Kent State to Partner With Ideastream Public Media for Management of WKSU

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

Today, our Board of Trustees gave its approval for the university to enter into an agreement with Ideastream Public Media to operate our public radio station, WKSU, and its sister stations. We expect this agreement with Ideastream Public Media to be formally executed within the coming days. While this move will bring some changes, it will offer many more benefits, chief of which is combining the resources and expertise of both entities for the growth and expansion of public media service in Northeast Ohio.

Under this agreement, Kent State will still own WKSU and its sister station affiliates and will retain their Federal Communications Commission licenses, while Ideastream Public Media will operate and manage WKSU and provide daily oversight for programming. WKSU will become the sole public news and information station in Northeast Ohio, while Ideastream Public Media’s WCPN will shift to expand classical music service.

In the summer of 2020, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded a grant to explore opportunities for growth and expansion of public media in Northeast Ohio. This move is a direct result of that study and has the full support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Operating agreements such as this have been in practice for some time. Notable partnerships have been created between public news outlets in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, California and the state of Washington.

For more than 70 years, WKSU has been a vital source for our university, providing news and information critical to our campus community and the entire Northeast Ohio region. This agreement will preserve and strengthen the award-winning news operations of the expanded WKSU for the benefit of all listeners in Northeast Ohio.

This agreement will formalize a collaborative relationship that has been ongoing for years. WKSU and Ideastream Public Media already have shared many successful joint ventures, including the recent Learning Curve, a reporting initiative that examines the past, present and future of K-12 public education in Ohio.

Every WKSU employee will be offered a position of equal pay and responsibility with Ideastream Public Media, and our Kent State students will enjoy even more opportunities for internships and talent development than ever before. We expect this new partnership will engage all stations under the Ideastream Public Media umbrella, resulting in a closer, more fruitful relationship with our College of Communication and Information.

For the past 10 years, we have seen a shrinking number of journalists working in Northeast Ohio due to consolidation of media outlets, particularly with our region’s newspapers, whose newsrooms have seen their reporting ranks steadily depleted. Joining forces with Ideastream Public Media is the right strategy for protecting the proud news reporting heritage of WKSU and furthering the station’s reach and effectiveness as the No. 1 source for public news and information in Northeast Ohio.

WKSU’s call letters will remain, and you will still find the station at 89.7 on your FM dial. I am confident that when we tune in, we will all reap the benefits of this new relationship through exceptional news reporting and award-winning programming.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 10:06 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 12:51 PM
Todd Diacon, President