Cincinnati’s WGUC acquires seven-station X-Star Network

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WGUC will buy another Cincinnati public radio operation, WVXU and six affiliated repeater stations, from Xavier University. The sale price of $15 million is the second-largest sum ever paid for a pubradio license, WGUC President Richard Eiswerth told the Cincinnati Post last week.

Selling WVXU was “tough but very necessary,” said Xavier’s president, Michael Graham. The Cincinnati school will use the funds to build a student learning and residential center. The deal had been in the works since September but kept under wraps, according to WGUC.

With the acquisition, WGUC will likely become a full-time classical station — it now airs some news programming — and WVXU will focus on news and talk, Eiswerth said. “Obtaining a second frequency to better serve both our classical and news audiences has been a core part of WGUC’s ongoing strategic plan for the past five years,” he said.

According to the Post, WGUC’s bid was not the highest Xavier officials received, but they felt the match would keep WVXU a locally owned pubradio station. The deal, brokered with the aid of Public Radio Capital, must be approved by the FCC.

Jim King, the guiding force behind WVXU and the six other stations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan that comprise the X-Star Network, stepped down as GM Dec. 31 after 28 years. He planned to teach communication arts at Xavier.

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