Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

WHYY cuts TV news, annoys Gov; 2 stations move East

A Wyoming TV station is moving to Wilmington, as WHYY 12 upsets its host-state governor by axing its news program

WHYY cuts TV news, annoys Gov; 2 stations move East

General Motors will close its plant near Wilmington, Del., idling the region´s last 450 auto workers. (Michael Wirtz / Staff Photographer)
General Motors will close its plant near Wilmington, Del., idling the region's last 450 auto workers. (Michael Wirtz / Staff Photographer)

 
"Two small television stations have notified the FCC that they prefer... Delaware and New Jersey... to the wide open spaces of Nevada and Wyoming... PMCM TV, LLC, a company privately owned by a group of radio (and former TV) operators from New Jersey, has notified the Commission that PMCM is agreeable to moving its two TV stations – KVNV, Ely, Nevada, and KJWY, Jackson, Wyoming – to Middletown Township [Monmouth County], New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware, respectively." Story on CommLawBlog here.

That'll be little Delaware's first VHF station (in years. See Comments) Unless you count WHYY Channel 12, which is licensed in Wilmington but run from its Independence Mall offices in Philadelphia.

If it goes thru, the switch may be timely: WHYY is cancelling its 46-year-old "Delaware Tonight" news broadcast because nobody's watching and everything's going online. Can they do that? Warns Delaware Gov. Jack Markell darkly, "WHYY's decision to leave the daily airwaves leaves a critical hole for viewers and raises significant questions about their committment to Delaware, which is where their FCC license is granted."

Eight more WHYY staff will lose their jobs. Inquirer story here. WHYY is selling its Wilmington building and closing its two-year-old Dover bureau, reports the News Journal here

The Wilmington paper's grouchy columnist, Ron Williams, has been attacking WHYY's state subsidies: "Stop funding the so-called Delaware public television station, WHYY [DE gave $500K last year], unless it changes its reach into Delaware. Pennsylvania contributes another $1.6 million, which as best as I can tell is even more a waste of money for Philadelphia than Delaware when it comes to programming. That amount is surely going to be cut this year by Pennsylvania legislators.

"WHYY has become a joke... I quit contributing when I realized that the station's idea of programming was offering day-old sports scores... That's not a television station. That's called keeping the FCC happy with your federal license requirements so the CEO of WHYY, Bill Marrazzo, can continue to rake in $430,000-plus a year, the highest PBS salary in the country." WHYY's Nancy Karabjanian squawks back here

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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