Tuesday, July 7, 2020


On Monday (7/6) Classical music fans in Kansas City began celebrating the debut of 91.9 Classical KC, a 24/7 music station on a powerful FM signal that covers every inch of the metro.

The first piece  heard on 91.9 Classical KC was Tales from the Vienna Woods composed by Johann Strauss and performed by the Berlin Philharmonic.

91.9 Classical KC is the culmination of efforts by KCUR and the Kansas City arts community to provide a full-time Classical music radio voice. Kansas City had been without a Classical station since commercial KXTR was sold almost twenty years ago.

KCUR’s licensee, the University of Missouri, paid $2 million to obtain the license of KWJC from William Jewel College. This is a significant financial investment for KCUR.   

KCUR’s licensee, the University of Missouri, paid $2 million to obtain the license of KWJC from William Jewel College. This is a significant investment for KCUR.  According to the FY 2019 disclosure document on the station’s web page [link], KCUR had annual revenue of $6.5 million.

Though we don’t know the terms of deal or the service the debt, paying $2 million was risky even before the on-set of Covid-19. Moving forward, the management of KCUR and 91.9 Classical KC will need to quickly monetize the new station.

Sarah Morris, interim general manager of KCUR said in a press release that 91.9 Classical KC is part of the station’s mission:

“The number one reason we're doing this is to serve our community. We do that through journalism, and we also do that through enrichment in the arts. We’re really a cultural and civic institution, not just a journalism organization, although obviously that's our core business. So this is to serve the broader community.”


Around a year ago two well-established northern California public radio broadcasters began exploring ways to work together to expand local journalism and bring listeners more Northern California coverage.

Capital Public Radio (“CapRadio”) and North State Public Radio (“NSPR”) in Chico hired Public Media Company to explore ways the two shops can save money and increase their news content.

Now NSPR is reaching out to its listeners, donors and community leaders for their input about the collaboration. NSPR operates KCHO in Chico and KFPR in Redding. CapRadio has two full-time programming channels – NPR News/Talk KXJZ and Classical music KXPR. 

Phil Wilke
NSPR GM Phil Wilke said in a press release:

 “I’m looking forward to talking with listeners about this opportunity. This partnership will allow NSPR to increase the size of our newsroom, cut costs and put those savings back into programming, and tap into membership, engineering and production services that we currently don’t have.”

Wilke added that beginning this week; listeners can ask questions or provide feedback about the collaboration.

Folks can participate in the survey by going to NSPR’s website [link],

In mid July, all submitted comments would be shared with California State University, Chico leadership, as it considers whether to approve the partnership.

The two organizations are seeking to share resources to save money and increase news coverage in northern California.

When Spark News first broke this story on July 30, 2019 [link], Wilkie told us that the collaboration is not a merger.

Wilke told Spark News in 2019:

“We will not -- repeat NOT -- be a CapRadio simulcast. Part of the PSOA negotiations is that we will be keep autonomy in programming decisions. I don't anticipate changes to our programming, except that we plan to ADD journalists for more robust news coverage.” 

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