Charlotte’s WTVI to merge with local community college

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The merger of PBS member station WTVI in Charlotte, N.C., with Central Piedmont Community College was approved Tuesday (March 20) by Mecklenburg County commissioners in a 6-3 vote, reports the Charlotte Observer. “This is not about saving a legal entity, it is about saving local programming that is valuable to our community,” Chairman Harold Cogdell said. “It’s about access to education through programming, as well as those (students) learning to put together that programming at the community college.” The county will provide financial support for the merger of $357,000 to finalize the deal and some $800,000 over the next four years for equipment upgrades.

WTVI made cuts in 2010 after the county slashed its support from nearly $860,000 to just $95,000. In June 2011, station president Elsie Garner said WTVI’s survival was in jeopardy, and it was “bleeding money.” And earlier this month Garner said the station could go dark if the merger wasn’t approved.

The station is in an overlap market with UNC-TV at the University of North Carolina, and South Carolina ETV in Columbia.