Management deal a likely outcome for WBFO in Buffalo

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Two Buffalo pubradio licensees may be moving toward a licensee management agreement under which independent nonprofit WNED would operate the university-owned WBFO, the licensees announced Sept. 15. SUNY’s University at Buffalo, which owns the stronger news station, WBFO, “is committed to remaining as the license-holder for WBFO and its repeater stations,” according to the joint statement. But the university also wants to reduce its contribution to operating costs. When its station manager took another job last fall, the university didn’t hire a permanent successor. The two are continuing “cordial and collaborative” talks and expect to conclude them by year’s end, the statement said.

At least two dozen universities, squeezed by the recession, have also been considering the licensee management agreement option, or consolidating their stations with others, or selling them outright, according to a July survey by pubradio’s University Station Alliance. That was the situation reported by 26 stations, or nearly a fifth of those responding to the alliance survey.