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Fate Of WTVI Goes To Meck County Commissioners Tonight

The fate of Charlotte public television station WTVI is on the Mecklenburg County Commission agenda tonight. WTVI says it will fold by the end of June unless the county allocates $1.15 million to help the station merge with CPCC. WTVI has struggled for the last several years to get its financial footing. The latest plan is to have CPCC take over the station's license and eliminate some overhead costs. Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones says WTVI's "business model is not sustainable" and that a merger with CPCC would not guarantee security for the station. Mecklenburg County owns WTVI's building and has long subsidized the station's operations, but two years ago commissioners cut that funding. CPCC President Tony Zeiss told commissioners last week that WTVI would no longer need county money after the initial years of a merger. In the short-term, WTVI and CPCC are asking for just over $1 million to replace equipment and pay severance to station employees, plus permission to keep $5 million in capital funding the county promised CPCC for the purpose of creating a TV studio on campus. CPCC would no longer need to build that studio if it acquires WTVI, but wants the money anyway. For 47 years, WTVI has provided a mix of local public television programs, but struggled to compete with the statewide reach of other public stations in North and South Carolina.