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  • Posted In: Rhode Island

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    Now that WBRU is Gone is WHJY the Only Rock station in Providence ? Will a station flip to a Rock Format ?


    They are a Rock Station.They mix old with new. Don’t expect any Providence Stations to do anything aggressive until Cumulus falls apart.

    WBRU is licensed to broadcast under the Brown Student Radio group on 101.1 for 85 hours a week. It’s under a Construction permit until January 7, 2018. Problem is it’s a 3 way share with AS220 and Providence Community radio who is allowed to broadcast 10 hours a week.

    BSR changed calls from WPVD to WBRU-LP on 9/1 and have said publically they will be on 101.1 at least part time.Hopefully they can convince AS220 and this Providence Community radio to drop out.

    I know I’m going to make people mad here but a 100 watt LPFM to compliment their new streaming service makes a lot more sense than a full Power FM they claim they were losing their shirts on.



    WHJY is not changing anything.  Why would they?  WBRU was losing money and audience.  Why would WHJY seek to emulate that?  They’re the #2 station in the market with their current format.  You don’t mess with what works.  Now, as for the new 104.7 translator that iHeart just bought from K-Love/EMF?  I’ve heard rumors it’s going to relay an HD2 of country to try and siphon audience from WCTK, but I’ve also heard it’ll be a modern rock-ish format trying to capture what audience they can from displaced WBRU listeners.  But that’s just a rumor.


    Ken: I wonder about that share-time.  Clearly the old WBRU group…we’ll call them “BBS” after the old parent organization, “Brown Broadcasting Service”…has cut some kind of deal with Brown Student Radio/BSR.

    There’s no PUBLIC indication that they’ve cut a deal with AS220 or Providence Community Radio, though (the other two share-timers on the 101.1 frequency).  In theory I suppose BSR/BBS could build the new station with the 95.5 sale money that was just released from escrow two weeks ago, and tell AS220/PCR to go build their own facility.   AFAIK, that isn’t going to happen so presumably AS220’s and PCR’s CP’s would expire and BSR’s would get the License to Cover….at which point they could file with the FCC to take over the remaining broadcast hours vacated by AS220/PCR.

    Quite frankly, we’ve seen BBS make moves without a whole lot of regard for public opinion in the whole 95.5 sale.  But I realize (and emphasize) that this is an awful uncharitable view to take.  I can’t speak much for PCR, but AS220 is a fairly major institution in Providence overall, nevermind the arts scene.  I don’t think BBS would deliberately cross them like that.  Perhaps there’s a gentleman’s agreement worked out behind the scenes.

    Or, for all I know, it’s all one big happy family and despite the 101.1 facility being built with BBS’s money, it’ll be used by BBS/BSR, AS220 and/or PCR.  Who knows?

    FWIW, you didn’t make me mad but I would disagree with your assessment about the LPFM being a better home.  WBRU relied heavily on their promotional events to stay relevant in the community and you just can’t do those nearly as well on a LPFM.  Not just because it’s only 100 watts and advertisers don’t give a crap about 100 watts (they care about 50,000 watts) but also because it’s non-commercial.  The rules for events and underwriting are arcane and difficult, to put it mildly.  You CAN do SOME things, but it’s a lot of verbal gymnastics whenever you talk about it on the air.  I ran into many of these problems running an LPFM at HWS Colleges back in the day.

    FWIW, there’s also a lot of weirdness about exactly what is BSR in the context of WBRU-LP?   Looking through the FCC CDBS doesn’t reveal much; the original LPFM application from several years ago appears to be all (at the time) current and recently-graduated Brown students, right around the time that Wheeler stopped leasing WELH to BSR (and, yes, leased it to RIPR instead).  The names I’ve seen in some blog posts and other news stories around BSR show similar themes.   More importantly, none of the names on any FCC paperwork seem to be the “owners” of Brown University (the Trustees) which you’d normally see in such a situation.  Yet BSR doesn’t seem to exist as a registered company nor a registered non-profit as far as the state of RI is concerned, either.

    I caution that I’ve dug around a little bit in what’s publicly-available on the web.  I haven’t done all THAT much research.  I imagine when/if the LTC is filed for WBRU-LP in a month or two, we’ll learn more about exactly who owns that license.

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