Miami University and Cincinnati Public Radio (CPR) are actively negotiating an operating agreement for CPR to manage WMUB 88.5 FM, its NPR-affiliated radio station, in order to continue to provide public radio services to listeners of WMUB while addressing the university's projected budget deficit. Public Radio Capital, a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen public radio, has assisted both groups with the negotiations.
WMUB has broadcast from Miami University for 58 years, however, due to its rural location and signal strength, it has not been able to achieve the audience and listener pledges that urban-based public radio stations receive. Consequently WMUB receives more than $500,000 in annual direct subsidy from the university plus more than $300,000 in indirect support.
"We have come to this decision with deep regret because of our long history with WMUB and the excellent staff there now, but the financial obligation of WMUB can no longer be borne by the university with the economic challenges we face," said Miami President David Hodge.
The university chose not to sell the station, as it would have likely meant losing the public radio programming that it now provides to the Miami Valley.
This decision follows a two-year process of exploring options for the future of WMUB, which did not result in an economically viable way to continue WMUB as a stand-alone station. Under this operating agreement, WMUB would join public radio stations WGUC FM and WVXU FM, which are owned and operated by Cincinnati Public Radio. WVXU and WMUB currently offer similar programming. With this alliance, WMUB will maintain its emphasis on news and information offerings on 88.5 FM as well as offer opportunities for student development.
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 would create a radio alliance that would serve both WMUB's audience and the rest of the tri-state region, and, under this agreement, Miami would also receive air time to promote both its faculty expertise and its cultural, arts and educational programs to a broader audience in Greater Cincinnati and throughout southwest Ohio.
President Hodge, Provost Jeffrey Herbst and Vice President for Finance and Business Services David Creamer will host a community forum to provide background on plans for the station at 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 28, in 102 Benton Hall on High Street on Miami's Oxford campus.
Cincinnati Public Radio representatives Richard N. Eiswerth and Chris Phelps will also be present.
History of the decision and more details are found here.