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Northern Kentucky University Rejects WFPK Bid For WNKN

89.7 WNKU Cincinnati 105.9 WNKN Middletown Dayton 104.1 WNKE HuntingtonFollowing Louisville Public Media’s statement regarding the failed purchase attempt for 105.9 WNKN, Northern Kentucky University Director of Public Relations Anna Wright released the following statement:

“Northern Kentucky University is in the middle of an active process to sell WNKN-Middletown, and the Board of Regents is pleased with the process. Our first obligation is to our students, and we will make the decision that best satisfies the financial responsibility we have to them.

The Board of Regents has not voted on this. When it does, the action will be a matter of public record.”

Original Report 5/3: After selling 89.7 WNKU Highland Heights KY to Bible Broadcasting and 104.1 WNKE New Boston OH to Educational Media Foundation, Northern Kentucky University has rejected Louisville Public Media’s bid to purchase 105.9 WNKN Middletown OH for $5 million.

Louisville Public Media offered $3.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in services aimed at maintaining the academic mission of WNKU through on-campus music events, student learning opportunities and broadcasting internships upon which WNKN, which covers both the Cincinnati and Dayton OH markets would have flipped to a simulcast of 91.9 WFPK Louisville to retain the AAA format in those markets.

Louisville Public Media President Michael Skoler published the following letter in regards to their failed bid:

Friends of WNKU,

Many of you contacted us to ask if we could help save WNKU. I’m sad to write that Northern Kentucky University regents have turned down our offer to acquire the assets and last remaining radio signal for the university’s groundbreaking, but financially challenged, independent music station.

Louisville Public Media offered the university $5 million, with $3.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in services aimed at maintaining the academic mission of WNKU through on-campus music events, student learning opportunities and broadcasting internships. The deal included ten years of on-air promotion for the university in Cincinnati, Dayton and Louisville and would have purchased the 105.9 WNKN frequency.

We are deeply disappointed by Northern Kentucky University’s decision and the likely loss of WNKU’s proud tradition of serving the region’s music and cultural community. We offered a fiscally responsible way for the board to protect university resources and still preserve the important service it had created and nurtured for 32 years.

We know from our experience running 91.9 WFPK for central Kentucky and southern Indiana how critical it is to have a local station that serves, promotes, and anchors independent musicians and cultural organizations. WFPK’s program director Stacy Owen is a graduate of NKU and once served as music director and host at WNKU. She planned to employ local radio hosts in Cincinnati, promote music by local bands and sponsor hundreds of music events in the area to support the independent music scene as she has done in the Louisville area.

I was confident that Louisville Public Media’s expertise, back-office systems and programming experience would have allowed us to expand WNKU’s service. More than 8,700 WNKU fans signed a petition to save the station. Their support, along with support expressed by community businesses and cultural groups, would have enabled us to pay off the loan needed to acquire the station and run the station in the black.

We are proud of our community-supported stations 89.3 WFPL News, 90.5 WUOL Classical and 91.9 WFPK Independent, along with our growing reach in the region. Four years ago, we started the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, which shares its in-depth coverage with news outlets across the state. We participate in the Kentucky Public Radio Network, which included WNKU, and we manage the Ohio Valley ReSource, a collaboration of Kentucky stations, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Athens, Ohio station WOUB.

Please know that we remain committed to using our airwaves and resources to connect people in the region through trusted independent news, music and cultural events. At a time when our country seems divided, we strive to remind people of all that we share.

Thank you for your support and being with us on this journey,

Michael Skoler, President
Louisville Public Media

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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