Independence or merger for Pittsburgh’s WDUQ?

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The editorial pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have become a battleground over the future of WDUQ, the NPR News and jazz station recently offered for sale by Duquesne University. Supporters of WDUQ’s current management, who formed the nonprofit Pittsburgh Public Media to buy the station and preserve its service on 90.5 FM, are fending off a take-over bid by WQED-TV/FM, which has been public about its interest in picking up NPR News programming should PPM fail. “Unless 90.5 FM is taken over by an entity with a financially solid base, such as WQED, I’m worried that the station would not be able to afford the high standards of national and local news programming to which we’ve become accustomed,” William Byham, a WQED board member, editorialized on March 24. Today, two PPM board members defend WDUQ’s legacy and paint a different picture of the proposed merger: “The merger of two public radio stations . . . would forever change the culture and character of both stations,” PPM’s Joe Kelly and Andrea Fitting wrote. “This would be a case where the sum becomes less than the parts and the loser is the listening public. Suggesting a merger also doesn’t address the realities of funding. The license is not going to be given away; it’s being sold.”