Minnesota Public Radio seeks to sell its Idaho station

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Tony Webster via Creative Commons//Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota Public Radio's building in St. Paul.

Minnesota Public Radio is selling KWRV in Sun Valley, Idaho, to the licensee of Boise State Public Radio. 

Pending FCC approval, the sale would be for $120,000, according to the asset purchase agreement.

MPR President Duchesne Drew said in a statement provided to Current that the “time is right to pass the KWRV legacy on to another trusted, listener supported station—one based in and with a long history of serving their region.”

“Minnesota Public Radio is proud of our pioneering history in Idaho,” he said. “In 1993, KWRV was established, and classical music was broadcast to audiences in the Sun Valley/Hailey/Ketchum region for the first time.”

“We are pleased to have found a good steward and partner” with BSPR, he said. 

An MPR spokesperson told Current that the sale is “not part of any additional movement of assets.”

MPR currently airs a classical format on KWRV. After taking over operation of the station, BSPR will program it with its music service, which features mostly classical along with programs such as World Cafe.  

BSPR’s addition of KWRV “allows us to expand our musical offerings, in line with our mission to provide services that stimulate, educate, inform, and entertain across Idaho,” GM Tom Michael said in a statement. “We appreciate the foundational work of Minnesota Public Radio.”

The station is more than 1,300 miles from MPR’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn. Former MPR CEO William Kling told Current in an email that he raised funds from families in Sun Valley to build the station during his time leading the network. 

Kling said there was a “very strong appetite” for classical music in the area. Ken Dayton, one of MPR’s “great supporters” and the former CEO of the corporation that became Target, “asked if there was any way to bring public radio service” to Sun Valley, Kling said.

With help from Dayton and artist Gretchen Guard, “we were able to put a plan together in short order and get the service going for Sun Valley,” he said.

When the station was built, it required a 12-foot satellite dish to operate, Kling recalled. “The dish often filled with snow, which required various volunteers to sweep it out in order to keep receiving the signal,” he said. “I was one of those volunteers and can remember the urgency of sweeping it in mid snowstorm.” 

The station’s sale is “a loss for MPR in terms of the synergy it could have created,” Kling said. But “most importantly,” Kling said, “the classical music service the [Sun Valley] community paid for, will remain. That’s what the listeners care about.”

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