Pennsylvania’s WVIA announces channel-sharing agreement

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WVIA in Pittston, Pa., will grow its endowment by some $20 million in channel-sharing proceeds from the FCC’s broadcast spectrum auction.

The station announced Friday that it agreed to share a channel with Dreamcatcher Broadcasting’s WNEP in Scranton, an ABC affiliate. WVIA will receive $25.9 million.

“We plan to take our auction proceeds, which is nearly $20 million after technical expenses, and add it to the WVIA endowment,” said Alex Fried, chair of WVIA’s board. He noted the station is still recovering from a $970,000 loss of state funding in 2009 that resulted in the canceling of several local programs.

Over-the-air viewers, about 18 percent of WVIA’s audience, will need to rescan their television sets to find the new channel, station engineering VP Joe Glynn said in the announcement. He expects the channel to change sometime next year.

The FCC conducted the auction of television broadcast spectrum to free up room for mobile  devices to use more frequencies. Wireless carriers bid $19.6 billion for 84 megahertz during the auction, which concluded Friday.

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