Utah pubcaster to acquire KCPW

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KCPW in Salt Lake City will be sold to KUER and PBS Utah, the stations announced Wednesday. 

“We are uniquely positioned to keep this spot on the dial locally owned and in public service,” KUER and PBS Utah Executive Director Maria O’Mara said in a press release. “And our intention is to grow that service for a more diverse and younger audience.”

The format on KCPW’s 88.3 FM signal will switch to bilingual programming with music and news provided by Radio Bilingüe. KUER has been airing the bilingual programming on an HD subchannel since May. 

Utah Public Radio will continue to produce and broadcast KCPW’s weekly programs Beyond the Headlines, a local news show; Both Sides of the Aisle, a political debate program; and Jazz Time with Steve Williams.

Producers of KCPW’s original programs will not join UPR staff, said Tom Williams, station manager. Williams has been hosting Behind the Headlines since January and will continue to do so, he said. UPR will continue to contract with the producer of Both Sides of the Aisle and will take over editing of Jazz Time.

KCPW announced in September that its FM license would be going to auction Oct. 9. 

An unattributed statement posted on KCPW’s website in September said “numerous factors spanning a long period of time” led to the decision to sell the license. “[A]ll of us feel a combination of emotions, including regret, over the fact that it has come to this point,” the statement said. 

“[T]he initial purchase price of the station, the recession that followed, and a global pandemic and its aftereffects were all contributing factors.”

The transfer is subject to FCC approval, which is expected no later than April 30, 2024.

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