Friday, September 4, 2020

CA Radio: CapRadio, North State Public Radio Merge Operations

The licensee of North State Public Radio in Chico, Calif., approved a management agreement Thursday with CapRadio in Sacramento, effective October 1.

Chico State Enterprises’ Board of Directors approved the agreement after the conclusion of an 18-month study of a possible arrangement, Chico State University announced Friday. The two stations announced the study in July 2019.

CapRadio will be responsible for day-to-day management of NSPR, including personnel, programming, fundraising and broadcast engineering, according to Stephen Cummins, who oversaw the agreement as CSU’s director of public engagement. CSU will continue to hold NSPR’s broadcast license. It will provide administrative support and oversee programming and operations as the station’s licensee, Cummins said.

As CSU and CapRadio began discussions about working together, the university’s goals “were to better serve the news and information needs of our listeners and, secondly, we needed to ensure that the operating model and the service we provide was not only sustainable but could grow,” Cummins said.

The public service operating agreement gives NSPR “a larger pool of resources to draw from,” NSPR GM Phil Wilke told Current in an email. For instance, NSPR’s operations manager and engineer will have backups, and the newsroom can work with CapRadio on regional reporting projects, he said.

The agreement also allows NSPR to keep its “programming autonomy,” said Wilke, who will remain the station’s GM.

The stations received a $550,000 CPB grant to cover “several facets of the integration,” including hiring two reporters that will be based in Chico, Wilke said. The grant began in January and runs through the end of the year, according to CapRadio GM Jun Reina.

“It’s not every day that we’re afforded the opportunity to partner with another organization with which we already have a strong cultural alignment,” Reina said in an email to Current. Reina pointed to past collaborations between the stations on wildfire coverage.

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