Duluth radio station changes name as public media merges

The Duluth Superior Area Educational Television Corporation, which owns PBS station WDSE-TV, bought the radio station from the University of Minnesota board of directors for $ 175,000. The transaction, first proposed almost two years ago, received federal approval earlier this year and closed on Wednesday, December 1.

The merger creates the only combined operation of public radio and television in Minnesota.

WDSE issued a statement saying there would be “no immediate changes” to the station’s programming and format. The radio station has been on the air since the 1950s and is known for its wide mix of adult and folk alternative music during the day and programming created by community members and UMD students at night.

Most of the staff chose to stay with the station, although longtime morning host Lisa Johnson’s last day was Tuesday.

A press release quoted UMD Chancellor Lendley Black as saying he believed the WDSE was better positioned than the UMD to advance public radio in Duluth. The station plans to continue providing opportunities for UMD students on both radio and television.

Patty Mester, President and CEO of WDSE, said the combination offers “an opportunity for deeper relationships to tell even more compelling stories that reflect our diverse and unique communities.”

“Together, we will provide our region with a comprehensive and reliable public media experience unique to any other media offering in Northland,” she said.

Both radio and television station are known for their involvement in the local music scene as well as local public affairs programming.

The station competes with an unusually high number of public radio signals for a community the size of Twin Ports, which is also served by several statewide networks in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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