WTVP - President & CEO
June 2014 - Retirement, WQPT, and FCC
Photo of WTVP Retired CEO MChet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk - President & CEO, (retired 2014)

Sometimes I muse over the craziest things, like who are the best non-people spokespeople and if WTVP had an animal spokesperson what would it be?

The Chun-King dragon (showing my age), Morris the Cat, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, Charlie the Tuna (Sorry, Charlie), Tony the Tiger, and, of course, the Gecko are all taken. Then it hit me: with all the changes that are afoot here at WTVP, our spokes-animal could be a chameleon.

One major change in store for WTVP is new management. I will be retiring at the end of August, and a search is underway for a new CEO who will oversee both WTVP and the WILL stations in Urbana for at least the next three years.

Another change is one that won't be readily visible to many people. WTVP will be taking over master control operations for WQPT, our sister public television station in the Quad Cities. This is all back room technology kind of stuff, and it means that we will take signals from various satellites and other program sources and sending them on fiber the WQPT's transmitter in Orion. This saves some money for them, and it makes a bit for us.

Our joint relationship with WILL continues to evolve with the goal of providing new and exciting local and regional content for both stations at an economical cost. We experimented with some joint fundraising over the last year, and over the coming year we will do more with staff and technology sharing to better serve audiences in Central Illinois.

One change on the horizon that has us concerned is the Federal Communications Commission's desire to "repack" the television spectrum over the next few years. In plain English, they want to make much more of the electromagnetic spectrum available for wireless device usage (think cell phones, iPads, garage door openers, etc.). To do that, the plan is to take the stations broadcasting in frequencies above a certain channel number (channel 30 or 31, it appears) and move them - or repack them - to lower channel numbers. So yes, WTVP Channel 47 is well above channel 31 and will be forced to move at some point. For you, it will just mean doing another channel reset on your TV. For WTVP, it will mean a new transmitter, a new wave guide, a new antenna, and perhaps a new tower at a cost estimated at near $2,000,000. The Fed has budgeted some money to compensate the expense, but based on the number of stations nationally that will have to move, the amount set aside is likely to be insufficient. Color my chameleon red with anger - and green with envy - over the stations that won't have to move.

Despite all the change, I am happy to report that the high quality of programming you expect from Public Television will remain. The titles may change from year to year, but you can still expect to see the best television on television on WTVP. Thank you for making that possible.

Chet Tomczyk
President & CEO, WTVP (Retired 2014)

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