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WVPT: Staunton/Harrisonburg, Virginia
WVPY: Front Royal/Winchester, Virginia
United States
Channels Digital:
WVPT: 11 (VHF)
WVPY: 21 (UHF)
Subchannels 51.1/42.1 PBS
51.2/42.2 Create
51.3/42.3 World[1]
Affiliations PBS (1970–present)
Owner Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation
(merger with Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation pending)
First air date WVPT: September 9, 1968; 49 years ago (1968-09-09)
WVPY: August 22, 1996; 21 years ago (1996-08-22)
Call letters' meaning Western
Former channel number(s) WVPT:
51 (UHF analog, 1968–2009)
42 (UHF analog, 1996–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1968–1970)
Transmitter power

3.2 kW (digital)

50 kW (digital)

680 m (digital)

400 m (digital)
Facility ID WVPT: 60111
WVPY: 66378
Transmitter coordinates WVPT:
38°9′54″N 79°18′51″W / 38.16500°N 79.31417°W / 38.16500; -79.31417
38°57′36″N 78°19′52″W / 38.96000°N 78.33111°W / 38.96000; -78.33111 (WVPY)
Website www.wvpt.net

WVPT is a public television station in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It is the PBS member station for the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. The station is licensed to Staunton, and is located in Harrisonburg. Owned by Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation, it broadcasts a digital signal on channel 11 (redirecting to former analog channel 51 via PSIP) from a transmitter in central Augusta County, Virginia.

WVPT operates a full-time satellite, WVPY in Front Royal, which serves Winchester and the upper Shenandoah Valley. It broadcasts on digital channel 21 (virtual channel 42) from a transmitter in northern Warren County.

WVPT signed on for the first time on September 9, 1968 and is the third-oldest educational station in Virginia, behind Hampton Roads' WHRO-TV and Richmond's WCVE-TV. WVPY was added in 1996. It also doubled as the default PBS station for Charlottesville (by way of two translators in the area) until WCVE signed on WHTJ as a satellite.

WVPY is available over-the-air in large portions of the Virginia and West Virginia portions of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; Front Royal is part of the Washington market. WVPT is available on cable in Lynchburg. Additionally, the station is carried on the Harrisonburg DirecTV and Dish Network feed. By way of WVPY, it was available on the Washington DirecTV and Dish Network feeds until 2016, when the two satellite providers dropped it; they claimed they could no longer receive an off-air signal from WVPY. While it is available on Comcast's digital cable tier in Charlottesville and central Virginia, it is not carried on satellite there; U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules do not allow a station to be uplinked unless it has a full-power station licensed in the market.

On October 1, 2001, WVPT started broadcasting in Digital with WVPY following in October 2002, HD.

In November 2017, Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation agreed to merge into Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation. As a result, WVPT and WVPY will come under common ownership with WCVE-TV, WCVW, and WHTJ during early 2018.[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. As a result, it operates several translators and a digital distributed transmission system.

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

Community Transmitter location Digi.
WVPT Staunton:
Charlottesville 37°59′0″N 78°29′2″W / 37.98333°N 78.48389°W / 37.98333; -78.48389 40 watts, VHF 11
Monterey 38°20′39″N 79°35′47″W / 38.34417°N 79.59639°W / 38.34417; -79.59639 8 watts, VHF 11
WVPY Front Royal:
Fulks Run 38°36′31″N 78°54′7″W / 38.60861°N 78.90194°W / 38.60861; -78.90194 100 watts, UHF 21
Luray 38°36′5″N 78°37′57″W / 38.60139°N 78.63250°W / 38.60139; -78.63250 100 watts, UHF 21
Ruckersville 38°28′43″N 78°24′58″W / 38.47861°N 78.41611°W / 38.47861; -78.41611 500 watts, UHF 21

The station's distributed transmission system allows the translators to rebroadcast digitally on the same frequencies as the parent stations under an experimental license. For instance, WVPT can be seen digitally as WVPT1-DT Charlottesville on VHF channel 11, virtual channel 51.1 (same channels as WVPT-DT).[3]

Communities listed above are as they appear on the NTSC-M broadcast translator licences on the FCC database. For synchronised on-channel digital transmitters used to provide "fill-in" distributed transmission system coverage, content is bitwise-identical to the main signal and the legal city of license is that of the respective main station. Digital DTS callsigns are based on those of the respective main stations, suffixed with a sequential number.

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 are to go off the air by April 23, 2018, but the main transmitter is allowed to continue over-the-air operations by sharing the channel of another station. WVPY received a three-month extension of the original January 23, 2018 deadline as it had difficulty finding a channel-sharing partner.[5][6] As WVPY is the only full-powered station in Front Royal or Winchester, there are no potential partners in the immediate area. The closest full-powered stations are Martinsburg, West Virginia's WWPX-TV, thirty-five miles to the north, and Harrisonburg's WHSV-TV, thirty miles to the south. Low-powered Class A station WAZT-CD is the only other station to broadcast from WVPY's current transmitter location at Signal Knob.[7]

On January 23, 2018, SVETC informed the FCC that it had found an unnamed channel-sharing partner for WVPY and requested an additional 90-day extension to complete negotiations, which was granted and pushes its off-air deadline to July 22, 2018.[8]

Local programs[edit]

Virginia Farming - the only regular television program dedicated to Virginia's key economic engines, agriculture and the environment. It 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. The series is distributed nationwide to approximately 150 PBS stations.

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


  1. ^ WVPT digital channel lineup, WVPT Virginia Public Television, 2008
  2. ^ Staff. "Community Idea Stations, WVPT announce merger plan". The Daily Progress. 
  3. ^ Renewal request for experimental license WVPT1-DT, a DTV booster station on Channel 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia
  4. ^ FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction — Auction 1001 Winning Bids
  5. ^ "Legal STA". 
  6. ^ "FCC Application No. BALEDT - 20171117AAS". Federal Communications Commission. 
  7. ^ "Signal Knob (VA) TV Stations". RabbitEars.info. 
  8. ^ "FCC LMS Application No. 40570 (Legal STA)". enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov. 

External links[edit]