The fine print.

This is what you’ll hear, beginning next Monday, on Classic 94.1, 88.7, and 91.3.  Maybe not a lot of people who frequent this blog listen to those stations, but I don’t want to make blanket generalizations.  It’s a legal requirement and it will read like this:

“On April 8, 2010, an application was filed with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington DC seeking consent to the assignment of the license of Station WCKZ, Frequency 91.3, from Northeast Indiana Public Radio, Inc., to Star Educational Media Network, Inc.  The officers and directors of Northeast Indiana Public Radio, Inc. are Clifford Clarke, Adam Cox, Drew Dunlavy, Justin Forbes, Elizabeth Frederick, MaryAnn Halsey, Jeri Kornegay, Greg Marcus, William McKinney, Judy Mockenhaupt, Don Mockler, Suzon Motz, Aaron Myers, Greg Pollander, Susanne Moorman Rowe, Krista Stockman, Don Walther, and Joan Brown.  Officers and directors of Star Educational Media Network, Inc. are Jeff Berggren, Tom Ayres, Roy Irick, Ann McPherren, Richard Cummins, Don Buettner, Melissa Montana, Dave Maki, and Paul Shoemaker.  A copy of the application and related material is on file for public inspection at the NIPR studios, 3204 Clairmont Court, Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

What’s it mean?  Pending FCC approval, we’re selling the 91.3, the Orlando frequency that carries classical music, and the translator 88.7 that carries the same thing, to a local broadcasting group.  Takes a while for things to become final, but at some point in the not-too-distant future, a couple months, probably, you’ll hear somebody else’s programming on those frequencies.  These are fairly small foot print frequencies that serve a small part of our listening audience, but they do serve an audience, so some folks are going to be unhappy.

This sale is part of an overall financial strategy that we shared with the public more than a year ago, a strategy that involves putting the frequencies that currently carry classical programming up for sale in an effort to manage a huge debt load created when 94.1 was purchased.

94.1 remains for sale and at this point, will continue to carry classical programming.  94.1 was purchased in 2007 with the noble goal of strengthening the broadcasting of classical music, increasing the footprint of WBNI, and serving more of the community with a valued art form.  It doesn’t do much good, in my opinion, to spend much time questioning that decision, but lots of factors in the time between then and now have made paying for that station impossible.  So last year in January we embarked on a journey to live within our means and that meant divesting ourselves of these stations. The audience for classical music, at least via radio, continues to dwindle while the audience for news and information, as delivered by public radio, grows, so we’re betting on the favorite as we try to make certain there is a local public radio station in northeast Indiana down the road.

This first step, selling the small frequencies is going to help us manage the larger issue – dealing with our debt.

This staff and this board, and I, hate conflict as much as the next group, and when we make decisions that we know are going to disappoint – and anger – people we value, we do that with great care and sleepless nights and no small amount of wishing there were other options.

No doubt when this legal announcement begins to air, my phone will begin to ring.  That’s what I’m here for.  Here’s my direct line — 918-1099, and my email,  jbrown@nipr.fm .  If you’ve got questions, give me a call.

Trying to be see-through,

Joan

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3 Comments

Filed under Changes, Programming

3 responses to “The fine print.

  1. Eileen

    I appreciate your candor. And your effort to keep the public radio stream in our corner of Indiana.

  2. Well said, Joan. I wish you well.

  3. Carrie

    Hey – I know quite a few of those new names! 🙂 You’re a really neat person Joan and no matter what, I think you’re greatnjust for writing a post like this.

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