The governing boards of two of the region’s public radio stations, 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, are merging into a single 501(c) 3.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we are comfortable as an organization bringing both stations together,” WYEP Board Chairman Greg Joseph said.
In 2011, Duquesne University sold the licenses of WDUQ to Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation, better known as WYEP. Station leaders renamed the group WESA and created a separate board.
“We initially started this separate board structure to make sure that the new WESA got on firm financial footing, and we believe that they have accomplished that,” Joseph said.
WESA took on more than $3 million in debt to buy the licenses in 2011. That debt has since been cut in half and was refinanced last week. The new organization will continue to use the Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting name.
WESA Board Chairman Marco Cardamone said the separate on-air products will remain the same.
“There will absolutely be two stations to listen to," Cardamone said. "We still have two audiences that we serve. We have some overlaps in the audiences, but everything will really remain the same from the point of view of the listener.”
Both board chairs stressed that the deal is not focused on cost.
“There are absolutely no layoffs or staff cuts that are planned,” Cardamone said. “This merger is really for governance purposes, and we think it will better position both stations to grow.”
Donor wishes will be maintained when making gifts to either station, Cardamone said.