The South Carolina Educational Television Network (SCETV) is a state agency providing educational, cultural, and historical programming to South Carolinians through telecommunications. SCETV began in 1957 with a resolution by the General Assembly calling for a study of the use of television in the public schools. A pilot project began with a studio built at Dreher High School in Columbia in 1958. Following the success of the pilot project, the General Assembly established the South Carolina Educational Television Commission in 1960 and named R. Lynn Kalmbach general manager. By 1963 the SCETV closed-circuit network had reached schools in all forty-six counties, public school teachers and state agency employees had begun using SCETV for continuing professional education, and the first open-circuit broadcast station was added to the system, WNTV in Greenville.
After Kalmbach’s death, Henry J. Cauthen became the executive director of the network in 1965 and served as its leader until his retirement in 1997. Under Cauthen’s leadership SCETV grew to seven open circuit stations, began the South Carolina Education Radio Network (now SCETV-Radio), built a state-of-the-art satellite broadcasting system, vastly expanded program offerings (including children’s programming), began offering higher-education courses for credit over the closed circuit network, and began providing teleconferences for state agencies.
At the start of the twenty-first century, SCETV operated twelve regional stations, which were overseen by an eight-member commission. Since 1977 the ETV Endowment has subsidized state funding with private contributions from corporations and individual donors. The SCETV network began a conversion to digital broadcasting in 1999, and in 2000 WRLK-DT in Columbia became the first digital television station in the state.