A nearly century-old radio station could soon be under new management. Purdue University has announced plans to transfer operations of WBAA, the local public radio station in West Lafayette, to Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media, which operates WFYI in Indy.
The university has signed a Letter of Intent to enter into an agreement with MIPM. Under the terms of the agreement, WBAA will maintain its call letters for both its AM and FM frequencies and the current content aired on the station will remain the same.
“Like we’ve seen done at many other higher education institutions, Purdue University has been looking for a public radio partner to lead WBAA toward its next 100 years in Greater Lafayette,” said Ethan Braden, senior vice president for marketing and communications at Purdue. “WFYI is a strong public broadcasting entity, well-known and respected throughout Indiana, and we believe this agreement represents enhanced opportunities for our students, it preserves the experience that listeners enjoy today, and it extends WBAA’s reach and public service offerings.”
WBAA-AM is Indiana’s longest continuously-operating radio station, having received its broadcast license in April 1922. WBAA-FM began broadcasting in 1993.
The agreement must still receive approval by the Purdue University Board of Trustees, which will meet next on July 7. The Federal Communications Commission must also approve the license transfer.
“We are so pleased to work with Purdue University — a world-class research institution — on preserving its public service mission through WBAA,” said Greg Petrowich, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media. “Through this agreement, we will strengthen and build on WBAA’s commitment to listeners and the communities served by WFYI and WBAA.”
Purdue says among the enhancements expected from the transition, students in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, which is the internship partner for WBAA, will have access to expanded learning and development opportunities in broadcasting, digital media, sales and marketing, and other areas at WBAA and WFYI’s greater network.
Pending all approvals, MIPM is expected to assume operations in October.