FCC approves Pittsburgh noncom radio deal


The sale of WDUQ-FM by Duquesne University to Essential Public Media appears to be as routine as a deal can be as far as regulatory review implications go. But any deal that threatens the programming of a beloved station can spark protest, and this sale falls into that group.

Duquesne programmed a jazz format on the station, a form of music difficult to find on the radio dial. Fans of WDUQ contacted the FCC to express their fears that the new owner would eliminate the programming from its schedule. The new owner is planning to focus on news and information.

However, as any regular reader of this space knows, the FCC does not consider programming when reviewing a station transaction. Essential Public Media already is in the business of running a radio station, so its qualifications to be a licensee are pretty much beyond question.

The deal, which was filed with the FCC 5/6/11, calls for a $6M price tag, and the station will come with a pair of FM CPs, along with a handful of translators.

One thing Essential is not getting is the right to use the call letters going forward. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, now that the FCC has approved the deal, closing is expected within the month and new call letters could appear at any time.