WTVI Returns to Full-PBS Schedule

last modified Oct 02, 2012 04:11 PM

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) will take newly acquired WTVI back to a full daytime and primetime schedule of PBS programming starting today. Since 2005, WTVI’s primetime programming has been about 25-percent PBS. In addition, the station now will devote Thursday evenings to a primetime lineup of locally produced shows. To signal the new direction of the station, CPCC also unveiled a new name and logo for the station – WTVI-PBS Charlotte – during a morning media briefing

In late 2011, Mecklenburg County commissioners and other community leaders approached CPCC about the station, which had fallen on hard times and would likely go dark by mid-2012. In March, CPCC presented a proposal to the county commission for acquiring the station. The commissioners approved the proposal, and on July 1, WTVI became part of CPCC. On July 3, the FCC license under which WTVI can broadcast was transferred to CPCC. Since July, CPCC has worked to build a single integrated team, combining the WTVI staff members with the college’s CPCC-TV members. Today, the college has a TV operation of 22 full-time people.

“As part of our transition process we conducted a survey of WTVI members and community members from across Mecklenburg County,” explained Jeff Lowrance, CPCC public information officer. “Almost 400 people responded to our questions about current programming and what kinds of shows they would like added to the regular schedule. Most of all, viewers told us they wanted to see more PBS programming, shows like ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Sherlock’ and more shows with a local focus, such as local history and cooking.”

To differentiate WTVI as Charlotte’s PBS station, Thursday evenings will feature one-of-a-kind, local shows, produced by PBS Charlotte staff. According to Lowrance, most of the Thursday night shows originated at the college as part of the CPCC-TV lineup. These include “Trail of History,” “Charlotte Cooks,” “Great Ideas” and “Inside Jobs.” The station will continue its tradition of featuring documentaries produced by local film makers. These will debut on Thursday evenings as well. In addition, the station will maintain its collaboration on shows like “Carolina Business Review,” “United Way & You,” and the League of Women Voters candidate debates.

“These programming changes are a direct response to what local viewers said they wanted to see,” Lowrance said. “We also want to capitalize on the respected PBS brand and the high-quality programming loved and trusted by millions of viewers. We think this combination of strong PBS programming, plus our in-house local shows gives the station the greatest opportunity to serve the Charlotte region and be successful.”

Joining in the CPCC announcement, Lesli Rotenberg, PBS senior vice president of children's media, marketing and communications, expressed the national network’s pleasure in maintaining a strong presence in the Charlotte market.

“We’re thankful Central Piedmont Community College and the Mecklenburg County Commission have come together to ensure the people of Charlotte continue to benefit from the full range of high-quality PBS content and services,” Rotenberg said. “We look forward to working with CPCC and PBS Charlotte to offer the very best of national and locally produced content to Charlotte-area viewers.”

The new PBS Charlotte logo will debut on the station Oct. 1 and be seen on promotional ads during October and November.

Starting Oct. 4, the Thursday night local lineup on PBS Charlotte will include:

8 p.m. – Trail of History

8:30 p.m. – Charlotte Cooks

9 p.m. – Inside Jobs or Great Ideas

9:30 p.m. – Local Documentaries

10 p.m. – Charlotte Arts

10:30 p.m. – Alumni Success or Charlotte a City of International Success

PBS Charlotte will revive the local reporters’ roundtable show concept on Friday evenings at 9:30 with “Off the Record,” starting Oct. 5. Upcoming election 2012 coverage will include:

Oct. 3 Presidential Debate at 9 p.m.

Oct. 11 Vice Presidential Debate at 9 p.m.

Oct. 21 Mecklenburg County league of Women Voters Debates from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies.