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(Redirected from WVPY)
Satellite of WCVE-TV, Richmond, Virginia
CityStaunton, Virginia
BrandingPBS VPM
Affiliations51.1: PBS
51.3: Create
51.4: PBS Kids
51.5: World Channel
OwnerVPM Media Corporation
First air date
September 9, 1968 (54 years ago) (1968-09-09)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog:
  • 51 (UHF, 1968–2009)
  • Digital:
  • 11 (VHF, until 2020)
NET (1968–1970)
Call sign meaning
Western Virginia Public Television
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID60111
ERP10 kW
195 kW (application)[1]
HAAT689 m (2,260 ft)
Transmitter coordinates38°9′54.4″N 79°18′50.1″W / 38.165111°N 79.313917°W / 38.165111; -79.313917
Public license information
Satellite of WCVW, Richmond, Virginia
  • New Market/Harrisonburg−
    Staunton, Virginia
  • United States
CityNew Market, Virginia
BrandingVPM Plus
OwnerVPM Media Corporation
First air date
August 22, 1996 (26 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)
  • Digital:
  • 21 (UHF, 2002–2018)
  • 42 (PSIP, 2002–2018)
  • 11 (VHF, 2018–2020)
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID66378
ERP10 kW
195 kW (application)[1]
HAAT689 m (2,260 ft)
Transmitter coordinates38°9′54.4″N 79°18′50.1″W / 38.165111°N 79.313917°W / 38.165111; -79.313917
Public license information

WVPT (channel 51) is a PBS member television station in Staunton, Virginia, United States, serving the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. It is a full-time satellite of Richmond-licensed WCVE-TV (channel 23) which is owned by the VPM Media Corporation. WVPT's offices are located in Harrisonburg near the campus of James Madison University, while its transmitter is located atop Elliott Knob west of Staunton; master control and most internal operations are based at WCVE-TV's studios at 23 Sesame Street in Bon Air, a suburb of Richmond.

WVPT operates a second station, WVPY, licensed to New Market, Virginia. WVPY was formerly a full-time satellite of WVPT 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 future sister station 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 (now VPM Media Corporation), owner of WCVE-TV, WCVW, WHTJ, WNVT, and WNVC.[2] The merger took effect on June 11, 2018. On August 5, 2019, CPBC rebranded all of its stations under the "VPM" banner (for Virginia Public Media), with WVPT becoming "VPM PBS" and WVPY becoming "VPM Plus".[3] Upon the rebranding, WVPT began simulcasting WCVE-TV.

Technical information[edit]


The stations' digital signals are multiplexed:


Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[4][5]
51.1 1080i 16:9 WVPT-HD Main WVPT programming / PBS
51.3 480i CREATE Create
51.5 WORLD World Channel (WNVT)


Channel Video Aspect Short name Programming[6][7]
51.2 1080i 16:9 WVPY-HD Main WVPY programming / PBS


During its days as a separately programmed PBS station, WVPT was the smallest PBS station licensed to Virginia. It primarily serves 22 counties and independent cities in Virginia and nine counties in West Virginia, one of the largest coverage areas in the PBS system. 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 HAAT
Charlottesville 37°59′0″N 78°29′1″W / 37.98333°N 78.48361°W / 37.98333; -78.48361 100 watts
15 kW (application)
333 m (1,093 ft)
Monterey 38°20′39.4″N 79°35′46.1″W / 38.344278°N 79.596139°W / 38.344278; -79.596139
38°36′3.9″N 79°18′50.1″W / 38.601083°N 79.313917°W / 38.601083; -79.313917 (CP)
8 watts
100 watts (CP)
470 m (1,542 ft)
583.84 m (1,915.49 ft) (CP)

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 12, virtual channel 51.1, and with the callsign WVPT1-DT.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10][11][12]

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.[13] After the transfer, WVPY moved its license to New Market, as it would not cover Front Royal at all from WVPT's transmitter site.[14] As it now covers exactly the same areas as WVPT over-the-air, WVPY relays the programming of WCVW on virtual channel 51.2.[15][16]

Cable and satellite availability[edit]

WVPT 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. For decades, it was available on Comcast cable in Charlottesville and central Virginia. However, it was never 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. With WVPT adopting the same schedule as WCVE/WHTJ, WVPT disappeared from cable systems in Charlottesville in the summer of 2019.

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.


  1. ^ a b c d WVPT Petition for Channel Change 5-27-21
  2. ^ Staff. "Community Idea Stations, WVPT announce merger plan". The Daily Progress.
  3. ^ "Community Idea Stations changing name to VPM". The Daily Progress. July 30, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "RabbitEars.Info".
  5. ^ "VPM TV Schedule | VPM".
  6. ^ "RabbitEars.Info".
  7. ^ "VPM TV Schedule | VPM".
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction — Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  10. ^ "Legal STA". Archived from the original on 2017-10-30. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  11. ^ "FCC Application No. BALEDT - 20171117AAS". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  12. ^ "FCC LMS Application No. 40570 (Legal STA)". enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "Modification of a Licensed Facility for DTS Application". Archived from the original on 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  15. ^ "WVPT Schedule".
  16. ^ Bradshaw, Vic (15 November 2017). "WVPT Announces Merger". Daily News-Record.

External links[edit]