programming that cannot be found anywhere else. We produce and broadcast local series, specials and documentaries that explore and promote arts, culture, education and important issues within our community.
Donations made to WEDU will directly support WEDU’s quality programming and community outreach.  Recent events included an Autism Town Hall and the national Telling Project initiative to connect veterans and the public through the power of theater. For almost 60 years, WEDU PBS has broadcast the highest quality programs such as NOVA, Great Performances, Sesame Street, PBS Newshour, Masterpiece, and WEDU’s newest local programs, WEDU Arts Plus, WEDU Quest and That's All I'm Saying… programs that enrich lives and promote lifelong learning. Your support will enable us to continue to provide these programs and many more, and will support our educational services for students and teachers throughout our community. With the recent partnership with Ringling College of Art & Design, we now have a studio at 
Ringling Studios, to tape these local programs. Our first taping of Suncoast Business Forum, featuring Dr. Larry Thompson of the college, occurred in April and will be shown in June this year.
Thank you for supporting your local PBS station – WEDU.  

WEDU is West Central Florida's primary PBS station, reaching 16 counties through multiple media platforms; including on-air broadcasting that broadens horizons, transports and transforms, and opens gateways to new ideas and new worlds.

Through non-commercial PBS programming, people from every walk of life are invited to experience science, history, nature, arts, and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; be prepared for success in school and life; and remain connected to local communities and each other.

America’s Largest Stage
At a time when funding for music and arts within our schools is being cut, WEDU PBS is helping to keep the arts alive today and for generations to come by ensuring the worlds of music, theater, dance and art remain available to all West Central Florida residents, many of whom might never have had the opportunity to experience them otherwise. WEDU is also giving West Central Florida’s local artists and cultural institutions a national reach through WEDU Arts Plus, an original WEDU weekly arts and cultural program.

America’s Largest Classroom
As part of America’s largest classroom, WEDU PBS is available to all of West Central Florida’s children – including those who can’t attend preschool – and offers educational media that help prepare children for success in school. WEDU PBS provides Florida PBS Learning Media free of charge to educators, parents and students filled with thousands of educational elements aligned with National and State Standards. PBS is the No. 1 source of media content for preschool teachers and the leading place educators turn for preschool video online, with content proven to improve critical literacy skills in young children.

A Trusted Window to the World
WEDU PBS offers programming for a wide range of ages, interests and genres. Each month, people explore on-air and online the worlds of science, history, culture, great literature and public affairs through WEDU PBS’ trusted content.

Budget $5,500,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) General/Unspecified
Short Term Success
  1. Continued support from viewers who express how important WEDU is to their lives; 
  2. Continued reliance upon the station for an important part of individuals' daily lives; 
  3. Positive results from teacher education programs and programs in school.
Long Term Success

As stated in WEDU's mission, the purpose of our programming is to create informed citizens who:  1) understand issues important to our region, Florida, the nation and the world; 2) who continue to experience the wealth and variety of arts and culture at no charge; 3) who are informed about the wonders of science and nature; 4) who are prepared for success in school and life through educational programs and services; 5) who are connected to their local communities and each other through outreach events and programs opening windows to the world; 6) who are informed about financial and political issues to make better choices in their personal lives; and 7) who are provided enjoyable viewing of their choice at no charge to enrich their lives.

Program Success Monitoring

WEDU viewer feedback through letters, emails and phone calls; number of people participating in outreach events related to some of the television programs. Number of community partners that want to work with WEDU. Number of WEDU videos viewed online; website usage; VHS and DVD sales of WEDU special programs. Increased use of PBS and WEDU educational materials by teachers; number using Florida PBSLearning Media.

Program Success Examples

Comments from donors about how important WEDU’s programming is to them. Ruth, 96, thanked WEDU for its lovely programming that lets her feel less like a shut-in because she“gets to travel around the world with WEDU, watch all the wonderful nature shows, listen to the lovely music and watch all the performances [she] loves.”


Requests for repeat broadcast of specials and local productions. Requests for additional or similar types of programs in the future. Attendance at special "sneak preview" and "premiere" screenings of PBS or local productions – for instance, more than 2,000 people attended free screenings of the first episode of Downton Abbey Season Three, one of the largest such events in the nation. Multiple regional Emmy awards for local productions.


