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Chicago’s Radio Arte to Be Sold to Chicago Public Media

Radio Arte's Youth Media Programs

Radio Arte's Youth Media Programs

Chicago’s Radio Arte (WRTE 90.5 FM) will be sold to Chicago Public Media as part of a $450,000 deal that includes both cash compensation ($300,000 purchase price, plus $50,000 in additional consideration) and $100,000 worth of underwriting announcements.

The National Museum of Mexican Art, which owns the class D FM station WRTE, also stipulated that the station’s transmission site be moved to the Chicago campus of University of Illinois.

As Paul Riismandel wrote last May, Radio Arte, a community radio station focused on Latino youth, went up for sale in 2011 after dealing with financial struggles.

As part of this purchase, Chicago Public Media says that it hopes to incorporate programming from Radio Arte into its lineup at WBEW 89.5 Vocalo. Vocalo is also a youth-oriented station which initially began as an experiment with user-generated programming. Today Vocalo airs a mix of music (from hip hop to indie music), talk, and stories. On Friday nights the station broadcasts a DJ-specific show featuring “a collective of local, national & international DJs, producers & audio artists.”

According to a statement by Chicago Public Media,

“As part of the partnership, CPM is also pursuing options to purchase key programs from the Radio Arte line-up to expand programming of WBEW 89.5 FM (Vocalo), sister station of WBEZ. This partnership between two youth-driven public radio stations builds on a collaborative history and their complementary community missions.”

Chicago Public Media’s press release also included the following statement from Radio Arte’s general manager:

“Jorge Valdivia, general manager of Radio Arte, says the partnership will continue the Radio Arte legacy, building on the Latino media community that his program has worked to establish. ‘Vocalo will be able to tap the Museum’s network of students for potential internships, continuing their media training and giving them an expanded audience for their work through Chicago Public Media.”

A unique aspect of Radio Arte was that it provided radio training for young people, including a summer camp focused on community journalism and documentary practices. It’s unclear if those programs will continue under the ownership of Chicago Public Media. According to the Radio Arte website, in addition to providing training to youth, another part of the station’s mission was to create “programming that showcases music, issues, and events that are not featured prominently by mainstream media.” The station also plays a mix of Latin Alternative and urban music.

Chicago Public Media also owns public radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM and produces This American Life, Sound Opinions, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (along with NPR).

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