Reeling from funding losses, WQUB seeks partnership with commercial operator

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WQUB in Quincy, Ill., plans to dismiss its professional on-air staff as of June 1 and turn most of its operations over to WGEM, a commercial radio/TV outlet affilated with NBC. Quincy University, WQUB’s licensee, is reducing its $250k subsidy for the NPR News and music station but doesn’t want to sell it, says Bob Weirather, g.m. “That is not in their mind at all. What we’re trying to do is get more community support for the station.” The station doesn’t qualify for state funding because Quincy is a private university. Last year, it fell out of CPB funding criteria and lost half of its $90,000 Community Service Grant, according to Weirather. It also was disqualified from funding by the Illinois Arts Council. The relationship with WGEM, reported March 9 by the Quincy-Herald Whig, is under negotiation, but Wierather expects that WGEM’s talent will announce programming and student interns will continue to host air-shifts. “Our programming will be unchanged, but the voices may be different,” Weirather said. “We will still determine the programming and content.” WQUB’s 28,000-watt signal broadcasts to rural western Illinois and northeastern Missouri, reaching a potential audience of 119,000.