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Liberty Journal

Liberty acquires local full-power TV station

Winter/Spring 2014 : By Drew Menard

LFSN staff produces a Flames basketball game.Liberty University has reached an agreement to acquire a full-power television station licensed to nearby Danville, Va. Dubbed the New WTLU24, the station will take Liberty’s programming to the next level and begin producing original content — news, talk, sports, and weather — to run 24 hours a day.

“Putting a full-power TV station on the air that covers this entire Roanoke/Lynchburg/Danville market is a natural extension of our Liberty brand,” said Dr. Norman Mintle, dean of Liberty’s School of Communication & Creative Arts. “This 24/7 broadcast facility will provide a unique and much needed informational service to the citizens of our area, as well as one of the greatest real-world laboratories for our students. From graphic designers to on-air reporters, from producers to directors, and from behind-the-camera crew to advertising and public relations specialists, we expect the New WTLU24 to bless everyone involved.”

The station reaches approximately 440,000 households. Its Central Virginia footprint includes Lynchburg, Roanoke, Bedford, and Forest to the north, and stretches south into parts of North Carolina. It is designated by the Federal Communications Commission as a “must carry,” meaning that every cable and satellite outlet must provide it to every home in the market. Because of its proximity to Liberty, the FCC has allowed the station to be run remotely from campus.

The station will be staffed by industry professionals who will work alongside students to create programming.

“We are bringing in world-class professional talent to work with our students and create the best product we can possibly put out,” Mintle said. “Our programming format will follow the model of a station in the Tampa market, Bay News9. They built what is now the powerhouse station there slowly and carefully. We’ll grow into a major broadcaster in our market. Eventually, we’ll add appropriate original programs that fit the news/weather/sports/talk concept, promoting the great variety of expertise we have on our campus.”

The closing date of the purchase is pending confirmation of antenna locations.

Liberty has an existing low-power TV station, WTLU, The Liberty Channel, which is available on Lynchburg, Va.-area cable packages with Comcast (Channel 10) and Shentel (Channel 12). It is available digitally on Channels 43.1 and 43.2 and can be viewed nationally through Sky Angel IPTV (Channel 132). There is also a live Web stream at www.LibertyChannel.com and on the Liberty Today mobile app, a free download for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices as well as iPad, Kindle, and other leading tablet brands. The Liberty Channel features family-friendly programming, concerts, and church services, and airs Liberty Flames Sports Network broadcasts and other campus programs such as Convocation.