Pittsburgh noncom FM finds philosophically-desirable buyer


The sell-off of media properties by institutes of higher education was a cottage industry in 2010, and it often left fans of the sold properties high, dry and disappointed as loss of treasured programming became transactional collateral damage. But the $6M sale of WDUQ-FM by Duquesne University in Pittsburgh is expected to continue and enhance the station’s traditions.

The station will be bought by a non-commercial partnership called Essential Public Media (EPM), comprised of local and national elements.

The local flavor will be surprised by independent noncom WYEP-FM, with the national element coming from public media proponent, brokerage and consultancy Public Radio Capital, which is participating through a subsidiary called Public Media Company.

Duquesne U. President Charles J. Dougherty expressed the gratitude the school felt in both finding a suitable buyer and gaining the ability to finance unrelated projects.

Marco Cardamone, chair of the WYEP Board, said “Through WDUQ, Essential Public Media has an amazing opportunity to transform local journalism, offer reliable news and information, spark civic conversation and shed light on important issues. In partnership with PMC, we have access to relationships and public media organizations that will allow us to draw upon the best resources and practices in the public media space.”

“Essential Public Media is planning to develop and sustain a vibrant media service that brings NPR, global and national news to the region, building on today’s media technologies and a deeper emphasis on local journalism,” said Susan Harmon, Public Radio Capital’s managing director and PMC board director. “The University deserves credit for choosing to make this transaction one that will continue to benefit the University community as well as the regional community. We are confident that this deeply valued asset will gain in significance and service going forward.”

“While local journalism, reflecting the diversity of voices and issues in our community, is a high priority for EPM, we look forward to working with the community of jazz lovers in Pittsburgh as well,” said Lee Ferraro, GM of WYEP.

In addition to investing in WDUQ’s journalism capabilities, the new buyers pledged to continue to serve Pittsburgh-area jazz fans, and promised to increase the opportunities for Duquesne students to gain experience at the station.

Seller Duquesne was represented by Roger Rafson of CMS Brokerage.