KUNV – 91.5 The Source – is in the final phase of discussions with Nevada Public Radio (NVPR) to consolidate operations in Las Vegas. According to local news reports, the regents University of Nevada – Las Vegas, licensee of KUNR, will vote on the proposal in December. Observers expect the plan to be approved.
Under consideration is a six-year arrangement that will transfer KUNV’s financial responsibility to NVPR after the first of the year. NVPR will be in charge of KUNV’s overall operations including programming, fund raising, and promotion. NVPR currently owns and operates two stations: NPR News KNPR and Classical 89.7 KCNV.
KUNV [link] has been the jazz voice of Las Vegas for over 30 years. The annual operating budget is around $600,000, small for the size of the city. NVPR’s annual budget is over $7 million. Opponents of the plan worry that the amount of time given to UNLV students (a past tripwire at UNLV) will decrease. Proponents say it will provide undergraduate internships and graduate fellowships in a more professional training environment.
BUILDING A PIPELINE OF TALENT
NVPR CEO Flo Rogers says the plan is important for the future of NVPR citing new opportunities for younger and more diverse students and graduates to work in broadcast and digital media.
|NVPR CEO Flo Rogers|
Rogers told the Las Vegas Weekly: This partnership will provide NVPR an opportunity to address our goal of engaging [a] younger and more diverse audience. It’s a win-win [that will] create rich educational and paid opportunities for students…and build a pipeline of talent for local media outlets.
WHY THIS IS A SMART MOVE
It is hard to see a downside in the proposed plan. UNLV will continue to have high visibility via KUNV while cutting internal costs. Consider UNLV’s move to be another university edging out of broadcasting to concentrate on its core educational mission.
NVPR will benefit from reaching jazz folks in a market with lots of music events. These new listeners are important to NVPR because their financial support diversifies NVPR's revenue base. It is anticipated that KUNV's program quality will be on a professional par with KNPR and KNCV. So, listeners will be the biggest winners.
MEANWHILE, KUNR, RENO IS ADDING A SECOND STATION
KUNR, Reno recently announced that it obtained, for an unspecified amount, a dormant FCC license from Truckee Meadows Community College in nearby Sun Valley, Nevada. The now silent KJIV 89.5 will remerge in summer 2016 as KNCJ (“Nevada Classical and Jazz”).
The new station will allow KUNR to air NPR News 24/7 while KNCJ will air classical and jazz. KUNR is now working to pay for startup costs, equipment and engineering services to hopefully move 89.5 closer to metro Reno. KNCJ is currently authorized to cover only part of the market.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
Broadcasters should acquire every bit of the FM dial that is available now. Even in small and medium-size markets, the FM spectrum is vulnerable. Religious broadcasters like Educational Media Foundation are gobbling up FM station and translator frequencies. Soon, the FCC will close the window for new applicants to make way for many AM stations to move to FM via free translators.