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Mellon Foundation kicking in a grant to buy Duquense University’s WDUQ

WDUQ LogoLuckily 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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2 Responses to Mellon Foundation kicking in a grant to buy Duquense University’s WDUQ

  1. Rich Funwela May 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    May 25, 2011

    I just heard that the Jazz format has essentially been dropped (one night a week, Saturday nights, is lip-service). Very very very disappointing. Without an agreement to maintain the Jazz format, Duquesne University wrote us Jazz fans off when they sold the station…….I and many other Pittsburghers, as well as the audience throughout the listening area will certainly be unhappy. As a Duquesne University alumni, I am very sorry that this sale went through.


    Rich Funwela

  2. Donna M. Allen June 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    I feel so betrayed, angry, and upset by this slap in the face by what is essentially almost a complete cancellation of jazz programs. I consider myself a news junky, but I also LOVE jazz as I think do many others not only in Pittsburgh but the whole W PA. There is not even the slightest compromise or regard for the WDUQ audience with this programming decision. If the WYEP management was so strong for news programs, then why has that station’s news coverage been so skimpy over the years and DEFINATELY far less than WDUQ’s current level?

    I have been a member for nearly 20 years and a sustaining member in recent years, but that will definately be ending if there isn’t a better compromise in their current programming decision!


    Donna Allen

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