Ideastream Public Media & WKSU: Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why are Ideastream Public Media and WKSU taking part in the public service operating agreement?
The decision to pursue this agreement was reinforced by an analysis the two organizations conducted earlier this year with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That analysis found Ideastream Public Media and WKSU could realize a number of efficiencies by working together, resulting in strong public service reporting in Northeast Ohio and other benefits to listeners throughout the region.

Why did you choose WKSU as the NPR station?
WKSU, with its network of repeater stations, has a substantially larger coverage area than WCPN, and the coverage will even increase with the addition of 104.9 FM as an additional repeater station. In addition, WKSU has been in existence for 71 years, almost twice as long as WCPN.

What will happen with WCPN when WKSU becomes Northeast Ohio's sole news and information station?
Ideastream Public Media will reformat 104.9 FM to serve as an additional repeater station for WKSU programming, bolstering coverage in the Cleveland area. The call letters associated with 104.9 FM will change from WCLV to WCPN.

What happens with my favorite programs and on-air personalities?
Those who have relied on WKSU and WCPN for in-depth news coverage will continue to have access to the full array of programming through WKSU at 89.7 FM and its six repeater stations, along with 104.9 FM. They will continue to hear “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Here and Now,” “Marketplace,” “Fresh Air,” the “Akron Roundtable,” the “Sound of Ideas” and the “City Club Forum,” as well as programming such as “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and “Folk Alley.” WKSU will also continue to solicit listener input through the station’s “OH Really” initiative. All members of WKSU’s staff, including on-air personalities, are being offered positions with Ideastream Public Media.

Will WKSU still remain in the same format?
WKSU will become the region’s NPR news and information station, with repeater stations in Ashland, Mansfield, New Philadelphia, Norwalk, Thompson and Wooster continuing to serve their local markets.

Will WKSU and WCPN journalists continue to provide local news and information coverage in their respective geographic areas?
Yes. Ideastream Public Media journalists will continue to provide local coverage across Northeast Ohio.

Since WKSU is a university licensed station, will WKSU still be a university station?
On October 1, 2021, Ideastream Public Media will begin operating WKSU. At that time, WKSU will join the Ideastream Public Media family of stations, serving the Northeast Ohio community. Kent State University will retain FCC licensing for WKSU and its repeater stations.

Will Kent State University still be involved?
Kent State University will continue to be the license holder of the WKSU stations. The Kent State University president will have a voting seat on the Ideastream Public Media board of trustees. Members of WKSU's Community Advisory Council will be invited to join Ideastream Public Media's Community Advisory Board. With this agreement, we will build on the nationally recognized journalism program offered by Kent State University, using resources to focus especially on developing more diversified talent for the journalism profession.

When Ideastream Public Media assumes operations of WKSU, what will happen to the staffs of both organizations?
All members of WKSU’s staff are being offered positions with Ideastream Public Media’s expanded news and information operation. We are excited to bring together a group of talented, experienced professionals whose mission every day is to provide accurate, creative and localized reporting to the communities in which they live and serve. Our combined organization will employ approximately 150 employees, including more than 40 staff members in a new unified newsroom.

Membership Questions

What does the public service operating agreement mean for my membership?
Your membership will continue to fund the programs and services you and the entire community have come to rely on.

I am a member of WKSU; will I now be a member of Ideastream Public Media as well?
As of October 1, 2021, donations and other monetary support given to WKSU will be allocated to the station through Ideastream Public Media. Existing WKSU members will become part of Ideastream Public Media’s membership base and their contributions will continue to fund the operations of WKSU.

Will my member benefits change if I am a WKSU member?
WKSU members will continue to enjoy the benefits, including invitations to special events and special ticket offers. Ideastream Public Media members receive the monthly program guide, Ideastream Passport as an on-demand video streaming service, invitations to special events and special ticket offers. These benefits will be extended to WKSU members once membership databases are fully integrated in the coming months.

Can I still indicate where I want my funds to be allocated – WVIZ, WCPN, WCLV or WKSU?
Donors to Ideastream Public Media have the choice to designate where they would like to give their funds, or you can choose to be an institutional member of Ideastream Public Media, where your funds will be allocated to the area of greatest need. To make a donation to WVIZ, WCPN or WCLV, visit ideastream.org/donate, or call (216) 916-6116. To make a donation to WKSU, visit donate.wksu.org, or call (330) 672-2132.

If I have general membership questions, or want to renew my membership, how should I contact Ideastream Public Media and WKSU?
If you have questions about your Ideastream Public Media membership, please contact member services at (216) 916-6116, or email membership@ideastream.org. For inquiries about your WKSU membership, please contact member services at (330) 672-2132, or email membership@wksu.org. The member databases will be combined during the transition period.

How does this impact on-air membership campaigns?
Membership campaigns will continue as planned, as the funds are still critically important to continue to grow local journalism, continue meaningful collaborations, and provide news and information to Northeast Ohio communities. For the remainder of 2021, WCPN and WKSU membership campaigns will continue separately as they have in the past. For the most up to date information on schedules, please visit wcpn.org and wksu.org.

If I am an institutional member of Ideastream Public Media, will my dollars now go to WKSU as well?
Donations made to Ideastream Public Media that are not designated for a specific purpose are allocated to areas of greatest need. This includes the operations of WKSU as of October 1, 2021.

What are you using my sustaining gift funds for?
Your membership dollars will continue to support local news, NPR news and information service and classical and jazz music programming, that you've come to rely on.

For any additional questions regarding Ideastream Public Media & WKSU please send us an email.

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