WVPT Settles In To New Home

Posted: May 5, 2014

Eddie Edwards Signs’ employees install the WVPT sign at its new location, 847 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Thursday morning. The public TV station moved last week from its Port Republic Road location, which JMU purchased. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)

HARRISONBURG — WVPT beat the rush out of James Madison University’s campus.

The public television station this week moved from its longtime home at JMU’s Port Republic Road entrance to the Copperstone Office Complex at 847 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

“It’s like one person moving,” President and General Manager David Mullins said, “but on a little bit larger scale.”

JMU, which will hold its commencement ceremony (and annual exodus) next Friday, purchased the Port Republic building for $2.35 million in October and will use it for academic purposes. WVPT opened there in 1968 to serve the Shenandoah Valley and central Virginia.

While owning the building, the station leased the land on which the facility sits from JMU, and it will still lease space there for its transmitter because it is outsourcing its broadcast operations equipment.

Because of the outsourcing, the station’s new location is smaller.

But to viewers, nothing changes. And the WVPT product, Mullins said, should even improve because of new equipment enabling high-definition programming at the Copperstone site.

The location will have a studio and community room, like the old building. WVPT plans to add technology that will allow off-site production of shows, such as filming the Regional Spelling Bee at a school instead of the studio.

A formal opening is planned this summer. The station employs 15 people and operates on a $2.2 million budget, about half of which comes from viewer contributions and other nongovernment sources.

“I think we’re all excited about the new beginning,” Mullins said.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or pknight@dnronline.com

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