Thursday, May 12, 2011

Big Grant for Buyers of 90.5 FM

The Heinz Endowments has added $1.5 million to the pool of funds at Essential Public Media's disposal to purchase and operate 90.5 FM. The newly formed non-profit group has agreed to a $6 million to purchase the WDUQ license from Duquesne University.

The first $4 million of the sale price is to be in cash. In addition, the university will hold a four year note for $500,000; there would be $1 million in underwriting and a promise to take on Duquesne University students in internships with a value of $500,000. Heinz Endowments President Robert Vagt says the grant was not just about purchasing and running the radio station.

"Our board was motivated to be part of an overall effort to provide robust news coverage, engage the community in important issues using all available media, we see this as part of a journalism civic engagement effort in the city and in the region.
The goal is to allow the station to focus on operations going forward without having to worry so much about debt."

The Heinz Endowments Board gave the money with the condition that the new entity has a stated policy that there is fair and balanced news coverage. This is not a corrective action said Vagt, "When you are going to start something new, however, you want to just make sure that what continues is reflective of the good work that has been done in the past."

These funds come on the heels of a $1.5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

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