PITTSBURGH, PA, Nov. 16, 2015—The boards of public radio stations 91.3 WYEP and 90.5 WESA announced today that they have voted to merge into a single nonprofit entity positioned to serve western Pennsylvania with quality news, information, and music programming.
While the sister stations will retain their distinct programming, staffs, and listener-memberships, their combination into a single 501(c) 3 creates new opportunities for growth, collaboration, platform extension, and financial strength in an rapidly evolving media landscape, said Greg Joseph, President of the board of WYEP.
“Four years ago, the board of Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation—91.3 WYEP—seized an opportunity to expand and enrich public radio and Pittsburgh’s media environment when it purchased the broadcast license for what became 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, from Duquesne University,” said Joseph. “At the time, it was our expectation and hope that we would eventually have a single public media company.” A prudent decision was taken at the time to delay a formal merger until the debt incurred in the purchase of the license had been substantially reduced.
“While it was always our intention to take this path, we needed to wait for the right opportunity,” said Joseph, who noted that half of the debt incurred in the purchase of the license for 90.5 WESA has been paid down, and that an agreement to refinance the remaining debt was signed late last week with Dollar Bank.
“We believe this is the moment for our boards to come together to strengthen the governance and maximize the capacity of these two independent stations to continue to grow in their mission to serve the public at an exciting time in the media environment,” Joseph added. He noted that many other dual-license media organizations maintain separate and distinct station identities while exploiting opportunities to collaborate across platforms and to strengthen their financial resources.
Joseph also said that over the coming weeks and months, the newly combined board will conduct the work necessary to establish an appropriate governance structure. Following that, it will review and recommend a business and management structure, while maintaining the day-to-day operations of the two stations. “Both stations will continue to provide the quality programming and content that Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania have come to expect and to cherish, while exploring new opportunities for growth.
About 91.3 WYEP
91.3 WYEP is one of the most impactful and cherished cultural voices in Pittsburgh, enriching the community through musical discovery, expression and education. WYEP’s on-air programming celebrates musical diversity and is heard by more than 100,000 weekly listeners. WYEP also provides digital content, educational experiences and free public performances.
About 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, is a local, wholly-owned subsidiary of independent public radio station 91.3 WYEP /Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp, serving Western Pennsylvania with quality news and information. 90.5 WESA can be heard on 90.5 FM in Pittsburgh; 92.3 FM in New Baltimore; 100.5 FM in Johnstown, 104.1 FM in Ligonier and Somerset, and online at wesa.fm.