Well, we asked for it (OK, passively), and now we've got it (Yay!): Come this fall, the 91.7 frequency on your FM dial will be all music, all the time. The folks at KERA just sent out a press release announcing that their organization has purchased the frequency and has chosen the AAA format (Adult Album Alternative) as its flavor of choice.
Also, the station says it will potentially pick up other NPR-affiliated shows to fill out its schedule:
"Among the programs under consideration for the new station are World Café (distributed by NPR), Echoes (from Public Radio International), Undercurrents (from Native Voice One), American Routes (from American Public Media), plus music specials. NPR news headlines will be broadcast at the top of the hour. KERA's own local programs will include interviews, studio performances and arts-related news and commentary."
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Here's hoping for Sound Opinions, too, while we're at it.
We'll have more on this news--best of the day, I'd have to say--in the coming
hours/days/weeks minutes, but in the meantime, check out the press release, posted in full, after the jump.
Update: Deborah Johnson, the senior veep of marketing at KERA, provides further details on Unfair Park, including the purchase price of the frequency: $18 million.
KERA Acquires 91.7 FM
North Texas Multimedia Organization Adds New Public Radio Station
DALLAS/FORT WORTH - North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc. (KERA) announced today that it has purchased the non-commercial radio license
91.7 FM, a full-market station with broadcast coverage in greater Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.
"This acquisition allows KERA to significantly advance its mission and strategic direction by increasing public media services for the people of North Texas," says Mary Anne Alhadeff, KERA's President & CEO. "The new station will be a public radio music format programmed with the North Texas audience in mind. It will be a terrific complement to KERA's news and information station 90.1 FM and a substantial addition to KERA's overall multimedia services for the public." The new station will begin broadcasting its full schedule in the fall of 2009.
KERA has yet to select a name for the new station. The programming on
91.7 FM will be within the public radio "Triple A" (Adult Album Alternative) music format with diverse, adult-oriented playlists covering a broad spectrum of music such as folk, acoustic, world music, alternative and indie rock and country. Among the programs under consideration for the new station are World Café (distributed by NPR), Echoes (from Public Radio International), Undercurrents (from Native Voice One), American Routes (from American Public Media), plus music specials. NPR news headlines will be broadcast at the top of the hour. KERA's own local programs will include interviews, studio performances and arts-related news and commentary.
For years, KERA's public radio station 90.1 FM carried a mix of news and music. In 1996, the weekday format was changed to news and information in order to provide the strongest possible public-affairs programming. "I arrived at the station in late 2005," recalls Alhadeff, "and right away I heard from long-time listeners who said that they appreciated the expanded public radio news schedule but missed the music programs." During two radio audience focus groups in 2008, the loss of the music programs was still remembered. Nothing similar has taken its place on free, non-commercial radio in the North Texas broadcast area.
KERA spent 18 months working to address all purchase and programming considerations, complete a thorough business review and secure financing. Dan Routman, Chairman of KERA's Board of Directors, said, "The decision to purchase 91.7 FM was made by KERA's Board of Directors. KERA sought competitive financing and was able to negotiate favorable terms even in today's economic environment." Financing was secured from nonprofit-focused lenders. KERA purchased 91.7 FM from Covenant Educational Media, Inc.
The opportunity to purchase the station was presented to KERA in 2007 by PRC (Public Radio Capital), a national nonprofit organization that works to strengthen public radio. "Rarely do non-commercial radio licenses become available," according to Erik Langner, Director of Acquisitions at PRC. "The greater Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton area has only three full-market FM non-commercial FCC licenses: KERA 90.1 FM, 91.7 FM, and one other. The availability of 91.7 FM was an extremely rare opportunity and we immediately thought of KERA. There exists a very strong relationship between KERA and the communities it serves over the air and online. Also of significant consideration were KERA's strong financial position and experienced senior management."