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Detroit PBS Passport
Our Service to Canada
Pledge Drives
Producing for Detroit PBS
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Anytime you come across a video with the blue icon, that is Passport content. Check out this page to see what’s currently available:

As more and more people are watching television content on demand on computers and digital devices, Detroit PBS Passport gives Detroit PBS donors a way to enjoy extended access to PBS and Detroit PBS content on platforms including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Detroit PBS Passport is a new member benefit that provides Detroit PBS donors extended on-demand access to a rich library of quality public television programming online and via their mobile devices. This is one of the many benefits that Detroit PBS provides its donors along with the program guide, discounts with our partners, and items like tickets, umbrellas, or tote bags, based on the level of your gift.

Each week nearly 2 million people in the Detroit area watch Detroit PBS. In addition, there are close to 2.4 million households throughout Canada that receive our signal through satellite and cable. Because of this enormous reach, more people watch Detroit PBS than any other public media station in Southeast Michigan.

Individual viewers, by responding to the pledge drives, online incentives, telemarketing, and direct mail, provide Detroit PBS with over half of the station’s operating budget. Other funding sources include corporate contributions and grants from the government and private foundations. Detroit PBS also produces programs and related videos and audio that are used by stations nationwide for fundraising in their markets. These activities also contribute to the funding of the station’s activities.

Detroit PBS – WTVS, first broadcast in 1955, is a non-commercial, viewer-supported public television station licensed to the Detroit Educational Television Foundation. As a community licensee, Detroit PBS is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees made up of approximately 45 Detroit area citizens. The staff of Detroit PBS is led by the President and CEO, Rich Homberg, view the full leadership team here.

As a partner with the communities it serves, Detroit PBS receives input from its Community Advisor Panel (CAP), comprised of volunteer representatives from metropolitan Detroit and Windsor. These panel members advise Detroit PBS on the programming needs and interests of the public, provide targeted outreach to alert interested groups to the programming and resources of Detroit PBS and maintain a proactive role with both Detroit PBS and the community at large. The public is invited to attend these meetings and voice their interests as well. For more information on attending these meetings, call (248)-305-3788.

Detroit PBS broadcasts 24 hours each day and is a PBS member station. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is an independent agency that partially funds some PBS programming with federal appropriations and works to ensure the success of public broadcasting in America. This support costs taxpayers less than a cup of coffee each year.

Updated guidelines, logos, and usage requirements can be found here.

Yes! We are kicking off a capital funding campaign for a move to Miluakee Junction, and we expect to be using the space by the Fall of 2026. More information on our move back to Detroit can be found here.

It serves as a positive affirmation and emotional connection to our community, especially the children who have long been inspired by PBS shows. We hope it communicates the power of our programming, platforms and community outreach, while leaving all of us an opportunity to continue to grow and learn from one another.

As a part of our brand update, we wanted to create a better online experience for our viewers that feels familiar yet modern and makes it simple to find your next favorite program or learn more about your passions. If you are struggling to find a certain page, below are links to some of the most popular pages on our site:

We will be updating all of our current pages to reflect our updated name and image, so you do not need to subscribe anywhere else to stay up to date! Of course, if you would like to connect with us, please consider following us on your preferred platform(s):

Your support of local public media is so valuable – thank you!
All members paying via credit card or checking account will not need to make any changes, the transfer will happen seamlessly. If you have a habit of sending checks to Detroit PBS, we will still be able to accept them for a limited time. Details on how to support Detroit PBS can be found here.

No! All of your favorite PBS shows will continue to broadcast at their usual times on WTVS channel 56 and our 5 sub-channels, via the live-stream on our website, and you can still catch up on old favorites and get sneak peeks with Passport or one of our partner apps.

Learn about all the ways to watch Detroit PBS here.

After 2 years of local audience research, on top of many years of national PBS surveys, we felt that it better defined us and the decades-long commitment to engaging the community and to the standards of quality, trust, and fairness that have been the hallmark of PBS. If you would like more information, please read our brand refresh page here.

