FCC Spectrum Auction Proceeds Fund PBS39 Growth
$82 Million to Fuel Station Upgrades, Expand Educational Programming, Original Content and Community Outreach; PBS39 Celebrates 50th Anniversary Year
Bethlehem, Pa. — April 13, 2017 —PBS39, the community-owned public television station serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, announced today that proceeds from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadcast Incentive Auction for broadcast spectrum will allow the station to expand its programming and community outreach. The successful bid in the FCC auction for broadcast spectrum resulted in total station revenue of $82 million.
“This is an exciting moment in the history of PBS39 as we celebrate our 50th year,” said Tim Fallon, CEO of PBS39. “These funds will help ensure we continue to serve the Greater Lehigh Valley for decades to come.”
PBS39 has worked hard to continue its mission under an annual operating budget that is 30 percent less than 10 years ago, in large part because of reduced state funding. Auction proceeds could now be used to upgrade the station’s on-air and digital capabilities, enhance local educational outreach initiatives, and increase the production of original content created specifically for the Greater Lehigh Valley. While the station will continue to rely on philanthropic members of the community and public funding to directly support new programming, the proceeds will strengthen the station’s financial footing, which is critically needed to support its mission.
“This is a great result for the station and our region at a time when educational public media is needed more than ever,” said David Willard, Chair of the PBS39 Board of Directors. “Our board is committed to ensuring these funds help us better fulfill our mission and bolster our endowment.”
“PBS39 has been delivering educational programming on-air, online, and in communities throughout eastern Pennsylvania for 50 years. PBS39’s mission has always been to create content that benefits the community,” said Representative Charlie Dent (R – PA). “These proceeds will provide an incredible opportunity for the entire Lehigh Valley community by allowing PBS39 to support its wide range of initiatives and further its educational mission.”
In January, PBS39 unveiled its new strategic plan, WLVT 3.0, to increase educational outreach efforts, community partnerships and local programming through multiple digital platforms. The new strategic plan provides direction for PBS39 to engage appropriate partners in transformative, collective impact initiatives that affect the majority of the Lehigh Valley in areas such as education, arts and culture, health, economic development and civic responsibility.
To demonstrate its commitment to the community, PBS39 will provide PBS LearningMedia free of charge to all of the 32 school districts it serves in its Education Consortium. PBS LearningMedia provides PreK-12 educators with access to high quality digital content and professional development opportunities designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
“Technology has shifted the media landscape in considerable ways and PBS39 will continue to change along with it,” said Tim Fallon. “What hasn’t changed is our mission and commitment to our community. PBS39 will educate, inform and convene the community around important issues by producing relevant, engaging, local content, while optimizing the use of its facilities by the public. In doing so, we will strengthen ongoing community initiatives and assist in creating a more vibrant region for the residents of the Greater Lehigh Valley.”
The sale of a portion of the broadcast spectrum will have no impact on most PBS39 viewers and the station is committed to ensuring a seamless transition. Those with cable television or satellite will see no change, while those who receive PBS39 over the air will need to complete a simple rescan on their television to receive the new channel assignment.
PBS39 is a community-owned public television station licensed to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Pa., serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. PBS39 is owned and operated by the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation. PBS39 acts as the catalyst to promote civic engagement, and to fulfill the regional needs of the Greater Lehigh Valley through its dynamic communication platforms and resources. For more information, visit wlvt.org.
About the FCC Broadcast Spectrum Incentive Auction
To help fulfill our country’s increasing demand for wireless broadband access, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reallocated a portion of broadcast spectrum used by television stations and made it available for use by wireless carriers. In many parts of the country, spectrum can be freed up by reorganizing, or repacking, the channels to which television broadcasters are currently assigned. However, in some areas, including some densely-populated areas, the FCC needed to buy spectrum before reallocating it.
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