Deal underlines tough times for noncom television


SoldA local government is the licensee-operator of one of the three PBS stations that serve the Charlotte NC DMA. However, local governmental budget cuts have motivated it to accept a deal that involves essentially giving the station away to keep it up and running.

The station is WTVI, which operates on digital Channel 11 and uses virtual channel 42. It’s licensed to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Broadcasting Authority (CMPBA).

However, according to the Charlotte-Observer, the station has had a very difficult time making ends meet going back to the onset of the recession in 2008, and in the year 2011 was said to have been about $300K in the red.

The money won’t be coming from Mecklenburg County. According to a document posted by CMPBA, that entity is itself facing budget cuts, and coming up with extra cash to save WTVI is not in the cards.

Enter Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). It has offered to take over the care and feeding of the station, including ownership of the license.

On 43/12, the two entities filed to transfer the station. Under terms of the contract, CPCC would pay a nominal $1.00 to pay for WTVI.

However, according to the Charlotte-Observer article, CPCC may still need involvement from Mecklenburg County to help meet some of the expenses associated with running the station.
In a March Vote, according to the Observer, the County did agree to provide some of the funding it would have provided had CMPBA remained the station’s licensee – it includes $357K to execute the deal and $800K spread out over four years to refurbish and replace aging equipment.

After that, CPCC says it will take on full fiscal responsibility for the station.