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On air sign on door to on-air studio at college radio station WVCW. Photo: J. Waits

WBRU License Expected to be Sold to Christian Radio Group EMF

Rumors have been circulating for awhile that the 95.5 FM license for commercial radio station WBRU at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island was up for sale and just last month there was speculation that an announcement would be coming soon. Over the weekend, Providence Journal reported that WBRU was selling its license to Christian radio network EMF, which operates K-LOVE and Air1 on radio outlets all over the country. Call letters are expected to change, with WBRU’s content moving online.

A statement on the WBRU website reads in part:

WBRU is not going away. While we are currently in the final stages of selling its FM broadcasting license, we have big plans. We are going to reinvest the revenue from the sale to continue creating music and news content for the southern New England community. This will be provided on various platforms—platforms that millions of people already use to access their music and news content in the car, on their phones and computers, and on home streaming devices.

Before we leave 95.5, 24/7 streams of both alternative rock and The 360 Degree Experience in Sound will be available at wbru.com and via our new smartphone apps. This marks the first time that either format has been available seven-days-a-week from WBRU.

Our mission statement directs us to be a self-supporting educational workshop focused on creating and distributing music-centric entertainment and news content. It is with serious consideration for this mission that we take this next step. With technologies and media habits changing so rapidly, we want to channel our energy and resources into creating a content-based media workshop with an eye towards innovation. WBRU has a storied history as a leader in innovation. We were one of the country’s first college radio stations and one of the first college stations to acquire a commercial FM license—before it was a popular platform. We were also among the first stations to stream on the Internet. It is with the same entrepreneurial spirit that we’re moving forward.”

Changes to WBRU will be coming soon, as station tweets and Facebook posts today indicate that programming will be moving off of FM by next week. WBRU wrote on Twitter, “It’s a big week for us… our last week at 95.5!” and said on Facebook, “This is a big week in WBRU history… it’s our last week on air before we switch to broadcasting online and on our soon-to-be-launched mobile app!”

WBRU’s license holder Brown Broadcasting Service operates independently of Brown University, although WBRU is managed by Brown University students.


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