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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
ChannelsDigital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 23
OwnerHC2 Holdings
(sale to SagamoreHill Broadcasting pending[1])
FoundedOctober 26, 1990
First air date
1990; 32 years ago (1990)
Former call signs
W20AG (1990–2000)
W16BS (2000–2008)
W29DJ (2008–2010)
WPVS-LP (2010–2022)
Former channel number(s)
20 (UHF, 1990–2000)
16 (UHF, 2000–2008)
29 (UHF, 2008–2022)
TBN (1990–2007)
Call sign meaning
Polvision (intended to carry Polish language programming but never aired)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID67976
ERP2.9 kW
HAAT314.2 m (1,031 ft)
Transmitter coordinates43°5′46.2″N 87°54′15″W / 43.096167°N 87.90417°W / 43.096167; -87.90417
Public license information

WPVS-LD, virtual channel 23 (UHF digital channel 9), is a low-power television station licensed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, which is currently silent. The station is owned by HC2 Holdings. It had been licensed to Sheboygan until 2011.


In Sheboygan[edit]

For seventeen years, the station acted as the local translator station for TBN, first transmitting from the downtown Firstar Building on channel 20 as W20AG in 1990.[2] The station then moved to a new transmitting facility around 1999 on Sheboygan's south side along Weeden Creek Road (CTH EE), in an industrial park just west of a WisDOT emissions testing station on land leased from Lakeshore Technical College (which formerly broadcast their college bulletin board on SCOLA affiliate W08BW (channel 8) from the site until the early 2000s). The next year, the station would move to channel 16 as W16BS, continuing to transmit the TBN schedule without local deviation.

Several factors influenced the sale of the station, including a declining audience via antenna for TBN's translator stations, and the signals of religious stations WTLJ (channel 54) and WLLA (channel 64) from Western Michigan being easily receivable during the summer months in the Sheboygan area.

The launch by TBN of WWRS (channel 52) from Mayville did not affect W16BS as that station's signal was blocked by the Kettle Moraine range east of Fond du Lac, blocking any signal from entering Sheboygan and leaving TBN to continue to operate W16BS. However, TBN and its other digital subchannels later launched on local cable provider Charter Communications in late August 2007, with reception via satellite.[3] Time Warner Cable systems in the county also carried the network via WWRS via must-carry election. These carriage agreements, associated costs of the digital transition, and universal coverage by the major satellite broadcasters were likely the impetus for TBN's sale of the station to another party.

The station was taken silent after TBN sold the station to Sarasota, Florida-based Sheboygan Community Broadcasting, LLC in August 2007, which was likely a holding company designed solely to profit from a sale of the station's license without a commitment to broadcast (notably, the FCC application misspelled the city of license in the above LLC as "Sheboygen").

FCC records indicate that the station returned to the air on channel 29 as W29DJ on March 6, 2008, but from a different transmitter located south of Random Lake east of Highway 57, which does not actually cover Sheboygan, and instead broadcasts to communities in southeast Sheboygan County and northeast Ozaukee County. Service from Random Lake has been intermittent however as SCB's transmitter equipment was leased from another party and it was seized several times for non-payment before the sale to Polnet. As of May 2011 the station, if it is broadcasting from Random Lake, is broadcasting only to a four square mile area southeast of Random Lake only covering several farms[4] to maintain service and the license.

A return to Sheboygan became unlikely around July 2008, when the tower, transmitter, and TBN's satellite equipment was removed from the Weeden Creek Road site after LTC ended their lease with the city of Sheboygan for the land within the industrial park, leaving only the transmitter shed remaining for storage.

The station previously covered the eastern part of Sheboygan County, with the original footprint of the digital signal from Sheboygan expected to fully cover the county, southern Manitowoc County and northern Ozaukee County.

In Milwaukee[edit]

According to FCC records, Sheboygan Community Broadcasting sold the station on November 23, 2009 to Polnet Communications, which provides ethnic programming in Polish and other languages and owns several ethnic radio stations in the Chicago area, and formerly had a time-lease arrangement for Polish language television programming on WCIU-DT6 in Chicago before launching their own station in the area in 2010, WPVN-CA (Channel 24). Polnet planned to air "quality ethnic programming", according to their FCC statements.

A construction permit for channel 36 from the Milwaukee PBS Tower in Milwaukee was contested by Milwaukee PBS (then branded as MPTV) itself, which asserted their existing analog rights from WMVT being on analog channel 36 to place a digital translator station for WMVS there to address inefficiencies with WMVS's digital channel 8 signal in Milwaukee proper. Polnet subsequently withdrew the application for 36 and petitioned for a digital application on channel 30 in early December 2009, also from the Milwaukee PBS Tower. The placement of the station's transmitter in Milwaukee likely meant that Polnet did not intend to keep any kind of service to Sheboygan, and the placement of the analog tower in Random Lake was solely intended to "skip" the station down to Milwaukee, a move allowed under FCC regulations.

On April 9, 2010, the station was reclassified as a low power station, and took the lettered calls WPVS-LP. On January 3, 2011, the FCC authorized the change of city of license from Sheboygan to Milwaukee[5] with a license expiration of December 2013. The station's license was to expire on December 1, 2021; it has continued to operate under 'silent and licensed' authority from the FCC, with occasional operation from the rented Random Lake site to maintain the license while it looks to permanently operate from the Milwaukee PBS Tower.

On July 31, 2018, HC2 Holdings announced it would purchase WPVS-LP for $400,000, and in the interim a new construction permit for VHF channel 9 from the Milwaukee PBS tower has been filed (HC2 had filed a purchase agreement for WPVN in Chicago two months before[6]). If the purchase is approved and the station does go on the air, it would become a sister station to WTSJ-LP (channel 38).[7][8]

On November 3, 2021, it was announced that SagamoreHill Broadcasting would purchase WPVS-LP for $100,000, pending FCC approval; it is not known what SagamoreHill plans to do with the station.[1]

The station was licensed for digital operation on channel 9 effective January 14, 2022.


  1. ^ a b "Assignments". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. November 3, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  2. ^ "Broadcasting News-April 2007".
  3. ^ http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/index.php?ntid=202840&ntpid=1[dead link]
  4. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=TX1335451.html[dead link]
  5. ^ "Station Search Details".
  6. ^ Jacobson, Adam (5 June 2018). "Windy City LPTV Secured For Azteca Owner". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  7. ^ "ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT by and between HC2 STATION GROUP, INC., as Buyer, and POLNET COMMUNICATIONS, LTD., as Seller". Federal Communications Commission. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Displacement for LPTV Station Application". Federal Communications Commission. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.

External links[edit]