MSU to partner with public television on programming

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Michigan State University has decided to keep its television station and plans to expand through a partnership with Detroit Public Television.

Officials from the university and the public television station announced in Detroit on Monday a collaboration they say will provide 24/7 programming for children and other viewers statewide.

“WKAR will continue to deliver PBS and locally produced programming,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a statement Monday.

“The locally produced programming will evolve over time, and our DPTV partnership will play a critical role in that evolution, particularly in the offerings for the children of mid-Michigan.”

Simon said the collaboration gives the East Lansing school “the opportunity to become a national model in providing quality educational content in public television.”

The new partnership comes as MSU leaders decide not to participate in the Federal Community Commission Broadcast Incentive Auction.

The university had until Tuesday to decide if it would auction its broadcast spectrum.

According to the FCC, the auction is designed to encourage licensees to “voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from an auction of new licenses to use the repurposed spectrum.”

The FCC valued WKAR-TV’s broadcast spectrum at about $206 million, according to the university.

Discussions regarding the auction helped MSU leaders see the “public media’s role at the university and for the state in a new way,” school officials said.

MSU will work with DPTV to develop more original educational content, officials said. The school said that more than 500,000 people connect to Detroit Public Television’s family programing.

Among the plans is to expand DPTV’s Pre-school U initiative, video-based classes that promote early learning and literacy for children younger than 5. MSU’s College of Education will work to expand content and seek research opportunities.

“This partnership provides Detroit Public Television with new opportunities to expand our work in the preschool space and provide parents and educators with more resources in learning,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of DPTV.

Plans are still in the early stages, MSU spokesman Jason Cody said Monday afternoon.

“There’s just so many opportunities,” he said.

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Associated Press contributed.