Initially, several hundred hours of content will be available via Detroit PBS Passport. This library of content will continue to grow over time as more titles are added.

Detroit PBS content is shared widely with the public on-air, online, and on mobile devices after a program airs – that has not changed. Detroit PBS Passport goes one step further by offering extended access to additional content for station donors.

Certain content, including kids, news, and public affairs programs such as THOMAS & FRIENDS as well as FRONTLINE, MIWEEK, PBS NEWSHOUR, INDEPENDENT LENS, and POV, will be accessible to everyone.

Detroit PBS Passport supports the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

PBS and Detroit PBS content will continue to be available for free on the Detroit website, and other digital platforms. Detroit PBS Passport provides extended access to a rich library of content for Detroit PBS members to enjoy.

Certain content, including kids, news, and public affairs programs such as THOMAS & FRIENDS as well as FRONTLINE, PBS NEWSHOUR, INDEPENDENT LENS, and POV, will be accessible to everyone.

Detroit PBS Passport is the newest member benefit available from Detroit PBS for donors with a yearly contribution of at least $60 or an ongoing monthly contribution of $5 or more. It cannot be purchased separately. Streaming video from Detroit PBS – including video that is available to Detroit PBS donors – is only available within the United States.

Members who wish to take advantage of Detroit PBS Passport must activate their account for access. They will be asked to register to confirm their identity and membership status to start enjoying Detroit PBS Passport.

Detroit PBS Passport can be accessed on, the Detroit PBS App for iPhone and iPad, as well as on the PBS channel on Apple TV.

Please complete and submit our Car Donation Form or call us at 855-270-3788.

Car donation tax laws in effect as of Jan. 1st, 2005

Your vehicle donation is still tax deductible and will fall into one of these categories:

For low-value vehicle donations, you can claim the fair market value up to $500.00 without any additional paperwork besides the receipt we will provide at the time of the pickup.

If you donate a car that is worth more than $500.00, your deduction will be limited to the actual sale price of your car donation. If your vehicle is sold, all proceeds will benefit Detroit PBS, a 501(c)3 charity. You will be provided with a receipt stating the final sales price of your vehicle within 30 days of the sale of your donated car. We will work to get top dollar for your car donation.

We will arrange to have your vehicle towed away at a scheduled time.

Often it takes four weeks from the moment your vehicle is picked up to the time Detroit PBS receives notification of your donation. Then, it can take another two to four weeks to complete your membership and send it to you. You should receive your new member welcome kit approximately six to eight weeks from the date you donate your vehicle to Detroit PBS. If you are currently a member, you should have received your thank-you gift at the time of your pickup.

No. Occasionally, vehicles that are donated to Detroit PBS do not sell at auction. In those cases, vehicles are sold for scrap and you will receive a receipt for what the current market rate is for scrap metal.

No, the car must have an engine and be towable. Cars that are in poor condition may be declined, as the cost to tow them may be more than the value of the vehicle.

Many factors can contribute to the final selling price of any vehicle, including the make, model, and year of your car, along with any mechanical or physical damage to the vehicle that could affect its value. We recommend Kelly Blue Book at or Nada as resources that may help you to estimate the value of your vehicle. Detroit PBS’s vehicle donation representatives cannot guarantee the final selling price, which is your charitable contribution to Detroit PBS.

Yes, you will be mailed a receipt that shows the amount your donated vehicle brought in at auction. You should expect to have your receipt of sale about four – eight weeks after you donate your vehicle.

Yes, under the new tax law effective in 2005, people who donate vehicles to charities can claim the actual amount for which the vehicle sells at auction. Previously, donors could claim the fair market value of the donated vehicle, regardless of how much money the vehicle sold for.

The vehicles are sold at private auction. The proceeds are used to help support Detroit PBS. Funds from vehicle donations help Detroit PBS acquire and produce quality educational and entertainment programs and support our outreach efforts in the community.

As long as you are the legal titleholder, our driver can pick up the vehicle and have you sign a duplicate title, which he will provide.

