Virginia’s WVPT to consolidate with Commonwealth Public Broadcasting

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WVPT-TV in Harrisonburg, Va., is consolidating operations with Richmond-based joint licensee Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp.

Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corp., licensee for WVPT, approved the merger “to strengthen its operational and strategic position moving forward,” it said in an announcement Wednesday.

Todd Stansbury, board chair for Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, said that with the consolidation, “we not only have the opportunity to extend the impact of public media, but we also have the chance to accelerate our momentum toward creating an increasingly impactful and forward-looking public broadcasting enterprise.”

The new organization will serve some 1 million households. The agreement is pending FCC approval, which the stations expect by next spring.

Tony Mancari, WVPT-TV president, will oversee a new business unit within Commonwealth, and three members of WVPT’s board will join the Commonwealth Public Broadcasting board.

No staff changes at either station are expected, the announcement said.

PBS President Paula Kerger said the consolidation “shows great promise and could serve as a model for other public media stations across the country.”

Earlier this year, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting earned $182 million in the FCC’s spectrum auction after selling two stations in Northern Virginia.

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