|Channels||Analog: 29 (UHF)
Digital: 30 (UHF), (not on air, proposed construction permit)
|Founded||October 26, 1990|
|Call letters' meaning||W-PolViSion (name for Polnet's Polish language programming blocks)|
|Sister station(s)||WPVN-CD Aurora/Chicago|
|Former callsigns||W20AG (1990-2000)
W29DJ (2008-April 9, 2010)
|Former channel number(s)||20 (1990-September 12, 2000)
16 (September 12, 2000-2008)
|Former affiliations||Trinity Broadcasting Network (1990-2007)|
|Transmitter power||11.2 kW|
WPVS-LP (Channel 29) is a low-power television station licensed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The station is currently owned by Chicago-based Polnet Communications. Previously, the station had been licensed to Sheboygan, Wisconsin until 2011, and was an owned and operated translator station via satellite of the Trinity Broadcasting Network since sign-on in 1990 as W16BS. Currently, the station has a pending construction permit for a digital transmitter on channel 30.
Station history in Sheboygan
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. 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 channel W08BW with a SCOLA affiliation on 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 and WLLA from Western Michigan being easily receivable during the summer months in the Sheboygan area. The launch by TBN of WWRS 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. Time Warner Cable systems in the county also carry 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. 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 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.
Station history in Milwaukee
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). It is unknown what programming Polnet would put on the station whenever it comes to the air, although FCC applications have stated they plan to air "quality ethnic programming". A construction permit for channel 36 from the MPTV Tower in Milwaukee was contested by 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 MPTV 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 television 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 with a license expiration of December 2013. Currently the station's license expires on September 1, 2015, the FCC's proposed date for all low-power television stations to convert to digital operations.