Foundations withdraw from WDUQ-FM option

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A group of four local foundations that purchased a 60-day option on public radio station WDUQ-FM has said it will not pursue any further action when the option period ends on July 2.

Duquesne University has put the station up for sale. The university rejected an initial bid from Pittsburgh Public Media, the local nonprofit group that is trying to buy and preserve the jazz, news and NPR format.

The foundations decided to purchase the 60-day "no-action" period to keep the staton from being sold to a higher bidder. At the same time, a second bid from PPM was tabled until the 60-day waiting period ends.

The group includes the PIttsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation and a fourth anonymous funder. The foundations were interested in exploring how to preserve and improve in-depth reporting on issues that are important to the community. They viewed WDUQ as a potential part of an innovative community platform that would preserve high quality journalism in the region.

"We're pulling out of the option, but we're not giving up our interest and support for a quality public radio station that delivers the NPR programming and what we would hope would be enhanced news and information that the community could really respond to," said Doug Root, a spokesman for The Heinz Endowments, which issued yesterday's announcement of the withdrawal.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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