95.5 WBRU transfer finalized

The transfer of the license of 95.5 WBRU-FM to K-LOVE has been finalized. 

This is an updated version of the story originally posted on Friday, November 3, 2017

The transfer of the license of 95.5 WBRU-FM to K-LOVE has been finalized.

All required documents have been signed and transferred from Brown Broadcasting Service, Inc., to Educational Media Foundation.

The deal, which was completed on Thursday, appears to put an end to the eleventh-hour offer made Oct. 24 by Brown University President Christina Paxson to the WBRU Board and Student Station Members, the day before the FCC approval of the license transfer, offering for Brown University to lend Rhode Island Public Radio the money to purchase the 95.5 frequency.

The $5.63 million offer would match what K-LOVE was paying for the station.

In the email, which was forwarded to NBC 10 by Bill Lichtenstein, of Lichtenstein Creative Media who was helping to broker the new last minute deal with RIPR and Brown Broadcasting Service, it read in part, “...RIPR would pay this loan back through fundraising and from WBRU operating profits. This would allow students already working in the digital space to retain a mutually beneficial pairing with legacy broadcast media for a more robust and enriching experience..."

It went on to note that the ongoing digital platforms of WBRU would continue in conjunction with the WBRU broadcast.

Kishanee Haththotuwegama, who is the general manager of the WBRU student workshop, also reminded the community that WBRU continues on the internet at WBRU.com.

“We invite everyone who enjoyed WBRU on the radio to join us online for 24/7 streams of both our alt-rock and 360 Degree Experience in Sound programs, plus pilots of our expanded news and podcasting activities,” she said.

An offer was made by Paxson’s office to meet with the board and station members if they were interested in discussing the proposal. We initially reported there was no reply for further discussion, but have now learned from Lichtenstein that there was “…in fact… a request by the student station members to President Paxson in the form of an email, asking Paxson to help avert the sale of the station…”

Lichtenstein also alleges intense pressure on the part of some members of the Brown Broadcasting Service board, “…to gain a ‘sell’ vote from the station student members…characterized as bullying and coercion…”

Lichtenstein goes on to say “In the end, there was not enough time to address the interest of the students in pursuing the alternative proposal.”

However, in response, Art Norwalk, the spokesperson for WBRU.com. says “There was no bullying or coercion of any kind by the board or student leaders,” and that the emails between Paxson and the students are not considered public.

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