WYES celebrated 60 years on April 1, 2017.  In 1953, a group of local civic and business leaders, convinced that there was a place on the television dial for quality programming not based on mass audiences or commercial appeal, founded The Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation.The non-profit organization was subsequently granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to operate an “educational” television station broadcasting on Channel 8.

WYES-TV signed on the air on April 1, 1957 as the twelfth educational television station in the nation. In 1970, the station swapped frequency allocations with another local station, thus becoming Channel 12.