The next phase in the sale of WDUQ will be a long process including fundraising and a public awareness campaign. But the work will be done behind closed doors. Station management and Public Radio Capital – a nonprofit group helping to preserve public radio – and the Pittsburgh Foundation are looking at ways to keep the station’s format in place under new ownership. As a result, a new nonprofit organization called Pittsburgh Public Media has been created. ‘DUQ’s General Manager Scott Hanley tells the Post-Gazette, “Pittsburgh Public Media and its board are engaged in confidential conversations with many different businesses, community organizations and institutions about potential collaborations.” Hanley and others remain very tight-lipped about any other possible plans.
According to the PG article, CMS Station Brokerage lists the WDUQ license at $12 million, but civic leaders believe the value to be closer to $5 million. The 25,000-watt Pittsburgh signal and the four translators expanding the signal to other regions, make the station appealing to other potential buyers including nonprofits, community groups, and religious organizations.
Meanwhile, ‘DUQ is the largest overall listenership of out of the three public stations – including WYEP and WQED-FM.
So, what if WDUQ’s format of jazz and NPR programming is taken away? Both WYEP (91.3) and WQED-FM (89.3) have shown interest in preserving the signal. WQED has offered to pick up NPR programming and even share services and studio space if ‘DUQ becomes independent. Regardless of what happens, WQED Multimedia executive vice president and COO Deborah Acklin says the variety of public radio programming will be preserved in Pittsburgh. WYEP has also offered to help, but has not released any specific details of their plans except to also offer studio space in a yet-to-be-finished part of their new building.
Meanwhile, WQED is ready to pick up the NPR programming like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” if the need becomes likely and may seek the options of using HD channels or online streaming of the programs. The station has also expressed the possibility of staffing a newsroom for local news coverage while continuing its classical music programming.