DUQed Out by Duquesne

Current.org carried this post about the battle in Pittsburgh that’s heating up over what’s to become of their public radio station, and the introduction contains the name of a familiar co-conspirator in the controversy:

Pittsburgh’s NPR News and jazz music station WDUQ is to be sold for $6 million to a joint partnership of WYEP and Public Media Company, a new local ownership and operating entity established by Public Radio Capital.

The sales contract is half the price that the license-holder Duquesne University sought to earn when it put WDUQ on the market last year. “It’s a market issue,” said Dr. Charles Dougherty, president, during a Jan. 14 news conference.

The good doctor prescribed a plan of action for workers at the public radio station: suck it up.

The deal provides some accommodation for jazz music lovers, but officials at the news conference said programming decisions are yet to be made. “The framework is set, but specific format details haven’t been resolved,” said Marco Cardomone, chair of the WYEP Board. His station will retain and even “beef up” its Triple A music format, he said.

The contract establishes an employment and internship program for Duquesne students at the new station, but WDUQ managers and staff will lose their jobs when the sale closes. “We’ve informed them of this decision and are counting on their history of professionalism to see us through the transition,” Dougherty said, referring to the station’s staff.

One anonymous comment was none too pleased with the development:

All of this took place behind closed doors with no public input. The more experienced and competent group which had been doing news and public affairs programming, Pittsburgh Public Media, formed from those who had been employees of WDUQ were ousted, even with a higher bid by a station, WYEP, that really has no more experience in radio than assembling a AAA playlist and has shown very little interest in public affairs in the past. They probably got the nod because the President of Duquesne University, an ultra conservative Catholic, still held grudges with the existing WDUQ management and its rebirth as Pittsburgh Public Media because it once took an underwriting announcement from Planned Parenthood. This is far from being the best outcome for Pittsburgh and PRC enabled it.

Mmmm. Triple A playlists. Everybody’s favorite. Coming soon to a station near you. “Anonymous” also had this to say:

Not only did PRC enable it, they are looking to profit from it, at the community’s expense. It’s been a week, and there’s been no statements from anyone, other than the initial press conference. Why the secrecy? What is there to hide? Or hide from? A track record of declining revenues and increasing expenses over the last five years hardly suggests that WYEP is the right choice to shepherd the new operation. Yet, the university rejects a higher bid and selects this fledgling joint venture. All Pittsburghers can do is shake our heads and wonder why.


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