Reader JP saw this Boston Globe article last month about competition between public radio stations WGBH and WBUR heating Boston’s radio dial. That inspired JP to ask via our Currently Curious project: “How many cities have a duplicate NPR/PBS station”?
We looked into this to find an answer. As it turns out, it’s a more common situation in public television. According to PBS, 11 cities are home to two public TV stations:
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Tampa, Fla.
- Bowling Green, Ky.
- Washington, D.C.
This excludes markets in which viewers might be able to watch more than one station, but the broadcasters don’t share a city.
Two of those cities, however, will no longer be duplicate markets by the end of the year. The licensees of WYBE in Philadelphia and WUSF in Tampa sold their stations’ spectrum in the FCC auction. Those stations plan to sign off in coming months.
As with public TV, NPR listeners in many locations can pick up more than one station. But according to Tom Thomas, co-CEO of Station Resource Group, only a few cities are home to more than one NPR station:
- Boston (WBUR, WGBH)
- Atlanta (Georgia Public Broadcasting, WABE)
- San Francisco (KQED, KALW)
- Los Angeles (KCRW, KPCC)
Reader Mike Marcotte also points out that Albuquerque, N.M., falls into this category, with KUNM and KANW. And Mike Crane, director of Wisconsin Public Radio, wrote to tell us that Milwaukee listeners can hear NPR programs on both WUWM and a WPR station.
Thomas pointed to several other cities that are both home to an NPR station and where a second station from out of town gets a significant audience:
- Detroit (WDET and Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor)
- Cleveland (WCPN and WKSU in Kent, Ohio)
- Providence, R.I. (Rhode Island Public Radio and WGBH)
- Oklahoma City (KGOU and KOSU in Norman, Okla.)
- Seattle (KUOW and KNKX in Tacoma, Wash.)
UPDATE: After posting, we heard from Roger Duvall, station manager of WEKU in Richmond, Ky.
WEKU and WUKY are on the same broadcast tower in Lexington, KY with other stations not that far away (WKYU BGreen, WMKY Morehead)
— Roger (@rdduvall) July 27, 2017
WEKU and WUKY are still located in different cities, but WEKU does serve a significant Lexington population, so we’re adding this one here.
We also overlooked that WHYY and WXPN in Philadelphia are both NPR member stations, as are WETA and WAMU in Washington, D.C.
Are we missing any cities you’d add? If you live in one of these markets, are you yay or nay on duplication? Let us know with a comment.
Correction: An earlier version of this article provided the incorrect location for a pair of PBS stations. It is Bowling Green, Ky., not Bowling Green, Ohio. It also listed incorrect radio stations serving Atlanta. The stations are Georgia Public Broadcasting and WABE, not Georgia Public Broadcasting and WRAS.
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