In its first year under CPCC, losses widened, and an audit presented to the college’s board of trustees last month said it will likely be at least three years before the station quits losing money.
At the time of the July 2012 takeover, WTVI was reporting annual losses of about $377,000. In the fiscal year ending July 2013, losses tripled to $1.1 million. Much of the increase was due to consolidation with CPCC’s longtime cable operation – Channel 17, carried by Time Warner Cable – and higher fees paid to PBS to get top-tier programming, hits such as “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock.”
But excluding those two costs, the station still finished its first year under CPCC with a deficit of about $550,000.
“We knew it would be three to five years to get on firm financial footing,” said Jeff Lowrance, special assistant to Zeiss. “We expect the station to be self-supporting and we’re going to get there.”
Why again does WTVI still exist? And what does it offer — or can it offer — to offset those loses given its scant audience and the huge variety of television options available on cable/satellite television?