In what may be a trend among university licensees strapped for cash, Ohio’s Miami University plans to turn over the operations of WMUB(FM) to Cincinnati Public Radio.
University President David Hodge said the decision was tough, but the university can no longer shoulder the financial obligations of the station, given the school’s projected $22 million budget deficit.
WMUB has broadcast from Miami University for 58 years. Because of its rural location and signal strength, WMUB has not been able to achieve the audience and listener pledges that urban-based public radio stations receive, according to the university, so WMUB receives more than $500,000 in annual direct subsidy from the university plus more than $300,000 in indirect support.
The university is not selling the station, in order to retain non-commercial programming in the Miami Valley. Instead, under the operating agreement, WMUB will join Cincinnati Public Radio stations WGUC(FM) and WVXU(FM).
WMUB’s signal direction means most of its listeners are in Montgomery and Butler counties and parts of eastern Indiana. The combination of WMUB, WVXU and WGUC will create a radio alliance that will serve both WMUB’s audience and the rest of the tri-state region, and, under this agreement, Miami will also receive air time to promote both its faculty expertise and its educational programs to a broader audience in Greater Cincinnati and throughout southwest Ohio, said officials.
The Dayton Business Journal reports that the university has already cut $16 million from its 2010 budget. WMUB’s staff of seven full-time and three part-time employees will lose their jobs, according to the paper.
Public Radio Capital helped both organizations with the negotiations.