WLVR To Convert To Public News/Talk In Conjuction With WLVT-TV
Lehigh Valley Public Media, owners of “PBS 39” WLVT-TV Allentown PA, has announced a new partnership with Lehigh University in which the school’s 91.3 WLVR-FM Bethlehem will flip to Public News/Talk on November 1, with a pre-launch test phase set to begin later this month.
WLVR will carry a mix of locally produced news and content from NPR, American Public Media and PRX. The former student run programming of WLVR will move to the station’s HD2 and online.
Lehigh Valley Public Media has appointed Christine Dempsey as Senior Vice President of Radio. Dempsey comes to Allentown from the same position at WABE Atlanta and spent sixteen years in various roles at WHYY-FM Philadelphia including VP/Chief Content Officer and Director of Radio Programming. She previously worked in the Allentown market Program Director of WDIY Allentown from 1994-1997 and has also worked at WNYC New York.
WLVR joins a crowded public media landscape in the Lehigh Valley with 88.1 WDIY airing some NPR programs such as Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered along with locally produced music shows and many regional stations having translators in the market including Public News/Talk WVIA-FM Scranton, Classical WRTI Philadelphia and WWFM Trenton, and AAA WXPN Philadelphia.
Lehigh Valley Public Media, home of PBS39, is proud to announce a new partnership with Lehigh University. Through this collaboration, Lehigh Valley Public Media will broadcast radio content on the HD-1 channel, while student-driven content will continue on Lehigh’s HD-2 radio channel. The official launch is scheduled for November 1, 2019, with a pre-launch testing phase planned for October.
“Lehigh Valley Public Media is proud to partner with a station and university that has such deep ties to our community,” Tim Fallon, Chief Executive Officer of Lehigh Valley Public Media said. “We are excited to bring our experience and talent, along with our dynamic communication platforms, to existing listeners, while also reaching out to a brand new audience.”
As part of this partnership, WLVR will convert to a multi-channel HD transmitter which enables information to be broadcast simultaneously over digital and analog signals. Found at 91.3 FM, the station will be programmed with locally produced news and information, and content from NPR, American Public Media (APM) and Public Radio Exchange (PRX). A second channel, transmitted through both HD Radio and online streaming, will remain the college radio station programmed entirely by students and community members under the management of current WLVR Chief Operator and Station Manager Al Fritzinger Jr. (aka A.J. Fritz). This partnership will significantly enhance the Lehigh student experience by offering high-quality professional development opportunities, such as engaged scholarship, service-learning and paid internships.
“WLVR, The Brown and White and Lehigh’s Department of Journalism and Communication have enjoyed a successful collaboration off and on for decades, going back to the days when all of us shared space in the basement of the University Center,” Dr. Jack Lule, Chair of Lehigh’s Department of Journalism and Communication said. “The enhanced collaboration with Lehigh Valley Public Media will enable internships, training programs, site visits, guest speakers and more, offering huge educational benefits to students from across the university.”
Veteran radio executive, Christine Dempsey, will lead Lehigh Valley Public Media’s initiative as Senior Vice President of Radio. Dempsey, mostly recently from WABE-Atlanta, has more than three decades of experience in public broadcasting. Dempsey has worked for WHYY, Philadelphia; WDIY in Bethlehem; WNYC in New York City; and a variety of other public radio stations while she was an on-air fundraising consultant. Dempsey has been recognized with industry awards from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, as well as the Philadelphia Society of Professional Journalists and the Pennsylvania Associated Press. Most recently, she was awarded the prestigious Peabody and RFK Journalism awards for the podcast, Buried Truths. In addition, the podcast, Bottom of the Map, which she developed, was accepted as part of PRX’s Project Catapult.
“I am excited to create and build a new full-service news outlet in our community,” Dempsey said. “Bethlehem is home for me and I am proud to bring local journalism from our team of reporters to the Lehigh Valley and beyond.”
Lehigh Valley Public Media will be building a team of professionals dedicated to radio and the organization’s existing community engagement efforts. The station’s existing team of journalists, the Reporter Corps®, will also be contributing content to the radio station’s on-air and digital properties.