A Message from the President and CEO of WVIA Public Media
There is good news I want to personally tell you on behalf of the station and our Board of Directors. Given the speed that this news will go out via many forms it’s unrealistic our membership may not see it from another source first.
As you are aware, WVIA has been committed to public service in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the central Susquehanna Valley for more than 50 years. The most recent 8 years have been especially challenging financially. When state funding disappeared in 2009, WVIA had to cancel several local programs, cut back on staff, and, as many of you know, slash expenses. Your public media station has been on an austerity budget ever since 2009.
Now, guided by our Board of Directors, we have taken an important step in an attempt to preserve our public service mission for future generations. WVIA has successfully participated in the recently completed Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadcast Incentive Auction. The FCC asked television stations all across America to sell their broadcast spectrum to help meet the growing demand on America’s wireless networks for capacity to support the critical economic, public safety and health care needs of the country.
WVIA’s staff and board of directors seized this opportunity in an effort to help secure the future of public service media for our region. WVIA entered into a channel sharing agreement with Dreamcatcher Broadcasting LLC to broadcast both WVIA and WNEP television over a shared channel. This means WVIA TV can stay on the air while sharing the auction proceeds with Dreamcatcher, licensee of WNEP TV.
Cable and satellite viewers will not be affected by this change. WVIA’s programming will continue on the normal cable and satellite channels. Over-the- air viewers will not notice any change for a year or so. When the new transmitter is set up over-the-air viewers will be notified to rescan their televisions to find our new channel placement. We estimate this will happen sometime in 2018.
The sale of WVIA’s broadcast spectrum is expected to yield $25,967,334 for WVIA. After initial technical transition expenses, we plan to invest the balance in the WVIA Endowment Fund, using annual interest to service to the region for years to come.
We will still rely primarily on public and federal support to fulfill our mission. The interest from this new endowment will replace some—but not all—of the $970,000 lost annually in the 2009 elimination of state funding. WVIA will still count on support from our own individual members, federal support, regional foundations, and civic-minded businesses to cover our operating expenses.
As school district budgets shrink, as funding for arts and culture is challenged, as our nation’s civic discourse is increasingly polarized, now more than ever we need quality, educational public media. WVIA is proud to bring our region in- depth news and excellent PBS programs like PBS News Hour, The American Experience, and American Masters, Nature and Nova, documentaries from Ken Burns and the award winning news series Frontline. WVIA’s award-winning Call the Doctor series addresses the area’s health and wellness needs, and we celebrate our history and culture by “Telling Your Stories” with local documentaries, Pennsylvania Polka and Homegrown Music Concerts and so much more! We serve our school districts with Scholastic Scrimmage, Artist of the Week, and PBS Kids in the Classroom programs. And we recently launched a 24/7 PBS Kids channel to help with the urgent need for early childhood education resources.
Last fall we celebrated our first 50 years of public service to our region. Now we invite you to join us as we work to secure and expand this mission for the future with content and outreach programs that educate, inform and inspire.
Thomas M. Currá
WVIA President/CEO & Executive Producer
WVIA Public Media is a catalyst, convener and educator, using media, partnerships, powerful ideas and programs to improve lives and advance the best attributes of an enlightened society.
“WVIA touches lives, influences opinion, and noticeably impacts on matters of public interest and concern, through measurably significant, differentiated local and national television and radio broadcast products and wvia.org, as well as outreach projects and educational services. Grounded in the concepts of lifelong learning, the arts, culture and quality of life, the WVIA staff relentlessly pursues excellence and relevance. We will develop future programs and services in collaboration with strategically chosen organizations successfully serving Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley. WVIA will grow in revenue, independence, recognition and coverage, achieving significant public service by continuously improving relationships with members, underwriters, partners and our communities.”