History of this decision:
In January 2007, Miami President David Hodge asked a committee to provide a strategic perspective on WMUB's future, including assessing "the investment that Miami currently provides WMUB and examine the full range of alternatives to the current financial commitment. … I specifically request that the committee carefully evaluate the efficacy of the current arrangement and the options of merging with or taking over management of another station, selling the station, or other actions that would significantly redefine Miami's financial investment in WMUB."
The committee's report, delivered in September 2007, confirmed "WMUB faces serious challenges in raising funds through underwriting and membership." Working with public radio consultants and receiving input from various stakeholders, the committee produced four possible paths for the station, two of which involved creating potential partnerships with public or commercial media in the region, and/or sharing resources. The committee's major recommendation was to pursue a partnership with Dayton-area public stations, but efforts to do that over the past year did not yield viable solutions.
WMUB refocused its format in August to include more news to try to satisfy its demographic, but unfortunately, it did not help raise listener contributions. Programming changes usually take several months if not years before new listeners respond with financial support.
Miami's subsidy in 2006 covered approximately 62 percent of WMUB's full $1.7 million budget. Of the more than 185 public radio stations licensed to U.S. universities, the average subsidy is approximately 37 percent.
WMUB has progressively reduced costs, trimming $230,000 over the past four years to be operating at a minimal budget, but it still cannot function without significant university funding.
The most difficult part of the transition is the loss of seven full-time and three part-time positions at WMUB. The staff can remain university employees until June 30 and the university will offer assistance in career counseling and job searches.
The near future:
Miami will retain the broadcast license to WMUB. Listeners will still hear those call letters at the top of the hour. Miami University will obtain a seat on the CPR board of directors, thus helping ensure that the interests of the university, as well as the greater Oxford area, are served.
It is anticipated the change of operations will take place March 1.
WMUB's 35,000 listeners will hear two-thirds of the same programming they're used to and have the opportunity to enjoy additional news, information and entertainment programs, including Marketplace, The Splendid Table, Jazz with OT, Blues with Lee Hay, and Echoes.
About Cincinnati Public Radio:
Cincinnati Public Radio is committed to preserving public radio's service to the tri-state region and is honored to be asked to form this alliance with Miami University. As part of the negotiation process CPR is determining the feasibility of managing WMUB as a news and information station and maintaining its long tenure of public radio service to the university and surrounding communities.
Cincinnati Public Radio is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that owns and operates 90.9 WGUC and 91.7 WVXU. Its mission is to bring the finest classical music and news and information programming to the people of the tri-state. CPR accomplishes this via a variety of over-the-air radio broadcast services, on-line Internet streams and on-demand downloads.
Cincinnati Public Radio is led by a 20-member volunteer board of directors with additional input provided by a 30-member community advisory board.
WGUC has been a leader in the public radio system throughout its history. The station was one of the first in the nation to meet the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's qualification standards and a charter member of National Public Radio. WGUC was also one of the first NPR uplinks; the producer of the first digital west-to-east transatlantic broadcast; and is the only public radio station with an ongoing music-commissioning program.
In 2003, WGUC was the first public radio station in Ohio to broadcast an HD Radio signal. And, in 2006, WGUC became the first station in America to broadcast in Surround Sound.
WVXU became a part of Cincinnati Public Radio in 2005. Its programming was focused on news and information and WGUC became a full-time classical station. Evenings and weekends feature classic radio shows, BBC world news and music programs showcasing blues, swing and jazz.
In 2007, WVXU launched a digital HD Radio signal and began multicasting which enabled the award-winning woxy.com, "the Future of Rock and Roll," to return to Cincinnati's airwaves after several years as an Internet only radio station.
Because of this dedication to quality public radio, both in content and in the most current broadcasting technologies, Cincinnati Public Radio is committed to doing everything within its resources to develop this alliance with Miami University on behalf of the listeners of WMUB.