WTVI, virtual channel 42 (VHF digital channel 11), is a PBS member television station licensed to Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The station is owned by Central Piedmont Community College. WTVI's studios are located in the Chantilly-Commonwealth section of east Charlotte, and its transmitter is located in the unincorporated area of Newell in northeastern Mecklenburg County (just northeast of the Charlotte city limits). WTVI is the only public television station in North Carolina that is not operated by UNC-TV, and is one of three PBS member stations serving the Charlotte television market, along with UNC-TV's WUNG (channel 58) and South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV)'s WNSC-TV (channel 30).
On cable, WTVI is carried on Charter Spectrum channel 5 in the immediate Charlotte area (channel 4 in Kannapolis and Concord, channel 13 on legacy Charter systems), Comporium Communications channel 109 and AT&T U-verse channel 42. In recent years, WTVI has been carried on cable in Troy, which is within the Greensboro television market.
The station first signed on the air on August 27, 1965; it was originally owned by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. The WTVI call letters were first used by what is now Fox affiliate KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri from 1953 to 1955, when it was licensed to Belleville, Illinois on the east side of the Mississippi River. WTVI's original station manager was Donna Lee Davenport, who was also instrumental in creating the station. In 1982, WTVI's license was transferred to the not-for-profit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Broadcasting Authority, turning the station into a community-owned entity.
Mecklenburg County covered the debt on WTVI's digital broadcasting equipment and maintains the station's studios, located on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte. The county also paid WTVI $95,000 annually to broadcast county commission meetings.
In 2004, WTVI cut back on more well-known PBS programs. Ratings increased for a while with "alternative" shows, but after several years the station ended up in trouble. On June 30, 2011, WTVI's board was advised that the station was running a $300,000 deficit and that its long-term operation was questionable if its financial situation did not improve. On March 13, 2012, Central Piedmont Community College offered to take over the station. The college requested $1.35 million from Mecklenburg County; $357,000 to complete the purchase and about $800,000 to give the station a significant technical overhaul. The Mecklenburg County Commission approved funding for the deal on March 20.
Without county money, Central Piedmont Community College would have been unable to complete the purchase and the station would have likely ceased operations on June 30, 2012. The deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on May 21, 2012, and the acquisition of WTVI was completed on July 1, 2012, with the broadcast licenses being transferred the following day. As a result, WTVI became an educational licensee for the second time in its history. At that time, it became one of seven full-time PBS member stations to be operated by a community college (alongside Milwaukee PBS; WDCQ-TV in Bay City, Michigan; WVUT-TV in Vincennes, Indiana; KACV in Amarillo, Texas; KNCT in Killeen, Texas; WSRE in Pensacola, Florida and WBCC in Orlando, Florida (WBCC, now WEFS, has since left PBS, while KNCT would leave PBS six years later).
Three months after taking over operations, Central Piedmont Community College brought back familiar PBS shows such as Sesame Street, Downton Abbey, Nova and Nature to the schedule. Additional local programming is planned, including some previously aired on the college's cable channel. Among the new shows is Off the Record, hosted by David Rhew and similar to Jerry Hancock's Final Edition, dropped in 2009 for budget reasons.
WTVI is one of the few PBS member stations that don't clear the weekend editions of PBS NewsHour.
|TV stations in North Carolina|
|WUNC, Chapel Hill||WTVI, Charlotte|
|WUNP, Roanoke Rapids|
|TV stations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area|
| WBTV 3 (CBS) |
WSOC 9 (ABC)
WHKY 14 (Ind)
WCEE-LP 16 (ESTRELLA)
WUNE 17 (PBS)
WCCB 18 (CW)
W21CK-D 21 (3ABN)
WHWD-LD 21 (Daystar)
WDMC-LD 25 (Daystar)
WGTB-CD 28 (Ind)
WNSC 30 (PBS)
WCNC 36 (NBC)
WVEB-LD 40 (Cozi)
WHEH-LD 41 (AZA)
WTVI 42 (PBS)
WJZY 46 (Fox)
WMYT 55 (MNTV)
WUNG 58 (PBS)
WAXN 64 (Ind)