February 9, 2022

Purdue finalizes agreement to transfer WBAA to Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University and Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media have signed the asset purchase agreement that moves forward the plan to transition WBAA radio AM and FM from Purdue to MIPM.

MIPM currently operates WFYI public broadcasting in central Indiana and has jointly filed paperwork for the license transfer with the Federal Communications Commission, which typically takes 30-60 days to respond. The organizations expect the closing date for the license transfer to occur in late spring.

Purdue announced on July 1 the intent to partner with WFYI/MIPM to ensure the future of WBAA radio, continuing the WBAA mission of local news, increased student internship opportunities and enhanced public service offerings.

As a condition of the transfer, 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.

 “We are pleased to reach this milestone as we work to ensure a bright future for WBAA radio, its listeners and our students,” said R. Ethan Braden, Purdue senior vice president for marketing and communications. “Many thanks go to all those who have worked through important details over these past months. We are excited about the preservation of public radio from Purdue and the enhancements that will come through this partnership with MIPM and WFYI.”

Greg Petrowich, president and CEO of WFYI/MIPM, said, “Our full team is excited to serve the Greater Lafayette community, carry on the meaningful legacy of WBAA, and discover ways to deepen services to both this new part of our listenership and our longtime audience members.”

Announced Wednesday (Feb. 9), the APA (asset purchase agreement) calls for:

  • WFYI/MIPM to assume operations and management of WBAA radio AM and FM as of the closing date of the purchase, to be determined following FCC approval.
  • WFYI/MIPM to provide to Purdue University underwriting credit of $700,000 for announcements on WFYI’s network of stations over a 10-year period.
  • WFYI/MIPM to provide no less than $300,000 worth of paid student internships at the combined stations, to include expanded learning and development opportunities in positions spanning broadcasting, digital media, sales and marketing and more.
  • WFYI/MIPM to gain ownership of equipment needed to operate the radio station at the current studio in Elliott Hall of Music on Purdue’s campus and at transmitter sites in Tippecanoe County owned by Purdue and Purdue Research Foundation.
  • Purdue to provide an investment to WFYI/MIPM of $250,000 per year for the first two years of the agreement to offset some initial operating costs.
  • Purdue to retain ownership and maintenance of the physical structures, including radio towers for both AM and FM transmission located on Purdue and Purdue Research Foundation land, and studio space in Elliott Hall of Music, and for which WFYI/MIPM will pay a nominal annual license fee.

Other aspects of the transfer are:

  • Four current employees of WBAA radio AM and FM will transition to full-time employment with WFYI/MIPM.
  • Donors who retain WBAA membership and who donate at least $60 annually will 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.
  • Current WBAA program and underwriting partners will gain access to a broader listenership via shared programming that will also air on WFYI stations.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities 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 https://purdue.edu/.

About WFYI Public Media & Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media 

Since 1970, WFYI Public Media has served Central Indiana as a trusted friend. Its nonprofit public radio and TV stations, digital engagement and community engagement activities inform, entertain and educate Hoosiers of all ages and walks of life. WFYI broadcasts original content, as well as PBS and NPR programs. Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM) is the parent organization of WFYI Public Media. Learn more at wfyi.org

Media contact: Tim Doty, doty2@purdue.edu


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