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Not to be confused with KTVI, WVIT, or WIVT.
WTVI-PBS Charlotte.jpeg
Charlotte, North Carolina
United States
Branding PBS Charlotte
Slogan Tuned in.
Channels Digital: 11 (VHF)
Virtual: 42 (PSIP)
Translators 14 (UHF) Hickory
Owner Central Piedmont Community College
First air date August 27, 1965; 51 years ago (1965-08-27)
Call letters' meaning TeleVision Information
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 42 (UHF, 1965–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1965–1970)
Transmitter power 2.2 kW
Height 363 m
Facility ID 10645
Transmitter coordinates 35°17′14″N 80°41′45″W / 35.28722°N 80.69583°W / 35.28722; -80.69583Coordinates: 35°17′14″N 80°41′45″W / 35.28722°N 80.69583°W / 35.28722; -80.69583
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wtvi.org

WTVI, virtual channel 42 (VHF digital channel 11), is a PBS member television station located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The station is owned by Central Piedmont Community College. WTVI maintains studio facilities located in the Chantilly-Commonwealth section of east Charlotte, and its transmitter is located in the unincorporated area of Newell in northeastern Mecklenburg County (just northeast of the Charlotte city limits). WTVI is the only public television station in North Carolina that is not operated by UNC-TV, and is one of three PBS member stations serving the Charlotte television market, along with UNC-TV's WUNG (channel 58) and South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV)'s WNSC-TV (channel 30).

WTVI is aired on cable channel 5 in Charlotte and surrounding areas, channel 4 in Kannapolis and Metrolina, and channel 9 in York and Lancaster counties (the area's actual channel 9, WSOC-TV, is seen on cable channel 4). In recent years, WTVI has been carried on cable in Troy, which is within the Greensboro media market.


The station first signed on the air on August 27, 1965;[1] it was originally owned by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Board of Education. The WTVI call letters were first used by what is now KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri from 1953 to 1955, when it was licensed to Belleville, Illinois on the east side of the Mississippi River. WTVI's original station manager was Donna Lee Davenport, who was also instrumental in creating the station. In 1982, WTVI's license was transferred to the not-for-profit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Broadcasting Authority, turning the station into a community-owned entity.

Mecklenburg County covered the debt on WTVI's digital broadcasting equipment and maintains the station's studios, located on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte. The county also paid WTVI $95,000 annually to broadcast county commission meetings.[2]

In 2004, WTVI cut back on more well-known PBS programs. Ratings increased for a while with "alternative" shows, but after several years the station ended up in trouble.[3] On June 30, 2011, WTVI's board was advised that the station was running a $300,000 deficit and that its long-term operation was questionable if its financial situation did not improve.[2] On March 13, 2012, Central Piedmont Community College offered to take over the station. The college requested $1.35 million from Mecklenburg County; $357,000 to complete the purchase and about $800,000 to give the station a significant technical overhaul. The Mecklenburg County Commission approved funding for the deal on March 20.

Without county money, Central Piedmont Community College would have been unable to complete the purchase and the station would have likely ceased operations on June 30, 2012.[4] The deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on May 21, 2012,[5] and the acquisition of WTVI was completed on July 1, 2012, with the broadcast licenses being transferred the following day.[6] As a result, WTVI became an educational licensee for the second time in its history. At that time, it became one of seven full-time PBS member stations to be operated by a community college (alongside Milwaukee PBS; WDCQ-TV in Bay City, Michigan; WVUT-TV in Vincennes, Indiana; KACV in Amarillo, Texas; KNCT in Killeen, Texas; WSRE in Pensacola, Florida and WBCC in Orlando, Florida (WBCC, now WEFS, has since left PBS)).

Three months after taking over operations, Central Piedmont Community College brought back familiar PBS shows such as Downton Abbey, Nova and Nature to the schedule. Additional local programming is planned, including some previously aired on the college's cable channel. Among the new shows is Off the Record, hosted by David Rhew and similar to Jerry Hancock's Final Edition, dropped in 2009 for budget reasons.[3]

WTVI is one of the few PBS member stations that don't clear the weekend editions of PBS NewsHour.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[7]
42.1 1080i 16:9 WTVI-HD Main WTVI programming / PBS
42.2 WTVI-NH NHK World
42.3 480i WTVI Ct Create

Prior to February 17, 2009, WTVI carried "The Civic Channel" on digital subchannel 42.2, Create on digital subchannel 42.3, PBS Kids on digital subchannel 42.4, and a high definition feed of WTVI on digital subchannel 42.5; the fourth and fifth subchannels were dropped on February 17 with Create moving to 42.3 and the main channel on 42.1 upgrading to high definition. In July 2010, "The Civic Channel" was replaced by MHz Worldview. In November 2015, MHz WorldView was dropped and a simulcast of Create was placed on subchannel 42.2; in February 2016, NHK World was added to subchannel 42.2.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WTVI began broadcasting its digital signal on VHF channel 11, carrying four digital subchannels, including one high-definition channel. WTVI was the first television station in Charlotte to produce programming in high-definition in 2000. The station shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 42, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 11.[8] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 42.


  1. ^ About Us
  2. ^ a b Washburn, Mark (July 1, 2011). "Charlotte's public TV station in dire straits". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Washburn, Mark (2012-10-06). "Struggles remain in the air for WTVI". The Charlotte Observer. 
  4. ^ Perlmutt, David. County board split on CPCC, WTVI merger. The Charlotte Observer, 2012-03-21
  5. ^ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/21/3257751/briefly.html
  6. ^ Celebrating 31 years with WTVI
  7. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WTVI
  8. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links[edit]