Kansas City Public Television Acquires KTBG

90.9 The Bridge KTBG Kansas City Public Television KCPTKansas City Public Television has announced it has agreed to purchase NPR News/AAA “90.9 The Bridge” KTBG Warrensburg/Kansas City, MO from the University of Central Missouri.

The acquisition will cost KCPT $1.7 Million including $1.1 Million for the station itself and $600,000 for improvements and upgrades. The financing was acquired through loans, donations, gifts and use of unrestricted reserve funds.

Following the closing of the sale, KTBG will move its studios from UCM into KCTV’s building in Kansas City. The plan is to remove NPR’s News and UCM Sports programming from the schedule and focus completely on its AAA format. The station currently airs NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered bookended by music.

KTBG recently applied to improve its signal in Kansas City. If approved its new tower will rimshot the city itself from 26 miles to the east, where it would operate at 100kW at 168.8 meters.

Kansas City Public Television owns and operates PBS affiliate KCPT.

The Press Release and FAQ released regarding the sale follows:
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 19, 2013) – The University of Central Missouri and Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) announced today the intention to transfer ownership of UCM’s public radio station KTBG-FM 90.9 to KCPT. The letter of intent permitting the acquisition of UCM’s campus-based radio station was signed April 18 by the UCM Board of Governors.

“This is a decision that was made after carefully considering our overall mission and the university’s recent academic and administrative reviews,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “The university is very pleased with the overall agreement with Kansas City Public Television. In conjunction with transferring ownership of KTBG, we are also establishing an exciting, multi-dimensional relationship with KCPT and the Kansas City community, which will greatly benefit both parties.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for KCPT to extend its reach into the community and develop new relationships with our public media partners in Warrensburg,” said CEO and President of KCPT, Kliff Kuehl. “KTBG has developed a strong following of listeners with an exceptional programming line-up of music and local services. We’re thrilled to be able to share this community asset with an even greater audience in the Kansas City region.”

KTBG currently operates on the 90.9 FM frequency as licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. Through the transaction with UCM, KCPT is purchasing the rights to operate on this frequency, which must be approved by the FCC.

“This agreement with KCPT provides a new collaboration structure that allows us to explore meaningful opportunities that will ultimately benefit UCM, our students, KCPT and its audiences. KCPT has an established national reputation as an excellent public broadcaster and through the elements of our future relationship our combined efforts will serve and benefit our respective and collective stakeholders,” Ambrose said.

As an example of the collaboration, KCPT and UCM will offer a broad range of internships for UCM students that will give them firsthand learning experiences in many different areas. Additionally, selected UCM programming produced by KMOS-TV, the university’s public television station, will be aired on KCPT’s television platforms.

The sale of KTBG has no direct impact on KMOS-TV. The university will continue its focus on making the public television station a quality resource for PBS programming and local productions. KMOS-TV will continue to provide experiential learning opportunities for UCM students who want to enter the broadcasting field.

UCM and KCPT used the professional services of Public Radio Capital (PRC) during the transaction. The nonprofit PRC works with public media outlets nationwide to buy and finance new channels, preserve existing public radio outlets and strengthen services.

Questions and Answers Regarding KTBG 90.9 The Bridge

Why is the University of Central Missouri selling KTBG 90.9 The Bridge?
UCM has explored different options to enable KTBG 90.9 The Bridge to provide a stronger broadcast signal that will allow it to expand its listenership and share public radio with more people in this region. While addressing all considerations that would make this possible, including the university’s mission, recently conducted academic and administrative reviews, and financial aspects resulting from the reviews, the university received an offer by Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) to purchase the station.

When does the new ownership become effective?
The Letter of Intent to transfer ownership of KTBG 90.9 The Bridge was signed by the UCM Board of Governors on April 18. Approval of the transfer is subject to approval of the FCC.

What assets are included in the transfer of ownership? For example, is the radio broadcasting facility in the Wood Building and its equipment part of the transaction, or is UCM only transferring the rights to the 90.9 broadcast frequency?
Through the transaction with UCM, KCPT is purchasing the rights to operate on this frequency. As noted, the transaction must be approved by the FCC. Additionally, KCPT’s purchase will include transmission equipment, the call letters KTBG, and any URL’s associated with the station.

Will the station, under its new KCPT ownership, operate as a public radio station?
UCM has a longstanding tradition in public broadcasting, and the UCM Board of Governors strongly supported transfer of ownership to a not-for-profit organization that would continue providing public radio programming to area listeners. KCPT is a well-known, successful public television station in Kansas City with many loyal supporters. UCM is pleased that KCPT has chosen to expand its outreach to radio while remaining true to the successful format that has attracted so many KTBG listeners.

How will this transaction affect the station’s music format?
The format will remain largely the same. KCPT will likely remove the news and talk content and UCM sports broadcasts. KCPT will continue the AAA music format and increase local segments covering non-profits, arts and culture events, and other stories of interest to the KTBG listeners.

How will it impact staff/students currently working at the station?
KCPT will be responsible for staff decisions. The agreement with UCM also establishes a new focus on collaborative activities with the Kansas City public television station. As an example of the collaboration, KCPT and UCM will offer a broad range of internships for UCM students that will give students firsthand learning experiences in many different areas.

Does the sale of UCM’s public radio station have an impact on the university’s public television station KMOS-TV?
The transfer of ownership regarding UCM’s public radio station has no direct impact on KMOS-TV, the university’s public television station, because the two public broadcasting entities are independent of each other. KMOS-TV will continue to provide quality PBS programming and local productions, while also providing experiential learning opportunities for UCM students wanting to enter the broadcasting field. The physical areas that currently comprise KTBG’s operations will be used by KMOS-TV to accommodate high definition television equipment, and provide additional space for students and professional staff personnel who work at KMOS. New collaborations with KCPT are expected to create additional opportunities for UCM broadcasting students in the future.

How will the new station be identified? Will it continue to use the KTBG call letters and operate on the 90.9 FM frequency?
KTBG currently operates on the 90.9 FM frequency as licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. Through its transaction with UCM, KCPT is purchasing the right to operate on this frequency. This must be approved, however, by the FCC. The call letters, KTBG will continue to be used during the transition process and will be reconsidered following a branding study.

If I am a donor who has given an annual pledge of support to KTBG, how will this money be used?
Contributions that have been given to KTBG have been used to support the station. No additional fund drives to support the UCM radio station are planned prior to the transfer of ownership. KMOS-TV will conduct future fund drives in support of UCM’s public television station.

How will KTBG supporters be notified of this change in ownership?
To help make the transfer a seamless process, on-air announcements regarding the transition will be made prior to the official change in ownership. Some targeted correspondence also may be utilized with specific stakeholders. Following the change of ownership, KCPT will also communicate with all KTBG supporters. Current KTBG members and sponsors will begin receiving KCPT’s monthly member guide, as well.

What is the university’s plan for the use of funds derived from the sale?
The funds generated by the sale of KTBG will be used by the university to continue its overall mission and services to students and the community.

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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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