As the calendar year began, “Arnie the Corsair” — and the decision makers at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth made a decision that would reverberate across campus and into much of the New Bedford-Fall River, Mass., listening area: Class B1 WUMD-FM 89.3 was being sold by UMass Dartmouth to Rhode Island Public Radio.
The $1.5 million deal, which includes a decade’s worth of underwriting announcements, was protested by WUMD volunteers who launched a campaign designed to save the station.
Those efforts were unsuccessful, and on June 26 RIPR said R.I.P. to WUMD.
Now, RIPR is saying adios to its Class B AM operated since Oct. 2011 as a Spanish-language noncomm, and immediately before that as a main NPR outlet for Rhode Island’s biggest city.
In a transaction with a total value of $400,000, RIPR is selling WRNI-AM 1290 in Providence, R.I., to Latino Public Radio.
A 10% escrow deposit has been made to John Wells King, Esq., serving as RIPR’s escrow agent.
WRNI-AM boasts a directional two-pattern 10kw signal from 3 towers, giving it city-grade coverage of eastern Rhode Island, and nearby Fall River, Mass.
The sale of WRNI-FM to LPR, ironically, is the result of a fundraising effort in which the operation turned to listeners to help it raise nearly $500,000 to make the acquisition happen. If LPR couldn’t come up with the asking price, RIPR was ready to shop the station to other suitors.
LPR supporters came through, whereas a #saveWUMD social media effort fell short for UMass Dartmouth; a percentage of funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Rhode Island Public Radio acquired WRNI in March 2007 following a three-year firestorm ignited by a September 2004 announcement that it would be put on the market by then-owner WBUR Group, tied to the Boston University-administered licensee, the WRNI Foundation. The Foundation took over the station in 1998, ending five years of Portuguese-language programming.
From 1952-1983, the facility was known as WICE, and aired a Top 40 format during the 1960s and 1970s; WICE was once part of Susquehanna Radio.
FROM THE RBR+TVBR ARCHIVES: