Breaking News
More () »

Kent State University and Ideastream to move forward with operating partnership

Ideastream Public Media will begin operating WKSU. Kent State University will retain FCC licensing for the WKSU stations.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story. 

Effective October 1, 2021 Ideastream Public Media and WKSU public radio will enter a new operating service agreement, both organizations announced today.  

According to Kent State University and Ideastream Public Media, the decision to pursue this agreement was reinforced by an analysis that the two organizations conducted earlier this year. That analysis found Ideastream and WKSU could realize several efficiencies by working together, resulting in strong public service reporting in the region. This partnership will expand their programming outreach from 2.4 million to 3.6 million and serve 22 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Once the merger is in effect, WKSU will become the region’s NPR news and information station, with repeater stations in Ashland, Mansfield, New Philadelphia, Norwalk, Thompson and Wooster continuing to serve their local markets.

Meanwhile, Ideastream Public Media will reformat 104.9 FM to serve an additional repeater station for WKSU programming, bolstering coverage in the Cleveland area. The call letters associated with 104.9 FM will change from WCLV to WCPN.

Once the agreement is in full effect, staff members will start working to develop a phased operational plan that will allow them to deliver local, national and statewide news, on all broadcast, digital and on-demand platforms. 

Until that plan is finalized and established, WKSU and WCPN will continue to operate as separate NPR stations.

Both organizations said all members of WKSU’s staff are being offered positions at Ideastream Public Media’s expanded operation. The combined media organization plans to employ approximately 150 employees, including more than 40 staff members in a new unified newsroom. 

RELATED: LIST: Here are the colleges and universities across Northeast Ohio requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for staff and students

RELATED: Volunteer helps WVIZ get Ideastream programming on the air