You will need to sign a release of liability and donation confirmation. Our driver will provide you with all the necessary paperwork. Once you sign the release of liability, you have five days to mail it to the Secretary of State. Our driver will provide you with the address.

Vehicles donated will benefit Detroit PBS a nonprofit classified with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and are tax deductible. For more information, you can check out A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donations.

We accept most cars, trucks, vans, fleet vehicles, trailers, boats, motorcycles, and RV’s. If you have any questions about what you can donate, please send us an email or call us toll-free at 855-270-3788.

All broadcast content remains available to all viewers on air per our broadcast schedule and will remain online and on mobile for at least two weeks and, in some cases, longer. We believe the new arrangement allows for ample viewing of excellent content, albeit for a more limited time for some programs.

Canadian residents may receive a tax break if they have a source of taxable income from the United States. Detroit PBS is a U.S. non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law if you itemize on a U.S. 1040 form. You must deduct the fair market value of any bonus item received for deductions. Please consult your tax advisor.

On average, it takes about six to eight (6-8) weeks for you to receive your bonus item (DVD, CDs, tote bags, etc.) after making a donation. We try to pre-order a small quantity of most items before each drive to expedite delivery, but availability and demand sometimes result in delays. We do mail most items at the first-class rate, and we usually ship “combo” items separately. We’ll try to let you know if there will be a delivery delay.

Gifts sent to Canada are shipped First Class via the Canadian postal service. By law, we must include a Customs Declaration, including a description of the gift and its fair market value. Please note you may be required to pay a duty upon arrival of the gift.

Because our bank is in the United States, all charge card pledges are automatically charged in U.S. funds. We cannot take charges in Canadian funds. We appreciate all donations, but we do buy all our programming and services with U.S. dollars. However, on checks from Canada, you can either specify U.S. funds, or we will accept them at par if you would like to pay that way.

While over-the-air broadcasts reach beyond US borders into Canada and Mexico, online video is subject to geo-filtering, which restricts the areas that can view PBS content. PBS is legally obligated to ensure each program does not exceed its granted rights, which unfortunately eliminates international streaming ability for some PBS programs in Canada and elsewhere.

We regret not being able to offer all our content online to our supporters.

Watch Detroit PBS videos on our YouTube channel.

We have looked into tax deductibility in Canada with Canadian tax counsel because, of course, we would love for our Canadian donors to receive tax benefits from their contributions.  The problem is that we are not a Canadian non-profit organization, nor are we affiliated with one. Since we are not a university station, for us to meet the specific tests of what Revenue Canada requires for being a Canadian non-profit organization, we would have to use a portion of each Canadian donation to pay for the extra expenses of supporting a Canadian office, with, for example, a set of specific Canadian educational activities, and carrying out the rigorous requirements for that organization to be legitimate.  While we might observe some increased level of giving with Canadian non-profit tax status, we don’t believe that most of our viewers, Canadian or the US, want to see their donated dollars be diverted for unnecessary overhead purposes.

Canadian support of Detroit PBS is very important so we do try to be financially helpful by allowing Canadians to donate their dollars “at par” by writing checks, if they choose, in Canadian funds.  The loss to Detroit PBS in the exchange rate can at times be more generous to them than the tax break would be. While the great majority of Canadians donate in U.S. funds, recognizing that U.S. funds are what we must use to pay for the programs, we do hope that, for those who choose it, the alternative serves to compensate for the lack of a Canadian tax break, when this is a deciding factor for a donor.

Also, if our Canadian donors ever receive income from a U.S. source, they can deduct their donation to Detroit PBS from the taxes they pay on that U.S.-sourced income.

It is notable that other border stations are now experiencing challenges to their tax-exempt Canadian status.  Current (1/31/14) reports: The Canada Revenue Agency, that country’s equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service, determined that friends groups associated with Vermont Public Television and Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, N.Y., don’t fit its criteria for registered charities because they don’t deliver an educational service. If its rulings aren’t reversed on appeal, donations from Canadian viewers would no longer qualify as tax-deductible charitable contributions – See more here.