Restoration of State of Florida funding for Florida PBS stations based on the evidence that PBS educational materials are valued by teachers and effective in producing improved learning outcomes in Florida schools.
Program Comments by Organization

For almost 60 years, WEDU PBS has broadcast the highest quality arts and cultural programming. Programs like Great Performances, Live from Lincoln Center and Masterpiece have brought the best in music, dance, opera and drama to the 5 million people WEDU serves.

WEDU has also produced local specials that have shared many local cultural riches with audiences in our viewing area. And, in 2013 WEDU launched a new weekly arts and cultural TV magazine program, WEDU Arts Plus.

WEDU has begun to expand WEDU Arts Plus by including additional segments featuring more local artists and organizations. We are expanding the website to include information about upcoming events in our region and hope to include reviews and blogs from local writers in the near future.

We recently received funding to make some necessary upgrades to our production and editing equipment, which will enable our staff to create additional local programs in the most efficient manner.

WEDU Arts Plus, with companion website and related outreach, is devoted to telling stories of the individuals and cultural organizations that make West Central Florida – Florida’s Cultural Coast – such a vibrant region.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Susan Howarth
CEO Term Start May 2010
CEO/Executive Director Email showarth@wedu.org

Susan Howarth was named President and Chief Executive Officer of WEDU PBS in 2010. She has worked in public broadcasting for more than 30 years, and has been an integral part of the ongoing transition of public broadcasting to public media delivered across a variety of platforms. Before coming to WEDU, Howarth served as President and CEO of CET – the first licensed educational television station in the nation serving the Cincinnati, Ohio area. During her tenure with CET, Howarth led the charge to launch the nation’s first public media website to prominently feature on-demand video. In addition to driving the growth of planned giving and major donor initiatives, Howarth led the creation of “Common Ground,” the area’s multi-year effort to address race relations.

