Luckily this is not another story about a student-run station being sold by its college. Instead, it’s about a public station being sold to another public radio group. WDUQ is Duquesne University’s public station in Pittsburgh, PA, airing much of the typical NPR news programming along with about 100 hours of jazz a week. Duquesne decided to sell the station over a year ago due to the station becoming largely independent from the university. In January a partnership between Pittsburgh noncommercial station WYEP–which airs an adult album alternative format–and Public Radio Capital agreed to buy WDUQ for $6 million. The partnership is called Essential Public Media
On Monday both parties signed a formal purchase agreement. Now the Richard King Mellon Foundation has agreed to kick in $1.5 million to the $6 million purchase. According to the WDUQ news blog Essential Media intends to take over operations of the station by July 1, whether or not FCC approval for the sale has been obtained.
While the station will remain a public one, Essential Public Media has not yet announced if or how WDUQ’s programming will change. A new group called Jazz Lives in Pittsburgh is lobbying for the station to continue airing a significant quantity of jazz.
While I tend to be a little concerned about consolidation of stations, even noncommercial ones, I prefer a public station to be sold to another public broadcasting entity rather than a religious broadcaster. Given the apparent support for jazz in Pittsburgh I hope that Essential Public Media will take that into strong consideration in programming the station.
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