In 1961, the school board chairs of Norfolk and Hampton Public Schools began experimenting with the idea of teaching elementary and secondary students through television and, by handshake agreement, established WHRO-TV. Over the next few years, the utilization of WHRO's instructional programming expanded to the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach; as well as the counties of Isle of Wight, Nansemond and York.
In 1968, the participating school divisions formally incorporated to own and govern WHRO as they do today, creating the group we now refer to as HRETA - the Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association. In the 70's and 80's, WHRO expanded its educational services, including its first nationally distributed series, The Community of Living Things, which achieved the highest utilization of any ITV series, won major television and film production awards and continues in distribution today.
The 80’s marked the beginning of what has now become known as the digital age and HRETA responded to the area school systems’ interests in the educational application of computers. In 1984, The Consortium for Interactive Instruction was formed with representatives from each HRETA school division to manage regional collaborative developments.
Presently, the Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association includes 19 school divisions throughout the Hampton Roads area who all work together to own and operate WHRO. Their leadership and guidance brought us to where we are today and continues to keep WHRO on the forefront of education.
WHRO has a unique ownership model. We are the only public media station nationwide to be owned by a consortium of local public school divisions. Our current owner members include: