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StauntonHarrisonburg, Virginia
United States
CityStaunton, Virginia
BrandingVPM PBS
ChannelsDigital: 11 (VHF)
(shared with WVPY; to move to 12 (VHF))
Virtual: 51 (PSIP)
Affiliations51.1: PBS
51.3: Create
51.4: PBS Kids
51.5: World Channel
OwnerCommonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation
First air dateSeptember 9, 1968 (51 years ago) (1968-09-09)
Call sign meaningWestern Virginia Public Television
Former channel number(s)Analog:
51 (UHF, 1968–2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1968–1970)
Transmitter power10 kW
Height689 m (2,260 ft)
Facility ID60111
Transmitter coordinates38°9′54.4″N 79°18′50.1″W / 38.165111°N 79.313917°W / 38.165111; -79.313917
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
(satellite of WCVW, Richmond, Virginia)
New Market/Harrisonburg−
Staunton, Virginia
United States
CityNew Market, Virginia
BrandingVPM Plus
ChannelsDigital: 11 (VHF)
(shared with WVPT; to move to 12 (VHF))
Virtual: 51.2 (PSIP)
OwnerCommonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation
First air dateAugust 22, 1996 (23 years ago) (1996-08-22)
(in Front Royal, Virginia; license moved to New Market in 2018)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
42 (UHF, 1996–2009)
21 (UHF, 2002–2018)
42 (PSIP, 2002–2018)
Transmitter power10 kW
Height689 m (2,260 ft)
Facility ID66378
Transmitter coordinates38°9′54.4″N 79°18′50.1″W / 38.165111°N 79.313917°W / 38.165111; -79.313917
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information
satellite of WCVW, Richmond, Virginia) Profile

satellite of WCVW, Richmond, Virginia) CDBS

WVPT, virtual channel 51 (VHF digital channel 11), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Staunton, Virginia, United States, serving Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. The station is owned by the Richmond-based Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation. WVPT's studios are located in Harrisonburg near the campus of James Madison University, and its transmitter is located atop Elliott Knob west of Staunton.

WVPT operates a second station, WVPY, licensed to New Market, Virginia. WVPY was formerly a full-time satellite which served Winchester and the upper Shenandoah Valley. Through a channel-sharing agreement, it now broadcasts from WVPT's transmitter as a satellite of Richmond's WCVW, using virtual channel 51.2.


WVPT signed on for the first time on September 9, 1968, under the ownership of the Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation. It is the third-oldest educational station in Virginia, behind Hampton Roads' WHRO-TV and Richmond's WCVE-TV. WVPY, originally licensed to Front Royal, Virginia, was added in 1996, replacing low-powered translator W42AC, which had served the area since the 1980s.

WVPT also doubled as the default PBS station for Charlottesville (via translators W50CM in the city and W58DK in Ruckersville) until WCVE signed on WHTJ as a full-powered satellite in 1989.

On October 1, 2001, WVPT began broadcasting in digital with WVPY following in October 2002, with HD.

In November 2017, Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation agreed to merge with Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation, owner of WCVE-TV, WCVW, WHTJ, WNVT, and WNVC.[1] The merger took effect on June 11, 2018. On August 5, 2019, CPBC rebranded all of its stations under the "VPM" banner, with WVPT becoming "VPT PBS" and WVPY becoming "VPT Plus".[2]


WVPT is the smallest PBS station licensed to Virginia, but serves one of the largest coverage areas of any PBS member. It primarily serves 22 counties and independent cities in Virginia and nine counties in West Virginia. Much of this area is very mountainous. Largely because most of its service area is located in the United States National Radio Quiet Zone, its two main transmitters operated at only 525,000 watts and 141,000 watts in analog—in both cases, fairly modest for a full PBS member on the UHF band. Even in digital, they are not nearly strong enough to cover this vast and rugged area. This is despite WVPT's digital channel being located on VHF; normally VHF signals "bend" over rugged terrain better than UHF signals.

WVPT's distributed transmission system consists of two transmitters:

Community Transmitter location Power
Charlottesville 37°59′0″N 78°29′2″W / 37.98333°N 78.48389°W / 37.98333; -78.48389 40 watts
Monterey 38°20′39″N 79°35′47″W / 38.34417°N 79.59639°W / 38.34417; -79.59639 8 watts

The station's distributed transmission system allows the translators to rebroadcast digitally on the same frequencies as the parent stations under an experimental license. Digital DTS call signs are based on those of the respective main stations, suffixed with a sequential number. For instance, the transmitter in Charlottesville is seen on VHF channel 11, virtual channel 51.1, and with the callsign WVPT1-DT.[3]

WVPY operated translators in Fulks Run, Luray and Ruckersville; these were taken offline when WVPY moved its tower to WVPT's tower.

Spectrum reallocation[edit]

As part of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2016-17 spectrum reallocation auction, WVPY's channel 21 allocations were sold for $19,851,752.[4] The station and its distributed transmitters were to go off the air July 23, 2018, but the main transmitter is allowed to continue over-the-air operations by sharing the channel of another station. WVPY received two three-month extensions of the original January 23 deadline as it had difficulty finding a channel-sharing partner.[5][6][7]

WVPY filed a channel-sharing agreement with sister station WVPT on April 11, 2018. WVPY's over-the-air signal moved to WVPT's main transmitter in Harrisonburg and its distributed transmitters, effective June 11. Few in the area actually lost over-the-air PBS service, as the area is also covered by WETA-TV in Washington, D.C., West Virginia Public Broadcasting's W08EE-D in Martinsburg, and Maryland Public Television's WWPB in Hagerstown.[8] After the transfer, WVPY moved its license to New Market, as it would not cover Front Royal at all from WVPT's transmitter site.[9] As it now covers exactly the same areas as WVPT over-the-air, WVPY relays the programming of WCVW on virtual channel 51.2.[10][11]

Cable and satellite availability[edit]

WVPT also relies heavily on cable and satellite for its viewership. These are all but essential for acceptable television in this region.

WVPT is available on cable in Lynchburg. Additionally, the station is carried on the Harrisonburg DirecTV and Dish Network feed. While it is available on Comcast cable in Charlottesville and central Virginia, it is not carried on satellite there, as FCC rules do not allow a station to be uplinked unless it has a full-power station licensed in the market.

WVPY was previously available over-the-air in large portions of the Virginia and West Virginia portions of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; Front Royal and Winchester are part of the Washington market. It was also available on the Washington DirecTV and Dish Network feeds until 2016, when the two satellite providers dropped it, claiming they could no longer receive an off-air signal from WVPY.

Local programs[edit]

Virginia Farming, the only regular television program dedicated to Virginia's key economic engines, agriculture and the environment, is distributed to PBS stations in Virginia, West Virginia and on RFD-TV nationwide.

The Miller Center Forums, produced in conjunction with The University of Virginia's Miller Center for Public Affairs, as a series distributed nationwide to approximately 150 PBS stations.

Roadtrip to History is produced by Oaktree Productions and Executive Producer Wayne Bronson.


  1. ^ Staff. "Community Idea Stations, WVPT announce merger plan". The Daily Progress.
  2. ^ "Community Idea Stations changing name to VPM". The Daily Progress. July 30, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Renewal request for experimental license WVPT1-DT Archived 2009-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, a DTV booster station on Channel 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia
  4. ^ "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction — Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  5. ^ "Legal STA". Archived from the original on 2017-10-30. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  6. ^ "FCC Application No. BALEDT - 20171117AAS". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  7. ^ "FCC LMS Application No. 40570 (Legal STA)". enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  8. ^ "Harrisonburg Viewing Area Program Changes (WVPT and WVPY)". Community Idea Stations. Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation. 15 June 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Modification of a Licensed Facility for DTS Application". Archived from the original on 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  10. ^ "WVPT Schedule".
  11. ^ Bradshaw, Vic (15 November 2017). "WVPT Announces Merger". Daily News-Record.

External links[edit]

Query TV Fool's coverage map for WVPT

Query TV Fool's coverage map for WVPY