Illinois State University agrees to operate Peoria station

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WGLT in Normal, Ill., will take over operations of WCBU in Peoria this spring.

The program and management agreement between the radio stations, effective this week, calls for WCBU to remain under the ownership of Bradley University in Peoria. The station will retain its news format, call letters, frequency and community advisory board. It will maintain a presence on Bradley’s campus, according to a news release.

The contract covers five years with options to renew. The transition will take place by June 1.

Illinois State University, WGLT’s licensee, will take over personnel operations from Bradley as part of the agreement. Contracts for Bradley’s WCBU employees will run through May 31. “There will be a reduction in staff,” said Zach Gorman, Bradley’s chief information officer, in the release.

“We are working with WCBU employees to identify opportunities that fit their skills,” he said. “Some of those opportunities could be available at WCBU under the management of ISU.”

While some WCBU roles will be combined with WGLT’s current staff, “there will be staff committed solely to WCBU, and they will be housed on Bradley’s campus,” WGLT GM R.C. McBride said in the release.

A draft organizational chart in the contract includes roles for a news director, three reporter/hosts and an underwriting position. It also includes part-time roles for correspondents and a chief engineer.

McBride added that he hopes to build up WCBU’s local content.

ISU will take control of fundraising contributions, and funds raised for WCBU will be held in a separate account for station operations.

As part of the deal, a WGLT translator in Peoria that simulcasts the station will begin airing a classical format now airing on a WCBU HD channel.

The two universities discussed earlier this year WGLT taking over operations of WCBU after Bradley University said it could not afford to move WCBU’s studios from a campus building set for demolition this year.

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