Indianapolis-based WFYI Public Media will expand to the Terre Haute, Ind., market next month through a rebroadcast deal with Indiana State University.
Terre Haute–based Indiana State University owns a pair of signals in the city, WISU-FM 89.7 and WZIS-FM 90.7. Under the noncash deal announced Wednesday, the university will move the student station from WISU to WZIS, with the 13,500-watt WISU rebroadcasting WFYI’s news/talk programming starting in mid-September.
WZIS, formerly WMHD-FM, was previously owned by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute and aired music programmed by students. Indiana State bought the 1,400-watt station in June for $16,465, according to FCC records.
“This arrangement will satisfy a need for a fulltime NPR news and information station in the Wabash Valley while continuing Indiana State’s 50-year tradition of providing experiential learning for student broadcasters,” said Indiana State University President Dan Bradley in a statement.
According to 2013 U.S. Census population estimates, the Terre Haute metropolitan area has 172,195 residents in four counties. WFYI said the move gives the station a 10 percent boost in potential listenership and access to a portion of Illinois as well.
WFYI will offer internship opportunities to Indiana State and Rose-Hulman students.
Worth noting that my alma mater, WFIU in Bloomington, has already had a translator in Terre Haute for years, broadcasting on 95.1. This sets up an interesting situation: battle of the repeaters. I wonder if this will test WFIU and WFYI’s relationship. They’ve previously collaborated on statehouse coverage.
At least WFYI did this right in not sacrificing a student-run outlet.
In either case, I think it would be the university that owns the station making the sacrifice, not the public radio station with which administrators are partnering.
While you are correct – it is a decision made by Rose-Hulman and ISU, not by WFYI – the perception can be that an NPR affiliate is seen by fans of the student-run station as “taking over” even if that’s not the intention. I would like to see the translator also go to R-H or ISU, and then use the HD2 > Translator trick to put R-H’s student run webstream on it. Then we’d end up with NPR moving from a tiny signal to a huge one, and both student run stations taking a signal downgrade but staying on the air.
Otherwise, it’d be a neat idea for WFYI to pick up the translator and put WFYI2 on it.