In 1982, Detroit PBS was selected as the first PBS station to be transmitted via satellite across Canada. Approximately 13% of the families that support Detroit PBS each year are Canadian. We reach you through:

  • The Canadian satellite companies Shaw Broadcast Services and Rogers Communications relay the Detroit PBS signal to many cable companies throughout the nation of Canada.
  • Our own broadcasts and local Cogeco Cable carriage of our signal throughout Windsow, Chatham, Sarnia, and much of Southwestern Ontario. In all, nearly 20% of Canadian homes can watch Detroit PBS.

Our biggest concentration of viewers is cable subscribers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Halifax, St. Johns, and, of course, Ontario. We are well-watched in Québec, and have wonderful friends in communities of all sizes, from the Atlantic Provinces to the Yukon.

Detroit PBS listens to what our Canadian viewers and supporters tell us about the programs they love. In response, we have added British comedies and dramas to the lineup and a new how-to series. Furthermore, we work with Canadian producers to bring their programs to US television, and we are especially proud to work with cable companies to assist our shared viewers – it’s the best in neighborly cooperation.

No matter where you are, we are proud that Detroit PBS is your choice for quality programming and that you find our 24-hour service worthy of your time and your support.

We realize it can be frustrating when a program that you’re fond of disappears for the several weeks of pledge specials. Very few shows produce fifty-two (52) weeks a year of new material and in many cases, the shows are not timed or formatted for fundraising purposes by the producers. Programs are selected to air during pledge drives, not only for their ability to entertain or enlighten, but their potential to generate contributions.

As more viewers join you as Detroit PBS members, they support the programs that we enjoy all year round. We try to minimize the disruption of your favorites by limiting pledge days to approximately 75 days per year so that you have almost 300 days a year pledge-free.

The most likely answer to that is our notices and your payments are just crossing in the mail. If you believe your account is in error, please contact Member Services at (248)-305-3900 or Contact Us!

Pledge drives are unbeatable when it comes to encouraging new members to join Detroit PBS in the least costly way. When viewers just finish watching a program that they feel is worthy of support, they are strongly motivated to make a contribution. Pledge drives make it easy for current members to renew and for other viewers to join.

During our approximately 75 days per year of televised fundraising, we’re able to generate nearly half of our contributions from individuals.

The charge on your credit card is a donation to Detroit PBS. The “thank-you” gift that you requested is a “thank you” for your financial support of Detroit PBS. We always try to send your thank-you gift as soon as possible, but generally expect your gift within 3-6 weeks.

All content must meet FCC guidelines as well as Detroit PBS editorial principles of independence, accuracy, fairness, transparency, inclusiveness and accountability as well as Detroit PBS technical standards. These principles are the cornerstone of Detroit PBS’S commitment to serving the public interest and preserving the public’s trust. Learn more at PBS Editorial Standards & Practices (2018).

Detroit PBS broadcasts a range of national, regional and local programming from a variety of sources other than PBS, including but not limited to independent producers and national public television program distributors like American Public Television (APT) and the National Educational Television Association (NETA).

If the content is accepted by Detroit PBS, the producer will enter into a license agreement with Detroit PBS for the licensing of the content. Detroit PBS does not generally pay to license locally produced content.

Submissions are considered on an ongoing basis. Given the volume of submissions, it can take up to a month or more for a decision to be made. If the submission is accepted, the producer will be contacted.

A submission is judged on its completeness, the content/technical quality of the program, and the needs of Detroit PBS. If your submission was not accepted, it could be any of these reasons:

  • The application was incomplete.
  • The program did not align with our current content priorities or local initiatives.
  • The program did not display Detroit PBS’s commitment to DEI to deliver a broad and diverse array of content that reflects the diverse audiences we serve.
  • The program did not share a story connected to the Detroit region.
  • The program had poor technical quality.
  • The program does not align with Detroit PBS editorial standards and practices.

Still have questions?

Please contact our team today, we are here to help!