Previous WGBY logo; variations of this logo (generally modifying the PBS logo) were used from 2000 until 2010.
The station was first signed on the air on September 26, 1971. The station's digital programming channels include WGBY Kids, Create and World, which are similar to the WGBH channels of the same names seen in Boston on WGBH-TV and WGBX-TV, but have some changes made to include locally produced WGBY programs. In October 2006, WGBY became the first television station in New England to produce all of its local programming content in high definition.
Unlike its Boston counterpart, WGBY does not operate an affiliated radio station; the area is instead served by WFCR, an NPR affiliate licensed to Amherst. It also broadcasts some Spanish programming on occasion.
On August 4, 2008, WGBY filed a request with the FCC to discontinue regular programming on its analog signal, over UHFchannel 57, on November 5, 2008 – some three months prior to the original mandated analog shut-off date. The petition cited the need to replace the current analog antenna with the post transition digital 22 antenna. WGBY also filed for an STA to operate at 50% analog power prior to the early shut down date due to equipment failureAlthough it had an assigned digital channel that it would move to post-transition that differed from its original digital channel, WGBY continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition allocation (UHF channel 58). The station's digital signal later relocated to UHF channel 22 on April 27, 2009, as the station's original digital channel allocation was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that would be removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 57.