CapRadio takes on management of Humboldt State’s KHSU

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California’s CapRadio took over management Thursday of Humboldt State University’s KHSU in Arcata and four other stations licensed to the school.

Under the management and programming agreement, announced Tuesday by HSU, Sacramento’s CapRadio and North State Public Radio in Chico are handling daily operations and programming of the HSU stations. CapRadio began management of NSPR in October under a separate agreement with licensee Chico State University.

CapRadio and NSPR will also “conduct market research and community listening sessions to determine the needs of the local audience,” according to the HSU release.

“This is a promising new partnership that achieves our goals and opens up new possibilities for the future,” said Frank Whitlatch, VP for university advancement, in the release. “HSU students will continue to have internship opportunities at KHSU, with the added benefit of the expertise at CapRadio, and our North Coast communities will have a connection to state and national public radio programming.”

KHSU airs NPR news shows, PRX’s The World and the BBC World Service. HSU’s agreement with CapRadio includes an option to add campus-produced programming.

CapRadio began providing operational support for KHSU in August 2019, several months after the university laid off most of the station’s staff. At the time, HSU cited a need to reduce spending and to address “operational challenges” at the station. It also sought to “better align HSU’s financial support with its mission and with opportunities for students.”

In its release last week, the university said, “With the cost-sharing for programming, management and other efficiencies, HSU expects to continue to realize annual savings of more than $250,000 that previously subsidized the stations, as well as significant savings from reduced space use and other soft costs.”

HSU’s agreement with CapRadio does not include two stations licensed to the university that air Radio Bilingüe programming and a third station in Trinidad, Calif., that broadcasts BBC shows. Those stations’ program lineups will not change.

Upon announcing its management agreement for NSPR, CapRadio estimated a $1.3 million increase in operating income from earned revenue from NSPR’s operations in the first year of the partnership. It does not expect a similar boost as a result of the KHSU agreement “as we focus efforts on regaining the audience’s trust in the station and rebuilding KHSU’s donor base,” said a CapRadio spokesperson.

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