Cleveland’s Ideastream to Increase Radio Audience with Addition of WKSU to Network
The Kent State University board on Wednesday approved a public service operating agreement for Ideastream in Cleveland to take over the operations of WKSU, the university’s public radio station.
The agreement, which is expected to take effect Oct. 1, allows the university to retain FCC licenses for WKSU stations. That will increase audiences for Ideastream’s news programs from 2.4 million to 3.6 million, covering 22 counties in northeastern Ohio, according to the station.
WKSU chief executive Wendy Turner told administrators that nearly 90% of the programming on WKSU and WCPN, Ideastream’s information / maintenance station, was duplicating. The coverage areas of the stations also overlap significantly.
“It is our duty to use wisely and efficiently the investments made by our members, supporters and institutions,” she said.
KSU President Todd Diacon told the meeting that in order for the university to support the deal, it must “improve journalism, improve reporting, improve public affairs journalism so that we can continue, and that is certainly what she does “.
The university also wanted to expand students’ access to internships and professional opportunities, “and joining Ideastream will ensure and expand this access to both radio and television.”
All WKSU staff are offered positions at Ideastream. Diacon added that WKSU employees would be offered 12-month contracts once employed by Ideastream. Employees will also be able to retain a four-year tuition allowance and state pension benefits. Together, the organizations will employ approximately 150 employees.
The President of KSU will have a voting seat on the Ideastream Board of Directors, and members of the WKSU Community Advisory Board will be invited to join the Ideastream Community Advisory Board.
Next year, Ideastream will mix formats among its signals to expand the audience for its news and traditional services. On April 1, it will transfer its classic format from WCLV 104.9 FM to WCPN 90.3 FM. Station letters of appeal will also be exchanged.
With the change, the 104.9 FM signal will become a repeater of WKSU, which will be the flagship information station. The new arrangement will make classical music “accessible to a much larger listening area”, according to the Ideastream website.
WKSU and Ideastream received a $ 100,000 grant from CPB last year to support research and analysis for a possible partnership.