Nonprofit to submit second bid for WDUQ

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Pittsburgh Public Media, the nonprofit group that is trying to buy public station WDUQ-FM (90.5) and preserve its jazz and NPR format, will submit a second bid for the station this week.

Duquesne University, which owns the WDUQ license, is selling the station. Its worth has been estimated at $10 million.

Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty has said that the university would like to get something close to that for the station. The university rejected Public Media's first bid submitted last month. The amount was not disclosed.

In addition to two other bidders for the station, which the university has declined to identify, a fourth party came forward this week.

Duquesne University is not commenting on the status of the sale negotiations. "We're in the process of accepting proposals. We'll look at each one carefully in terms of its maximum impact and benefit overall for our core enterprise of education," said Duquesne University spokeswoman Bridget Fare.

Public Media's new bid will be around 30 percent higher than the original one, said the group's advisory board chair, Joseph Kelly. He declined to name a dollar figure.

WDUQ was founded as a student-run station in 1949. It evolved into a professional public station, but university students still have opportunities to work there and learn the ropes of broadcast journalism. "We hope to continue that tradition once we are independent of the university," Mr. Kelly said.

Other NPR affiliates around the country have successfully been transferred from a university or other owner to an independent nonprofit corporation, he said.

In addition to raising funds to buy the station, Pittsburgh Public Media also must fund its continuing operation as an independent entity. Most of WDUQ's operating revenue comes from contributions from the public and through underwriting. The station had an operating loss of $629,000 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009. It brought in $3,057,000 in revenues, with operating expense of $3,686,000.

Adrian McCoy: or 412-263-1865.


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