N.C. university sells jazz stations to religious broadcaster

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Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., announced last week that it sold WSHA, its long-running public radio station, and two additional frequencies to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation.

The university sold the station to help fund modernization of its communications department, according to a press release.

WSHA airs a mix of jazz, public affairs and NPR and PRI programming. It will continue to operate online.

EMF will receive WSHA 88.9 FM in Raleigh and two translators in Rocky Mount and Fayetteville. The university will keep the call letters and broadcasting equipment. The university did not release a sale price, and university and station representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

WSHA signed on in 1968, making it the first public radio station owned by a historically black institution, according to the university.

The move to purchase the frequency 50 years ago “was an innovative move by the University,” said Shaw University Interim President Paulette Dillard in the release. “Fifty years later, the media landscape has evolved. Shaw is proud to remain at the forefront of innovation in communications and media arts, and in other areas of importance to the City of Raleigh and the State of North Carolina.”

A Change.org petition started by station supporters who hope to stop the sale has drawn more than 1,900 signatures. The petition’s page says WSHA “played a pivotal role in keeping the public & African American community in particular informed about political and educational information which helped to transform the lives of the citizens of Raleigh-Durham.”

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