The University of Missouri and KBIA announced today the purchase of 90.5FM KWWC from Stephens College. Pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), MU will pay Stephens College $50,000 for the station in addition to providing the college with $50,000 in underwriting over a five-year period.
According to KBIA director Michael Dunn, the deal could be finalized as early as February, at which time 90.5FM would begin broadcasting classical music 24 hours a day. KBIA would then become a daytime news station broadcasting news programs from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m. The station will continue to air classical music at night.
“What we want to be in the community is a station that you can rely on for news all day,” Dunn said, adding, “That means we need our students to be producing stories between 9 and 3.”
As part of the deal, Stephens will retain the KWWC call letters and will continue to broadcast in an online-only format.
“It’s what our students are listening to and it’s what our students are asking for,” Stephens College director of marketing and communications Rebecca Kline said of online radio. “They want their family and friends around the country to be able to hear their radio programming.”
Dunn estimated the cost of acquiring equipment to run a second station would total “under $50,000.” Acquisition of additional programming, including news programming for 91.3FM and classical music for 90.5FM, would cost an additional $50,000 annually, which Dunn said would be paid for with listener gifts and business sponsorships. To that end, each station will hold two pledge drives per year.
At 1,250 watts, 90.5FM is a lower powered station than the 100,000 watt 91.3FM, which means the footprint of daytime classical music in mid-Missouri will be reduced.
“If you live outside of Boone County, you probably won’t be able to hear the Stephens station,” Dunn said. Though he added, “we are going to stream the station so if you live outside of Boone County and you want to hear classical music via that station you can do it with an internet radio or with your computer.”
Dunn said no decision had been made about the new call letters for the all classical station, noting, "if people have suggestions, we're open to that."