Louisville Slugger: NKU Nixes Attempt To ‘Save’ Cincy Pubcaster


An offer totaling $5 million that Louisville Public Media says would have preserved the Adult Alternative format in the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, markets has been rejected by Northern Kentucky University.

In a letter released late Wednesday (5/3) by Louisville Public Media published by CincyMusic.com, LPM President Michael Skoler confirmed that a bid of $3.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in services “aimed at maintaining the academic mission of WNKU through on-campus music events, student learning opportunities, and broadcasting internships” was presented to NKU.

The deal would have included a decade of on-air promotion for the university in Cincinnati, Dayton and Louisville, while giving LPM ownership of Class B 34kw WNKN-FM 105.9 in Middletown, Ohio, an NKU-owned station which reaches most of Cincinnati and all of the Dayton market.

That’s the station that remains in limbo and has been the focal point of efforts by CincyMusic.com to raise funds allowing it to buy WNKN, thus keeping WNKU’s programming mostly as-is.

In February, fans of WNKU saw their hearts broken on Valentine’s Day, as NKU announced the sale of Class C3 WNKU-FM 89.7 in Highland Heights, Ky., and Class CO 100kw WNKE-FM 104.1 in New Boston, Ohio, which reaches the Ashland, OH-Huntington, WV Nielsen Audio market. WNKU is being sold to Bible Broadcasting Corp. for $1.9 million, while in a separate transaction WNKE is being transferred to Educational Media Foundation for $700,000. EMF owns the nationally distributed KLOVE and Air 1 Contemporary Christian music formats.

Thus, WNKN is on the market, and LPM wanted the facility not so much to save WNKU’s unique programming, but to simulcast its own Adult Alternative WFPK-FM 91.9 in Cincinnati and Dayton, RadioInsight.com reports.

Skoler’s letter spins it a bit differently. He noted that WFPK Program Director Stacy Owen is a graduate of NKU and once served as music director and host at WNKU. “She planned to employ local radio hosts in Cincinnati, promote music by local bands and sponsor hundreds of music events in the area to support the independent music scene as she has done in the Louisville area,” Skoler said.

What’s next for WNKN? The university’s Director of Public Relations, Anna Wright, tells CincyMusic.com, “NKU is in the middle of an active process to sell WNKN, and the Board of Regents is pleased with the process. Our first obligation is to our students, and we will make the decision that best satisfies the financial responsibility we have to them. The Board of Regents has not voted on this. When it does, the action will be a matter of public record.”

In the meantime, WNKU continues to air its Adult Alternative format, with live air talent heard in the 7pm Eastern hour.