Nearly a year after stating they plan to explore selling AAA 89.7 WNKU Highland Heights KY/Cincinnati and its two simulcasters, Northern Kentucky University has announced it has agreed to sell two of the signals to religious operators.
89.7 WNKU will be sold to Bible Broadcasting Network for $1.9 million. Simulcast 104.1 WNKE New Boston OH, which serves the Huntington WV/Ashland KY/Portsmouth OH market will go to Educational Media Foundation for $700,000 plus 75% of the proceeds from EMF divesting 94.9 WEKV South Webster OH. The university has yet to accept an offer for its third station, 105.9 WNKN Middletown OH, which serves the northern half of the Cincinnati market and Dayton.
WCPO-TV reports that WNKU has been running a $1 million plus deficit in recent years.
Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mears wrote in a statement:
For more than thirty years, WNKU-FM has been a part of our University and our community. Over that period of time, however, our university has also heavily subsidized its operations. Last year, that subsidy was approximately $1 million. Over the past six years, the university subsidy provided to operate WNKU has totaled approximately $4.4 million. As we continue to wrestle with various financial challenges, I concluded that we could no longer justify using our resources – our students’ tuition and our state appropriation – to subsidize WNKU’s operations.
The state of Kentucky had cut 4.5% of the state funding to all public universities in April 2016 leading NKU to explore selling the radio stations.