Public TV station being foreclosed?

Let me get this straight… The nation’s mortgage crisis is affecting public TV stations as well?

PBS station WTVP in Peoria is battling with two banks over the station’s $6.9 million debt, and a $4 million offer to settle the debt was recently rejected. The station may ask the banks for another period of forbearance.

The station took out loans so it would move from Bradley University to a new building on Peoria’s riverfront, and the upcoming conversion to digital. WTVP has taken to its viewers through pledge drives to help save the station – but it will only be paid if the station can come to a deal with the banks.

With the forbearance deadline (January 15) passed, it doesn’t mean that the station will have to close immediately. However, up to 40 full and part-time jobs at the station are in limbo.

Meanwhile, Bank of America – one of the banks WTVP is battling – is set to file papers tomorrow to take over the assets of the station. That includes the physical building and equipment, but not the station’s broadcast license.