Ideastream Public Media & WKSU: Frequently Asked Questions

ideastream public media faq wksu northeast ohio

Why are Ideastream Public Media and WKSU coming together?

Consolidating our resources allows us to provide more local, regional and statewide news coverage to more people, build a bigger regional newsroom and expand classical music programming.

Why did you choose WKSU as the NPR station?

The WKSU network of stations covers more than 20 counties in Ohio and is currently the largest FM station in the state. We will broadcast our news on the WKSU network, as well as on 104.9 FM (currently our classical station), which will help provide service in some of areas where the 89.7 FM signal has weaker reception.

Collectively, this network of stations will provide local, state and regional news access to 3.6 million people in 22 counties. The change also allows us to use the 90.3 FM signal to make our classical service, accessible to one million more listeners in Northeast Ohio.

The results of all this work will become a reality on Monday, March 28, when we’ll rollout a new schedule on our news and information station WKSU. Many of our listeners may find their favorite programming has moved or is now airing at a different time. We know it will take time to adapt to these changes, but the result is going to give our region more opportunities to access the quality news and programming that only public radio provides.

How do I listen to news, information and NPR? Where is WCPN?

As of March 28, those who currently listen to WCPN 90.3 FM will be able to find their favorite news, reporters, programs and NPR coverage at WKSU 89.7 FM, as well as on 104.9 FM. They can also listen on the network of stations that carry WKSU including 89.1 Thompson, 89.3 Wooster, 90.7 Norwalk, 91.5 New Philadelphia, 94.7 Mansfield and 95.7 Ashland.

I can’t access 89.7 or 104.9. What can I do?

In addition to tuning in at 89.7 FM or 104.9 FM for news & information, listeners can:

  • Stream: Go to ideastream.org to stream from a computer or mobile phone.
  • Use a mobile App: Download the free Ideastream Public Media mobile app (available March 28) by going to the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, or the Google Play Store for Android devices. 
  • Listen with WVIZ TV: Listeners can access WKSU programming at 25.7 on TVs that receive our WVIZ signal over the air.
  • Use HD Radio: Listeners can find WKSU on 89.7 HD1 and 90.3 HD2. Additional news and information programming and more is available on WKSU HD4. HD Radio is standard in many newer vehicles and is a good choice for in-car listening if your vehicle is so equipped. HD radios for in-home use are also available. 
  • Use Smart TV: WKSU news and information is also accessible on smart TVs via the TuneIn app.
  • Use Smart Speakers: Telling Alexa, Siri or your preferred smart speaker to “Play WKSU”

I understand I may live in an area that has a weak signal for WKSU.  What should I do?

Because of Northeast Ohio’s topography, there are areas of Cuyahoga and Lake County along the lake where the over-the-air 89.7 signal is not as strong as the 90.3 service. Especially when listening on a traditional radio inside the home, listeners may find that neither the 89.7 or the 104.9 signal is available, or as clear as they were used to. Listening via streaming, the Ideastream Public Media mobile app (available March 28), HD Radio, smart speaker or TV will provide the best quality service inside the home. We are actively pursuing a technological solution to increase the accessibility of the 89.7 signal.  We hope to have this signal boosting solution in place by Fall 2022. 

Are there likely to be areas where over-the-air coverage will never be restored?

We hope not and are working hard to address this issue.  We will keep the community informed as we work on a solution. However, since its inception radio frequencies have never been the perfect solution for perfect reception.  Radio frequencies are vulnerable to topography, weather, indoor penetration, and the type of device that is used to receive the signal.

What does this new arrangement mean to Northeast Ohio?

Three very important changes will happen as a result of this new arrangement:

  • More local and statewide news coverage
  • A bigger regional newsroom and more reporting
  • Expanded classical music programming

How do I listen to classical music? Where is WCLV?

WCLV, Ideastream Public Media’s classical service, will move from 104.9 FM to 90.3 FM beginning March 28. This change will make classical music accessible to approximately 1 million additional listeners.

Classical music will also be available on 89.7 HD3, which is accessible free-of-charge on the new Ideastream Public Media App (available March 28), at ideastream.org and on HD-equipped radios. Anyone with a cell phone, smart speaker or computer or tablet with internet access will be able to listen to these programs and a variety of others on our digital channels. In addition, cars equipped with HD channel options are rapidly becoming the industry standard.

How has the schedule changed?

For many of our listeners, the place on the dial where they’ve gone to find their NPR programming has moved.  In addition, listeners may find their favorite program is now airing at a different time.  A full list of these programs is available here. We know it will take time to adapt to these changes, but we hope our listeners will agree the result is going to give our region more opportunities to access the quality news and programming that only public radio provides. 

