Until Wednesday morning, there was considerable doubt that an agreement could be reached that would all but retain the long-running Classical programming of WRR-FM in Dallas.
Fears of the station’s sale, and possible format change, have now been erased in decisive fashion.
The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement between KERA and the City of Dallas’ Office of Arts and Culture to manage WRR, at 101.1 MHz.
“We are so thrilled with the outcome of today’s vote,” said Nico Leone, KERA’s President & CEO. “Throughout the procurement process, KERA’s highest priority has been to ensure North Texas has equitable access to classical music and the arts. We now look forward to working with WRR on that shared goal, and expanding on their incredible 101-year history.”
Benjamin Espino, interim Director of the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Dallas, added, “The Office of Arts and Culture is excited about this new partnership to continue free classical music to thousands of listeners each week and to create new resources for Dallas-based artists and arts organizations. This kind of sustainable partnership with KERA to advance equity and communications was a key goal of the 2018 Dallas Cultural Plan. We are proud to continue growing the presence of the arts in Dallas through partnerships like this.”
KERA’s management agreement ensures WRR remains a locally programmed classical station, operated by KERA and owned by the City of Dallas. Keeping WRR a classical station is not only a requirement of the City’s RFP — it is KERA’s explicit goal. The agreement also ensures WRR will continue to operate out of its Fair Park studios in South Dallas for the next seven years.
The possibility of WRR’s sale to another operator, which could dismantle the market’s lone source for Classical and fine arts programming, was the subject of an opinion piece in The Dallas Morning News that urged the City of Dallas to hand control to KERA.
In WRR’s view, KERA is “an ideal management partner to help WRR grow its audience, keep up with industry and technology trends, and ensure audiences receive the highest-quality classical music programming possible. For more than 60 years, KERA has served the people of North Texas with the best in public broadcasting programming. And like WRR, KERA has a longstanding legacy of supporting the arts in North Texas — from in-depth arts reporting on 90.1 KERA News and Art&Seek, to inspiring performances on KERA TV and 91.7 KXT. Additionally, KERA reaches more than 2.6 million people each week through its public service platforms and broadcast channels. That coverage is also shared statewide through The Texas Newsroom, and nationally on NPR.”
KERA is expected to assume management of WRR by the end of the calendar year.