July 7, 2021

Purdue Trustees approve proposed partnership with Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media for future of WBAA radio

Purdue University Trustees on Wednesday (July 7) ratified a proposal to enter an agreement for WBAA radio AM and FM to be operated by Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM), which currently operates WFYI public broadcasting in central Indiana, with the goal of enhancing the station’s public service mission and offerings while preserving WBAA’s strong local heritage.

“Like we’ve seen done at many other higher education institutions, Purdue University has been looking for a public radio partner to lead WBAA toward its next 100 years in Greater Lafayette,” said R. Ethan Braden, Purdue senior vice president for marketing and communications. “WFYI is a strong public broadcasting entity, well-known and respected throughout Indiana, and we believe this agreement represents enhanced opportunities for our students, it preserves the experience that listeners enjoy today, and it extends WBAA’s reach and public service offerings.”

Pending approval of the license transfer by the Federal Communications Commission, MIPM is expected to assume operations of WBAA on or around Oct. 1.

Through the proposed agreement, WBAA will maintain its call letters, its strong heritage and its physical presence in Greater Lafayette. Local news and reporting, NPR and global news, and classical music — mainstays of WBAA’s current lineup — will continue to be aired on WBAA-AM and WBAA-FM and its digital frequencies.

Details are still to be determined, but enhancements are expected to include:

  • Purdue students in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, WBAA’s internship partner, will have access to expanded learning and development opportunities both locally with WBAA and through the larger MIPM and WFYI networks, in positions spanning broadcasting, digital media, sales and marketing, and more.
  • WBAA members who donate at least $60 annually would receive a complimentary WFYI Passport membership (including access to a robust video streaming library of PBS and local programs) as part of the transition, an added membership perk for WFYI members that is not currently available for WBAA members.
  • Program and underwriting partners will gain access to a broader listenership via shared programming that will also air on WFYI stations.

“We are so pleased to work with Purdue University — a world-class research institution — on preserving its public service mission through WBAA,” said Greg Petrowich, president and CEO of Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media. “Through this agreement, we will strengthen and build on WBAA’s commitment to listeners and the communities served by WFYI and WBAA.”

WBAA-AM received its broadcast license on April 4, 1922. It is Indiana's longest continuously operating radio station, one of several AM stations signed on by land-grant schools in the early days of radio. WBAA-FM began broadcasting in 1993. WFYI recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of operations.

This transition is subject to approval by the FCC, expected in September.

For additional information, see FAQ.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu

About Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media

Since 1970, WFYI has served Central Indiana as a trusted friend. Its public radio and television stations and its community engagement activities inform, entertain and educate Hoosiers of all ages and walks of life. WFYI broadcasts original content as well as programming from PBS and NPR. WFYI is always here for you. Learn more at wfyi.org. Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media is the parent organization of WFYI public media.

Media contact: Tim Doty, Purdue director of media relations, doty2@purdue.edu

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