Public broadcasting welcomed another station into its fold when Purdue University agreed to have its student station operated by a nonprofit media company.
On July 1 Purdue announced that it signed a letter of intent to enter an agreement for WBAA radio to be acquired by Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM). The nonprofit currently operates WFYI(TV) public broadcasting in central Indiana. The goal, Purdue said in a statement, is to enhance WBAA’s public service while preserving WBAA’s local heritage.
It’s a station with a storied history. WBAA(AM) is Indiana’s longest continuously operating radio station after receiving its broadcast license in1922 followed by WBAA(FM) in 1993. The AM station was one of several that went on the air by land-grant schools in the early days of radio.
Under the agreement, WBAA will maintain its call letters, its physical presence in greater Lafayette, as well as the mainstay of programming including local news and reporting, NPR and global news and classical music.
MIPM is expected to assume operations of WBAA on or around Oct. 1 pending approval by Purdue’s Board of Trustees and approval of the license transfer by the Federal Communications Commission.
“We are so pleased to work with Purdue University … on preserving its public service mission through WBAA,” said Greg Petrowich, president and CEO of MIPM. “Through this agreement, we will strengthen and build on WBAA’s commitment to listeners and the communities served by WFYI and WBAA.”
A series of other enhancements are expected as well. For one, Purdue students in the Brian Lamb School of Communication will have access to expanded learning and development opportunities with WBAA and through the larger MIPM and WFYI networks, and program and underwriting partners will gain access to a broader listenership via shared programming that will also air on WFYI stations.
“Like we’ve seen done at many other higher education institutions, Purdue University has been looking for a public radio partner to lead WBAA toward its next 100 years in greater Lafayette,” said R. Ethan Braden, Purdue senior vice president for marketing and communications. “[W]e believe this agreement represents enhanced opportunities for our students, it preserves the experience that listeners enjoy today, and it extends WBAA’s reach and public service offerings.”