Prior to her work at CET, Howarth was the Executive Director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and the AETN Foundation, where she launched several new services and established an endowment for the network. Howarth’s public media experience also includes programming responsibilities at WNED/WNEQ in Buffalo, New York; WUFT-TV in Gainesville, Florida; KOZK-TV in Springfield, Missouri and Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). She began her career as a student intern at CPTV while attending the University of Connecticut. Ms. Howarth has served in many leadership positions in public broadcasting including nine years on the national PBS Board of Directors.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Richard Lobo June 2002 - June 2010
Steve Rogers Mar 1991 - Sept 2001
Senior Staff
Leah Brainard Vice President of Administration & Human Resources
Jack Conely Vice President of Content
Debra Freidberg Chief Financial Officer
Allison Alvarez Hedrick Vice President of Communications
Larry Jopek Vice President of Marketing and Community Partnerships
Michael Miner Director of Marketing & Community Partnerships
Claire O'Connor Solomon Sr. Vice President of Development
Frank Wolynski Vice President of Broadcasting
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 43
Part Time Staff 8
Staff Retention Rate % 94
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 8
Volunteers 100
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
WEDU partners with many organizations in Sarasota, Manatee and throughout the entire Tampa Bay area and beyond, working with educators, businesses, and other local nonprofit and civic agencies including but not limited to:
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • County School Systems
  • Local foundations including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Marie Selby Foundation, Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust, Manatee Community Foundation.
  • Mote Marine Laboratory
  • New College of Florida
  • University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
  • Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization1958
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
5 Suncoast Emmy Awards for original WEDU productionsThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2012
7 Suncoast Emmy Awards for original WEDU productionsThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2011
1 Suncoast Emmy Award for original WEDU productionThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2010
3 Suncoast Emmy Awards for original WEDU productionsThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2009
6 Suncoast Emmy Awards for original WEDU productionsThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2008
Arts Impact AwardTampa Bay Businesses for Culture & The Arts2013
1 Suncoast Emmy Award for original WEDU productionThe National Academy of Arts & Sciences, Suncoast Chapter2013
9 Suncoast Regional Emmy NominationsNational Academy of Television Arts and Sciences2014
Suncoast Regional Emmy Award for WEDU original production, Memories of the March: Gwendolyn PowellNational Academy of Television Arts and Sciences2014
Regional Suncoast Emmy Award for WEDU original production, Heart Gallery of Tampa BayNational Academy of Television Arts and Sciences2014
Griot Drum Award for original ArtsPlus episode on American Painter Robert Butler, member of The HighwaymenTampa Bay Association of Black Journalists (RBABJ)2014
"Best Feature Documentary Award" for Project: Shattered Silence, an original WEDU documentaryLouisville (KY) International Festival of Film2014
"Honorable Mention Award" for Project: Shattered Silence, an original WEDU documentarySanta Monica (CA) Film Festival2014
3 nominations for Project: Shattered Silence, an original WEDU documentary"Maverick Movie Awards"2014
Griot Drum Award for original ArtsPlus episode on Eatonville QuiltersTampa Bay Association of Black Journalists (RBABJ)2015
2 Suncoast Regional Emmy NominationsNational Academy of Television Arts and Sciences2015
Silver Telly Award, ArtsPlus segment: The Telling ProjectTelly Awards2016
Bronze Telly Award, Veterans - Telling ProjectTelly Awards2016
Risk Management Provisions
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Broadcaster Liability
Business Income
Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Commercial General Liability and Medical Malpractice
Computer Equipment and Software
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Extra Expense Insurance
Fiduciary Liability
Fine Arts and Collectibles
General Property Coverage
General Property Coverage and Professional Liability
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Inland Marine and Mobile Equipment
Life Insurance
Liquor Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Professional Liability
Property in Transit and Off Premises
Risk Management Provisions
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Water Craft and Aircraft
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government Yes
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Nov 2013
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures Yes
Other Documents
Other Document 2
Whistleblower Policy
Board Chair
Board Chair Don DeFosset
Company Affiliation Director-Regions Bank
Board Term Jan 2017 to Jan 2019
Board Chair Email ddefosset@gmail.com
Board Members
Board Members
Barry M. Alpert Raymond James & Associates, Inc.
Monroe E. Berkman Retired
Jerry Bilik Retired
Alan C. Bomstein Creative Contractors, Inc.
Andrew Bragg Retired
Robert Calafell Retired
Christopher Chapman McCann Investments
Jim Davis Holland & Knight, LLP
Don DeFosset Regions Bank
Richard J Dobkin Retired
John Franzone Tampa Bay Lightning
Marilyn Harwell Community Volunteer
Anita Holec Community Volunteer
Karl Horst Retired
Susan Howarth WEDU
Nancy Hale Hoyt Community Volunteer
Brian Keenan First Florida Integrity Bank
Phil Leigh Inside Digital Media, Inc.
Colleen Lundwall Community Volunteer
Gene Marshall Northstar Bank
Sheila McDevitt Sheila McDevitt, P.L.
Frances Neu Vice-President Institutional Advancement St. Petersburg
Suzanne Oaks Brownstein Temin and Company
Elizabeth Sembler Community Volunteer
Heidi Shimberg Hyde Park Builders
Garrett Shinn Shinn & Company, LLC
Geoffrey Simon Raymond James
Jeffery Sparling Ernst & Young
Stephanie M Stanfield Sun Trust
William E. Starkey Retired
Cathy Unruh Television Journalist
David B. Weinstein Greenberg Traurig, P.A.
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 31
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 19
Female 13
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Meeting Attendance % 63
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 18
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month Oct
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year End Month Sept
Fiscal Year End Day 30
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $8,600,000.00
Projected Expenses $8,500,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy % 5
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$1,343,436$1,404,698$1,204,288
Individual Contributions$5,083,205$8,348,416$4,073,223
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,359,030$345,313$536,860
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$47,035($410)($3,334)
Revenue In-Kind$1,224,406$1,190,571$1,048,030
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$7,549,506$6,963,913$6,298,635
Administration Expense$792,621$654,163$626,288
Fundraising Expense$1,229,478$799,661$683,875
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.161.481.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses79%83%83%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue19%8%13%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$21,944,750$20,114,520$16,674,734
Current Assets$1,212,815$2,080,582$968,696
Long-Term Liabilities$496,039$536,946$559,200
Current Liabilities$937,240$613,885$775,903
Total Net Assets$20,511,471$18,963,689$15,339,631
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $5,083,205Contributions, gifts, grants $8,348,416Contributions, gifts, grants $4,073,223
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $1,359,030Government Grants - Unspecified $1,404,698Govertnment Grants - Unspecified $1,204,288
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Unspecified $1,343,436Local Program Underwriting $995,259Local Program Underwriting $926,523
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $175,001 - $200,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.293.391.25
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets2%3%3%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial information taken from IRS Form 990 and audit documents.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.  Federal tax returns and audited financial statements reconcile.  Financial information for 2016 was taken solely from the audited financial statements as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review.  The value of in-kind contributions is included in revenue in the audited financial statements.
Nonprofit Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc dba WEDU PBS
Address 1300 N. Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33607 5645
Phone 941 375-9435