WMFE sale due in part to PBS dues, station president says

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Jose Fajardo, president of WMFE in Orlando, told WMFE-FM today (April 4) that station management and the board “looked at mergers, partnerships, going the KCET route as an independent public TV station” before deciding on the sale, announced April 1. “The numbers just didn’t add up, no matter which alternative we looked at.” One insurmountable problem he cited: PBS dues. He said WMFE pays about $1 million dollars a year, and he said that could increase up to 37 percent under a new formula the network is considering. Meanwhile, its pledge support is down 34 percent since 2007.

After WMFE’s sale announcement, PBS released a statement saying: “PBS learned today of WMFE’s decision to sell its television station. PBS member stations hold licenses locally and a station’s Board of Directors makes decisions regarding how to provide the best service to their local community. We will work with WMFE to ensure a smooth transition during this process and to ensure that the people of Orlando continue to benefit from the full range of high-quality PBS content and services. … PBS’ goal is to have a financially stable service in the Orlando market and will look to other member station partners to achieve this.”