The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Duquesne University today voted to sell WDUQ 90.5 FM to a new local ownership and operating entity, Essential Public Media (EPM), for $6 million.
This decision comes after the university did not accept an offer, believed to be larger, from the non-profit Pittsburgh Public Media (PPM). PPM had indicated that it would keep the NPR, local news and jazz format which made 90.5 the most listened to public radio station in Western Pennsylvania.
According to a university release, EPM is a joint venture of WYEP and Public Media Company (PMC), a nonprofit launched by Public Radio Capital.
"We recognize that WDUQ is a vital community resource as Pittsburgh's first public radio station, so we are pleased that we've reached an agreement that will continue its legacy of more than 60 years of service to the community," said Dr. Charles J. Dougherty, Duquesne University president said he was pleased to reach an agreement that will continue the legacy of more than 60 years of service to the community......
"The sale not only preserves the public character of the station, it also will allow us to make significant investments in key academic initiatives that are aligned with Duquesne's strategic plan."
WYEP Board chair Marco Cardamone said "Through WDUQ, Essential Public Media has an amazing opportunity to transform local journalism, offer reliable news and information, spark civic conversation and shed light on important issues."
"Essential Public Media is planning to develop and sustain a vibrant media service that brings NPR, global and national news to the region, building on today's media technologies and a deeper emphasis on local journalism," said Susan Harmon, Public Radio Capital's managing director and PMC board director.
WDUQ 90.5 is a charter member of the network and has been bringing NPR programming to the region for nearly 40 years.
"While local journalism, reflecting the diversity of voices and issues in our community, is a high priority for EPM, we look forward to working with the community of jazz lovers in Pittsburgh as well," said Lee Ferraro, general manager of WYEP.
The news release did not specify whether or not jazz would be part of the station's format.
The deal is expected to be finalized within 6 months.
Listen to the news conference
Listen to a longer version of the story here.
UPDATE: Essential Public Media has now begun to take comment on the future of 90.5 FM at its website. http://www.essentialpublicmedia.org/