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WCTE Great TV Auction Starts Online Tuesday

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

For the first time in its 38-year history, WCTE’s Great TV Auction will be both online and over the air.

With 128 volunteers nightly, the public television station could not go as normal with this year’s auction. WCTE’s Event and Engagement Coordinator Sam Gray said people can begin bidding online on Tuesday.

“Everyone can register and start bidding on items online,” Gray said. “Then the following week, June 3 through June 7, everyone will be able to tune in on live television to see all of the items that everyone’s been bidding on. We’ll be closing each one of those boards with a lot of items that night.”

The Great TV Auction is WCTE’s longest-running and largest fundraiser. It raises over $100,000 dollars annually for production of local content for the public television station. Making changes to that kind of event were difficult. But Gray said COVID-19 made it a necessity.

“Obviously with the COVID-19 pandemic, safety was our number one priority,” Gray said. “We wanted to make sure to keep our volunteers safe.”

Grey said the auction is critical for WCTE’s ability to create local broadcasts.

“Most of the funds we raise from this one event goes toward making independent productions,” Gray said. “The most recent one we have going on is about the tornadoes. It’s a documentary series about the tornadoes that came through Putnam County. That wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the funds we make from this auction.”

Gray said he doesn’t look at the changes as a challenge. Instead, he sees them as an opportunity to integrate more technology.

“It’s definitely different than what everyone is used to,” Gray said. “In the past, everyone has been used to calling in to put a bid on live television. For this year we are not going to have a phone bank. Instead, if anyone wants to bid on an item, you have to go to the website and bid virtually.”

The Great TV Auction begins it’s online portion on May 26. Nightly broadcasts run June 3-June 7 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Something that Gray said he likes about the auction is the rush from the fast-paced activities.

“What I love the most about the auction is all the moving parts that have to go into it,” Gray said. “Then, when it actually comes time for the live production, I love the fast-pace of it. Everything has to be done fast on a live television production.”

You can find more information on WCTE’s Great TV Auction website at


The post WCTE Great TV Auction Starts Online Tuesday appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.