Pittsburgh’s WQED finally marries off its sister station

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After trying for years, WQED Multimedia is succeeding in selling its second TV channel, WQEX, the Post-Gazette reported today. Ion Media Networks will buy it for $3 million, the newspaper said. The buyer, which will now have stations in 60 markets, was selected by the WQED Board from “an extensive list of interested parties,” WQED said. Since 2004, the unreserved UHF channel had been leased to Home Shopping Network and then ShopNBC as an outlet for shopping channels; WQED retained three hours a week for the FCC-required children’s programming. But WQED’s attempts to sell the channel were thwarted repeatedly by economic conditions, an unwilling FCC and other factors. In fiscal year 2009, WQED stayed out of the red by divesting another longtime asset, its 40-year-old offspring, Pittsburgh Magazine, netting more than $800,000. For fiscal 2010, the licensee again managed to show a net surplus — for the 11th straight year. President George L. Miles Jr. retired in September, 16 years after coming to the station to pull it out of an earlier fiscal crisis.