What happens to the Hosts?

When news broke that WCPN and WKSU were joining forces, many wondered what would happen to the hosts. We’re excited to share that they will all remain on-air!

  • Amy Eddings will be the host of Morning Edition on WKSU, the show she’s hosted on WCPN for five years.
  • Amanda Rabinowitz will move to hosting All Things Considered on weeknights, a move that interests her personally and professionally.
  • Rick Jackson will continue to host Sound of Ideas.
  • Jeff St. Clair, who previously hosted All Things Considered on WKSU will host midday newscasts as we expand that service.

How are you expanding news?

The entire weekday is now filled with news starting at 5am.

  • Morning Edition begins every weekday at 5am with host Amy Eddings
  • The Sound of Ideas immediately follows at 9am with host Rick Jackson
  • We’re adding local midday news breaks with host Jeff St. Clair from Noon – 4pm
  • The City Club will broadcast live at noon beginning April 1
  • All Things Considered with host Amanda Rabinowitz begins at 4pm
  • We’re adding PBS NewsHour from 7-8pm
  • Rick Jackson returns at 9pm with a repeat of the Sound of Ideas

Check out the full schedule here

Bringing the Ideastream and WKSU news teams together will allow us to become a truly regional newsroom, add regional context, cover more local stories and establish an Akron/Canton news hub.

What is happening to the nationality programming?

We’ve met with each of the nationality hosts to talk about the transition and are pleased that the Hungarian and Polish program hosts will take advantage of the opportunity to broadcast their programs on WKSU HD4 (digital) channel.  WKSU HD4 is accessible free-of-charge on the new Ideastream Public Media App (available March 28), at ideastream.org and on HD-equipped radios.

Anyone with a cell phone, smart speaker or computer or tablet with internet access will be able to listen to these programs and a variety of others on our digital channels. In addition, many cars today are equipped with HD channel options. The Hungarian and Polish programs will air will Sundays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. We will also help direct listeners to the new channel with a variety of promotional announcements.

What happened to the programs I don’t see on the radio schedule?

We will continue to offer a variety of programs on our digital channels:

  • WKSU’s digital channels will continue to offer Folk Alley on HD2, All Classical on HD3, and News and More on HD4.
  • The Hungarian and Polish programming that previously aired Sunday evenings on WCPN will now air on WKSU HD4 Sundays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Fans of The Takeaway, On Being, Sound Opinions, and the 2-hour Folk Alley Sunday shows can also find those programs and more on the HD4 channel.

These channels are available on the new Ideastream Public Media app, at ideastream.org and on HD-equipped radios. Our HD Digital Broadcast Channels are:

  • Folk Alley (WKSU HD2)
  • Ideastream Public Media All-Classical (WKSU HD3)
  • WKSU News and More (WKSU HD4)

Complete HD schedules are available here

How do I use HD Radio?

Our HD/Digital channels are accessible free-of-charge on the new Ideastream Public Media App (available March 28), at ideastream.org and on HD-equipped radios. Anyone with a cell phone, smart speaker or computer or tablet with internet access will be able to listen to these programs and a variety of others on our digital channels. In addition, many cars today are equipped with HD channel options.

Here are a few links that will help. This one talks about HD radio in general: https://www.wksu.org/hd/

This link can show you the types of cars that have HD radio as well as types of radios to buy for the home that can get HD: https://hdradio.com/get-a-radio/new-cars/

This link shows the commands to listen to HD through a smart speaker: https://www.wksu.org/events/2018-01-02/listen-to-wksu-on-your-smart-speaker

Membership Questions

What does the 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?

Current WKSU members are now part of Ideastream Public Media’s membership base. Your contributions will continue to fund the operations of WKSU. Ideastream Public Media Member Services will now manage WKSU memberships.

Will my member benefits change if I am a WKSU member?

Ideastream Public Media members receive a 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 qualifying WKSU members. WKSU members who qualify will receive communications in the coming months.

I have a sustaining membership for WKSU and have a sustaining membership for WCPN / WVIZ / WCLV, will those memberships be combined?

Your sustaining memberships will continue separately. However, if you wish to have them combined, please contact us at 216-916-6116.

Can I still indicate where I want my funds to be allocated – WVIZ, 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 WCLV, WKSU 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.

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.

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We know we’re making a lot of changes in a short time, and we are asking our listeners for their patience as we complete this important transition.  These changes are done with the intent of preserving, growing and strengthening our local media service at a time when many services are facing unprecedented challenges.

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