Capital Public Radio considers management agreement with Chico station

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Two California public radio stations announced Wednesday that they are exploring a management agreement that would connect one of the state’s largest broadcasters with one of the smallest.

Capital Public Radio in Sacramento and North State Public Radio in Chico are conducting a three-month study about a possible public service operating agreement, according to a press release. The PSOA would involve sharing costs of programming, engineering, management and other services. 

The agreement would also give NSPR access to backup engineers and programming, as well as membership, development, marketing and public relations departments. “Currently, all those functions lie with me only,” NSPR GM Phil Wilke said in an email. It would also enable NSPR to hire two reporters and help its small staff “draw upon the considerable resources of CapRadio’s newsroom,” Wilke said.

Both stations are owned by universities in the California State Universities system. Capital Public Radio is licensed to Sacramento State University, and NSPR is licensed to Chico State University. 

Under the PSOA, each station would retain its own donations. The stations have hired Public Media Co. to complete the study.

Initial talks about the partnership included KHSU in Arcata, according to Wilke. The station’s licensee, Humboldt State University, laid off most of the station’s staff earlier this year, and remaining staff members resigned. A university spokesperson said in May that the school was discussing possible collaborations with other public radio stations.

But the university decided not to proceed with the partnership talks. “They may re-join the conversation later on or they may choose to keep their station in house,” Wilke said.

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