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Louisville Public Media Says NKU Rejected Its Offer to Buy WNKU Frequency

Louisville Public Media says that Northern Kentucky University rejected its offer to buy WNKU, the campus-based radio station sold by the university earlier this year to a religious broadcasting company.

The university stated in February that it had subsidized WNKU to the tune of $4 million over the past six years and that it was no longer economically feasible to do so. NKU sold the station for $1.9 million. The sale included WNKU 89.7 FM and WNKE 104.1 FM, which was one of the frequencies the station purchased to expand its reach. However, Louisville Public Media, which operates public radio stations in Louisville, said that the university had not announced a buyer for the 105.9 WNKN frequency, which is based in Middletown, Oh., and that it had offered NKU $5 million in a mix of cash and services aimed at preserving the public service mission of WNKU.

The offer included $3.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in services that would continue WNKU's on-campus music events, student learning opportunities, and internships. The deal, Louisville Public Media stated, would have included ten years of on-air promotion for Northern Kentucky University in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Louisville, and would have purchased the 105.9 frequency.

"We are deeply disappointed by Northern Kentucky University’s decision and the likely loss of WNKU’s proud tradition of serving the region’s music and cultural community," said Michael Skoler, president of Louisville Public Media, in a statement. "We offered a fiscally responsible way for the board to protect university resources and still preserve the important service it had created and nurtured for 32 years."

But NKU says that the Board of Regents hasn't rejected anything.

“NKU is in the middle of an active process to sell WNKN-Middletown that is ongoing until the Board of Regents votes on it, which will be a matter of public record," said NKU spokesperson Anna Wright. "Until that time, we will continue to entertain all proposals. Given these challenging economic times for public education, we will choose the best option that supports our mission of delivering an affordable, quality education that our students deserve.”

-Staff report