Virginia network gets $182M from sale of two stations in spectrum auction

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Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. in Richmond, Va., will receive $182 million for the sale of two Virginia TV stations in the FCC spectrum auction, the broadcaster announced Thursday.

The stations going dark, WNVC in Fairfax and WNVT in Goldvein, are programmed by MHz Networks, a nonprofit that has been independent of Commonwealth since 2013. WNVC is selling for $124.8 million; WNVT, for $57.1 million.

WNVC and WNVT now carry programming aimed at a multicultural audience in suburban Washington, D.C., including some locally produced shows about Indian and Nepalese news and culture.

“The Northern Virginia area is served by other public media stations, including multiple PBS-member stations,” Commonwealth said in an FAQ, “and it was determined that there was no long-term strategic value for CPBC to maintain a continued over-the-air presence in Northern Virginia, especially given the opportunity to monetize the assets in order to strengthen our core mission to use the power of media to educate, entertain and inspire.”

The broadcaster will devote the proceeds to its remaining three TV and three radio stations in central Virginia, branded as the Community Idea Stations network. The broadcaster has launched a strategic planning process to establish a foundation with the proceeds.

“We will use a portion of the proceeds to focus even more on local content that tells the rich stories in history and showcases the arts in our community,” the station said in a press release. “We will build and enhance our news-gathering operations. We will broaden our community engagement to ensure maximum local impact. And, we will leverage our experience in producing award-winning radio and television content to enhance digital-first production capacity.”

Commonwealth expects to receive the money later this year. The station took in $8.8 million in revenue in fiscal year 2015, according to an audit posted on its website.

The broadcaster will hold a town hall meeting April 27 at 5:30 p.m. at its Richmond headquarters to further discuss how it will use the money.

16 thoughts on “Virginia network gets $182M from sale of two stations in spectrum auction

    • I thought the programming is donated to MHz, and the foreign broadcasters get a platform for American viewers to see the programming. I do believe however that the Russian government pays Comcast to air RT on it’s cable system in many parts of the USA. I suspect only the main ‘MHz WorldView’ channel will remain after the northern Virginia stations go off the air, and the sub-channels will no longer be available.

      • A producer of MHz’s local shows aimed at the area’s Indian viewers told me that her company does not pay MHz to have the shows aired. She also said that she understands that MHz will continue to broadcast the WorldView channel on cable in the DC area. MHz’s president hasn’t returned my calls and emails.

        • My opinion: It seems like they have increasingly focused their efforts on their SVOD service, MHz Choice. Admittedly this is probably more profitable in the long run. If they can keep it going and keep a few affiliates on cable/satellite for their WorldView channel, that may be enough.

  1. This really sucks. I truly enjoyed the OTA broadcast International news from France, Germany, Turkey, China and even Russia through their lens – best way to get informed about world affairs. Perhaps WETA and WMPT could pick up the International channels. I have basic internet service, cut the cable and installed an outdoor TV antenna many years ago to save money.

    • Agreed -00%. Retiree? Antenna, converter box used for years. Pray and hope Flobal News continues…all should not be about “profit”, or caving into corporate take overs!

  2. No, MHz will not continue to broadcast the WorldView channel on cable in the DC area. Infact it went dark on April 1, 2018 as they announced. To watch the “International Mystery” (which I did every night) you need to join MHz Choice for $7.99 a month and via internet”. Only Cox and Direct TV are still broadcasting Worldview, Verizon and Comcast ARE NOT.

  3. For us Comcast subscribers in DC, loss of Worldview with its window onto the view of people around the world, from their perspective, is a major loss, especially in these times. Please let our local advocate, Marcella Hicks, of the DC Office of Cable and Entertainment, know that we need WorldView, however excellent our other local public broadcasting stations are. You can reach her at email:

  4. I will miss those great mysteries. They educated us about other countries and were
    great entertainment. I loved Montalbano especially.

  5. I spent so many enjoyable hours watching the International Mysteries so I was devastated to learn it went off the air! I don’t understand how Worldview can be carried by Direct TV and Cox and not carried by Comcast and Verizon. Probably the latter want too much money as if we didn’t pay a fortune for their services!

  6. You must be capitalist profiteers to have stopped good mainland Chinese programming so much more interesting than garbage from local broadcast channels and soforth.i miss the Chinese reports. Don’t have cable.feel like sueing.

  7. It’s too bad to have lost the mix channels u enjoyed that contained China intentional. Local issue are boring as the n. VA. Area. And mediocre.
    Television a radio media put forth and enriched by a central communist government with far reaching aims is supioer. In the capitalist society we dwell in however, profits and eventual happen. It’s a waste.

  8. I am of the opinion that the entire repacking process is just right for fraud. What station here in Richmond wood from a thousand kilowatts on UHF 47 to 30 kilowatts on VHF 8. I received my television over the air and have been very happy those far but after this station did they’re repack and I could pick it up at all I had to spend almost $200 on an entire new antenna system to be able to get this channel. to my knowledge I don’t think the station has even asked the SEC for a power increase. What a crock take your pic.

  9. I fondly remember WNVC Channel 56 used to air Chinese language programs from Taiwan on weekend evenings. I think WNVC used to sell hours to local ethnic programmers for a fee. Similar foreign language programs packaged in multiple hour blocks were available. I vividly remember at the beginning of the Chinese hour it showed happy local Chinese kids doing sack races in what appears to be a local park, with the title of something like “Washington DC Chinese Hour” appearing on screen, marking the beginning of this program. Next it would be a short local news in Chinese followed by news from Taiwan. What would follow include Taiwanese dramas and variety shows. Aside from the programs themselves, there were advertisements for local Chinese merchants such as restaurants and supermarkets, and professional services such as law, tax and real estate. Those advertisements were quite valuable in the pre-internet days. I remembered it aired before I moved here in 1987 but I stopped watching it after 1990.

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