Essential Public Media unveiled plans to operate 90.5 FM in Pittsburgh, the station now broadcasting NPR News and jazz as WDUQ, as an all-news station as of July 1.
Dennis Hamilton, a public radio veteran who is director of consulting for Public Radio Capital, will manage the new station on an interim basis.
Under a $6 million license transfer agreement now pending at the FCC, the station will get new call letters, and its new owners will reconfigure Pittsburgh’s public radio landscape by launching the city’s first all-news public radio service.
Jazz music programming, which fans of current format had hoped to preserve, will air on an HD Radio channel and Internet audio stream; six hours of jazz programming are slated for Saturday nights on the main broadcast channel. JazzWorks, the nationally syndicated jazz programming stream originating from WDUQ, will continue production under the new owners.
The partners behind the new station are Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting, licensee of Triple A station WYEP, and Public Media Company, a new subsidiary of Public Radio Capital. In addition, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Heinz Endowments, and the Pittsburgh Foundation have jointly committed more than $3 million towards its purchase and operations, according to a news release.
For the news service, EPM is developing two radio programs: Essential Pittsburgh, an hour-long interview call-in show; and Sounds of the City, a weekly news round-up. The line-up includes the pubradio mainstays already airing on WDUQ, such as NPR’s news magazines, Fresh Air, Marketplace and This American Life.
The station will also publish news online at EssentialPublicMedia.org, and has forged a content partnership with PublicSource, a foundation-backed online news-start up run by Pittsburgh Filmmakers.