BUFFALO, N.Y. – Western New York Public Broadcasting Association and the University at Buffalo are pleased to announce today that WBFO-FM 88.7 will become a part of the WNED family of public radio and television stations.
Under the agreement, WNED will pay UB $4 million for the licenses to operate WBFO and two stations serving the Southern Tier: WUBJ-FM 88.1 in Jamestown and WOLN-FM 91.3 in Olean.
All three stations will retain their call letters and continue to operate on the same frequencies. The stations reach large portions of Western New York and Southern Ontario, serving approximately 90,000 listeners weekly.
The agreement is the culmination of many months of strategic discussions with management and board members from both organizations exploring ways to strengthen public radio in the region and make more resourceful use of donor and taxpayer funding.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to create a more efficient service to the community and offer a more comprehensive program schedule,” said Donald K. Boswell, WNED’s president and CEO. “These two big names in public radio are joining forces.”
“The University at Buffalo is putting WBFO in the hands of a community-based organization with an outstanding track record in public broadcasting,” said UB’s Marsha Henderson. “Radio isn’t a new business to WNED. They are already committed to radio and will continue to be so. We are confident that WBFO will thrive in its new home.”
The sale is subject to state and federal approval. In the meantime, the two organizations will begin planning the integration of services.
WNED affirmed its commitment to continuing a full schedule of NPR programs on WBFO, including the popular news programs “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and more.
WBFO, as the largest provider of NPR news and information in the region with over 90,000 weekly listeners, through this agreement will be able to continue to provide a full lineup of NPR programs, from its new home at WNED, while joining the well-known and established journalistic offerings of WNED AM 970. Together, these services will offer a combined public media newsroom, improved digital and online resources for users, and embody a new, shared public journalism that will enhance civic engagement.
“I am proud to have started my career in public media at WBFO,” said Vincent Curren, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and UB alumnus. “I know first-hand the long tradition of high quality of service that WBFO and WNED have provided. This joining of forces will ensure that public media service continues to thrive in Western New York and offer the very best national programs, in-depth news and information, outstanding classical music, and even more choice in content.”
WBFO-FM was founded in 1959 by a group of students and faculty members at the then-private University of Buffalo. It was also one of the charter founding members of National Public Radio in 1970. UB will use the proceeds of the sale to provide student scholarships and support for faculty research, Henderson said.
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well TV, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970 The Information Station, the member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at wned.org.