Under Pressure

College radio is in turmoil now, with administrators looking to cash in their few remaining chips “for the good of the students.” Jack Hannold sent along this item:

From http://www.radio-info.com/newsletter/html/tri-01212011.html this morning:

More K-Love ahead? Morehead State Public Radio is selling off one of its two full-power FMs, and the outfit that’s buying WOCS, Lerose, Kentucky (88.3) owns another FM that runs the national “K-Love” contemporary Christian feed. That’s going to be a change for listeners to the ten-year-old WOCS. It’s been simulcasting news/variety WMKY in Morehead, based at the campus of Morehead State University. Now the school’s selling the Class A WOCS, about 80 miles south of Morehead. Beattyville-based Hour of Harvest Inc. is getting WOCS for $70,000, and will presumably flip it to a religious format. It’s doing “K-Love” on its WLJC (102.1), and it also does religious programming on its WLJC-TV, affiliated with the Trinity Broadcasting Network. As for Morehead State, it’s still got an 88.3 signal elsewhere in the state — FM translator W202BH in Inez, in Martin County southeast of Morehead.

And this news out of Kentucky, where the university plays consolidator:

After 64 years of broadcasting in Middletown, WPFB-FM will drop local programming as part of a $6.7 million station takeover.

The Northern Kentucky University public radio station, WNKU-FM, announced an agreement Wednesday to acquire WPFB (105.9 and 910-AM) and WPAY-FM (104.1) in Portsmouth, Ohio. WNKU will simulcast its current broadcast format on the Middletown and Portsmouth stations effective Feb. 1. There are no plans to keep local sports broadcasting after the switch-over, said Chuck Miller, WNKU general manager.

And here’s the news out of Pittsburgh, where the locals are wondering what will become of the programming on their public radio station. Note the omnipresence of matchmaker Public Radio Capital in the acquisition:

Essential Public Media is buying WDUQ from Duquesne University for $6 million. While Essential Public Media is committed to preserving the station as a public radio station, listeners are already wondering what the new 90.5 might be.

Essential Public Media is a joint venture between two organizations — one local, one out of town: adult alternative station WYEP-FM (91.3) and Boulder, Colo.-based Public Media Co., a new nonprofit launched by Public Radio Capital, whose mission is to build and preserve public media….

[W]hat the role of jazz will be on the new station remains to be seen. The nuts and bolts of the programming haven’t been crafted yet, said WYEP general manager Lee Ferraro. “It’s really early to say anything” about specific programming plans.Pittsburgh Public Media, the other bidder in the sale made up of a group of WDUQ staff members and community and business leaders to raise funds for the license, will be watching the process carefully. It is committed to preserving the current mix of jazz and news programming.

“We are … proud of the public voices PPM helped foster throughout the media that clearly stated the absolute necessity of local news reporting and the continuation of Pittsburgh’s musical heritage, jazz,” PPM said in a statement issued Monday. “We wish the best for WYEP and its partners, and we hope that they recognize and see the value of the talented and dedicated staff of the existing 90.5FM.”

PPM isn’t going to disappear.

“We really focused on keeping the public involved in public radio. [WDUQ] belongs to the 200,000 listeners. This is their station,” said PPM board chair Joseph Kelly. “We’ll be watching this deal. The community voice of the station should not be lost.”

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One Response

  1. Yikes. How can the FCC let all of these locally-owned and operated stations get killed off? It’s a disturbing trend.

    And, as I discovered yesterday, Public Radio Capital is also a part of Classical Public Radio Network (which is proposing the purchase of KUSF and KNDL).

    http://www.radiosurvivor.com/2011/01/23/kusf-djs-and-fans-gear-up-to-fight-proposed-college-radio-station-sale-while-ownership-details-for-classical-public-radio-emerge/

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