RIPR to purchase UMass Dartmouth's WUMD

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mike Fitzpatrick Mike Fitzpatrick 1 month ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #152816
    Profile photo of aaronread
    aaronread
    Participant
    #152822
    Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson
    Eric Jon Magnuson
    Participant

    Just in case, here’s the raw press release (as posted on the WUMD site)…

    MEDIA RELEASE: UMass Dartmouth and Rhode Island Public Radio create new collaboration

     

    #152824
    Profile photo of joseph_gallant
    Joseph_Gallant
    Participant

    This is actually part of a trend in which student-run college radio stations are being bought-up by NPR member outlets to expand public radio programming.

    In fact, I wonder how long it will be until Boston-based Emerson College’s WERS-88.9 gets sold-off to either WGBH-89.7 (to most likely rebroadcast their Classical New England Service or maybe even to run it as 24/7 jazz since ‘GBH used to run a nightly jazz block but now does so for just a few hours a week) or as a “wild card”, to WBUR-90.9 (perhaps to run BBC World Service 24/7).

    #152850
    Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson
    Eric Jon Magnuson
    Participant

    Unless Emerson is undergoing some major financial difficulties, it’d almost certainly keep WERS; it’d be silly, if not shocking, for a communications-focused college to willingly dispose of an over-the-air signal.  Likewise, I seriously doubt that Harvard would part with WHRB–even though it’s on the commercial band.

    Meanwhile, here are a few more stories on this deal…

    UMass Dartmouth Plans to Sell License for College Radio Station WUMD to Rhode Island Public Radio

    http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170104/ri-public-radio-in-deal-to-get-umass-dartmouth-broadcast-license

    http://fall-river.wickedlocal.com/news/20170104/umass-dartmouth-sells-radio-license-to-rhode-island-public-radio

     

    #152851
    Profile photo of charles57
    Charles Everett
    Participant

    This is actually part of a trend in which student-run college radio stations are being bought-up by NPR member outlets to expand public radio programming.

    Yeah, like in Houston where a student-run station was sold to the local NPR affiliate that plugged in a Classical format — which failed. The facility has since been sold again to an Evangelical broadcaster that programs Christian Rock.

    Lance’s blog said RIPR will move the transmitter to Tiverton to provide better coverage of the Ocean State. Based on that reference, RIPR might be going on the tower that WLNE used for its analog TV signal prior to the digital transition.

    #152879
    Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson
    Eric Jon Magnuson
    Participant

    Just in case, here are the latest couple of stories…

    Rhode Island Public Radio to acquire license from UMass Dartmouth

    UMass Dartmouth Files FCC Paperwork for Proposed WUMD College Radio Station License Sale

    It’s good that RIPR’s Torey Malatia has been accessible to the media.  However, it looks like there’s been no further official comment from the folks at WUMD.

     

    #152917
    Profile photo of aaronread
    aaronread
    Participant

    Also remember, Harvard University doesn’t own WHRB. “Harvard Radio Broadcasting Co., Inc” owns it. IIRC, the board of directors (the “actual owners”) of that separate entity are, by their own bylaws, all Harvard alums. But they’re not the University itself. I think it would take an awful lot before that crew would willingly sell the license. We’re talking HARVARD alums after all; typically when money is needed, it will appear. 🙂

    From what I’ve heard, neither WBUR nor WGBH have any interest in acquiring another Boston signal. Well, maybe if it’s an “offer too good to refuse” sort of thing, which wouldn’t happen…but otherwise forget about it. WBUR is currently investing mucho dinero into changing towers and improving the their 90.9 signal out in Needham. WGBH is, AFAIK, still trying to figure out how to pay off the debt on their “new” facility in Brighton.

    FWIW, I used to think it was inconceivable that Emerson would ever sell off WERS. Now I’m not so sure. They’ve been hammering the station to be more financially self-supporting for years, and gradually phasing out more and more rules about students holding high-level positions of management and airstaff. Plus they’ve, IIRC, eliminated the Radio Broadcasting as a minor in the curriculum due to lack of student interest.

    The actual sale would undoubtedly have a major negative PR impact on Emerson’s image as a communications college, though. But sooner or later there could very well be insufficient student interest to justify the significant expense of running WERS; besides the princely sum they spend on tower rent, they have several FT/benefited staff working exclusively (or near-exclusively) for the station.

    The purchase of KTRU by KUHF was an interesting case. KUHF way, way overpaid for that license; a little over $10mil IIRC. You’d think a 50kW Class B FM in a top-ten market like Houston would be worth a lot of $$$ but KTRU is an exception. They don’t cover the core of the market because they’re too small and there’s too many adjacent-channel signals. It’s hard to describe just how bad the urban sprawl is in Houston…a 50kW FM doesn’t cut the mustard; you really need a Class C to cover the entire market.

    They also overestimated the demand for classical music in Houston, too. From what I’ve heard, they made a good-faith effort to gauge demand ahead of the sale, and it just turned out to be wrong. Oops. It happens. Sure, if KUHF had paid less, it might not have mattered as much, but they didn’t and it did.

    This is not to denigrate KUHF too much, though. They were in a tough situation as a mixed-format station; the clear demand was for more news/talk, but the classical fans were vocal and did give money. Just not enough to justify $10mil on a signal that didn’t cover nearly as much as KUHF proper does. I think Rice University DID kinda screw up (they started looking to get the station back on the airwaves almost before the deal was done…first landing on KPFT’s HD2 (Pacifica) and now on an LPFM license of their own) but it’s hard to say “no” when someone’s offering to pay you twice what something you have is worth, y’know?

    BTW, our full technical details are posted on the CDBS now. You can get a quick view at FCCdata : http://fccdata.org/?facid=&call=wumd&ccode=1&city=&state=&country=US&arn=&party=&party_type=LICEN

    #153113
    Profile photo of Mike Fitzpatrick
    Mike Fitzpatrick
    Participant

    A response to the WBUR-FM comment from Aaron. The antenna is ready to go up, just waiting on the master antenna issues to clear first. The same crew doing that work are going to be raising it once the dust settles out there.

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