Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cleveland Radio: Ideastream To LMA Non-Com WKSU

Ideastream Public Media and Non-Com WKSU 89.7 FM plan to enter into a public service operating agreement to create one of Northeast Ohio’s largest news organizations, building on decades of award-winning journalism from two of the region’s leaders in news and information.

Kent State University’s board of trustees has granted the university permission to pursue an agreement for the management and operations of the WKSU stations. The Ideastream Public Media board has also voted to move forward with the proposal for the public service operating agreement, which is expected to go into effect October 1, 2021. On that date, Ideastream Public Media will begin operating WKSU. Kent State University will retain FCC licensing for the WKSU stations.

This partnership will create an expanded and sustainable regional news service that delivers local, national and statewide news, and excels on all broadcast, digital and on-demand platforms. Under the new operating agreement, the population served by Ideastream Public Media’s news and information programming will increase from 2.4 million to 3.6 million and serve 22 counties throughout Northeast Ohio.

In 2022, WKSU will become the sole NPR news and information station in Northeast Ohio and Ideastream Public Media will commit its 104.9 FM signal (currently WCLV) as a repeater station that extends the WKSU coverage. As part of these plans, Ideastream Public Media’s classical service (WCLV) will move to 90.3 FM, making classical music available to a significantly larger listening area.

All members of WKSU’s staff are being offered positions at Ideastream Public Media’s expanded operation. The combined organization will employ approximately 150 employees, including more than 40 staff members in a new unified newsroom.

The decision to pursue this agreement was reinforced by an analysis the two organizations conducted earlier this year with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That analysis found Ideastream Public Media and WKSU could realize a number of efficiencies by working together, resulting in strong public service reporting in Northeast Ohio and other benefits to listeners throughout the region.

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