Purdue finalizes transfer deal from WBAA to Indianapolis Metropolitan Public Media

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media have signed the asset purchase agreement that advances the plan to transition Purdue’s WBAA AM and FM radio to MIPM.

MIPM currently operates WFYI Public Broadcasting in Central Indiana and has jointly filed documents for license transfer with the Federal Communications Commission, which typically takes 30-60 days to respond. The organizations expect the license transfer closing date to be in late spring.

Purdue announced on July 1 that it intends to partner with WFYI/MIPM to secure the future of WBAA radio, continuing the WBAA’s local news mission, increasing internship opportunities for students and improving public service offerings.

As a condition of the transfer, WBAA will maintain its call letters, strong heritage and physical presence in Greater Lafayette. Local news and features, NPR and world news, and classical music – mainstays of WBAA’s current programming – will continue to air on WBAA-AM and WBAA-FM and its digital frequencies.

“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone as we work to ensure a bright future for WBAA radio, its listeners and our students,” said R. Ethan Braden, Purdue senior vice president of marketing and the communications. “A big thank you to everyone who has worked on important details over the past few months. We are excited about the preservation of Purdue Public Radio and the improvements that will come from this partnership with MIPM and WFYI.

Greg Petrowich, President and CEO of WFYI/MIPM, said, “Our entire team is excited to serve the Greater Lafayette community, continue WBAA’s meaningful legacy, and discover ways to deepen services at both to this new part of our audience and to our long-time viewers.

Announced on Wednesday February 9, the APA (asset purchase agreement) provides:

  • WFYI/MIPM will assume the operations and management of WBAA’s AM and FM radio from the closing date of the purchase, to be determined after FCC approval.
  • WFYI/MIPM will provide Purdue University with an underwriting credit of $700,000 for ads on WFYI’s station network over a 10-year period.
  • WFYI/MIPM will provide no less than $300,000 in paid student internships at the combined stations, to include expanded learning and development opportunities in positions spanning broadcasting, digital media, sales and marketing and more .
  • WFYI/MIPM to acquire ownership of the equipment necessary to operate the radio station at the current Elliott Hall of Music studio on the Purdue campus and at Purdue-owned Tippecanoe County transmitter sites and Purdue Research Foundation.
  • Purdue will provide an investment to WFYI/MIPM of $250,000 per year for the first two years of the agreement to offset certain initial operating costs.
  • Purdue will retain ownership and maintenance of physical structures, including radio towers for AM and FM transmission located on Purdue and Purdue Research Foundation lands, and studio space at Elliott Hall of Music, and for which WFYI/MIPM will pay a nominal annual license fee.

Other aspects of the transfer are:

  • Four current WBAA AM and FM radio employees will transition to full-time employment with WFYI/MIPM.
  • Donors who maintain their WBAA membership and donate at least $60 per year will receive free WFYI Passport membership (including access to a robust video streaming library of PBS and local programs) in as part of the transition, an additional membership benefit for WFYI members that is not currently available to WBAA members.
  • WBAA’s current schedule and subscription partners will have access to wider audiences through shared programming that will also air on WFYI stations.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past four years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and groundbreaking discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Find out how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

About WFYI Public Media and Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media

Since 1970, WFYI Public Media has served Central Indiana as a trusted friend. Its public non-profit radio and television stations, digital engagement and community engagement activities inform, entertain and educate Hoosiers of all ages and walks of life. WFYI broadcasts original content, as well as PBS and NPR programming. Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM) is the parent organization of WFYI Public Media. Learn more about wfyi.org.

Media contact: Tim Doty, [email protected]

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