The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, The Richard King Mellon Foundation and an anonymous foundation have decided to end a 60-day option on the license to broadcast at 90.5 FM in Pittsburgh nearly a month early. The foundations purchased the option in May from Duquesne University and it was to expire over the 4th of July weekend. A statement from The Heinz Endowments read in part, “The group worked hard for a month to determine how the radio station would add value to the original project in relation to the cost. What we in the foundations group have determined is that we are not enough along in that analysis and in our solicitation of community input, and will not be by July 2.” In published reports and in an interview with WDUQ, representatives of the foundation effort said the group was looking to find ways to grow journalism in the region at a time when many news outlets are facing financial difficulties.
A group of community leaders and WDUQ FM management has formed the nonprofit “Pittsburgh Public Media” in an effort to build the support needed to purchase the license from Duquesne University. That group plans to preserve the News, Jazz and NPR format currently aired on 90.5 FM. Pittsburgh Public Media submitted a bid to the university earlier this year but it was rejected. A second bid was submitted but the has not yet been acted upon by Duquesne’s board. A spokeswoman for the school told the Tribune Review that the university does not plan to act on that bid until July. Pittsburgh Public Media Co-Chair Joe Kelly says his group is working to strengthen the bid and is looking forward to working with the Duquesne University going forward. The second bid submitted by PPM carried with it a one-week deadline for the university to respond. Kelly says when the university decides to reopen the bidding process in July, “We may learn whether it was considered to be a good bid or not… and we will take it from there.”