WYPR Baltimore Acquires WTMD

89.7 WTMD Baltimore 88.1 WYPR Towson UniversityYour Public Radio Corporation, operator of Public News/Talk 88.1 WYPR Baltimore MD/88.1 WYPF Frederick/106.9 WYPO Ocean City MD, is purchasing AAA 89.7 WTMD Towson/Baltimore from Towson University for $3 million.

Outside of some shared services, both stations will continue to operate separately after the deal closes. WYPR President/General Manager LaFontaine E. Oliver stated that WTMD’s current programming and staff will remain in place.

WTMD GM/PD Scott Mullens wrote on the station’s website, “Let me be clear: This is a great opportunity for WTMD. Partnering with WYPR will broaden our reach, and give us more resources to better serve our community. WTMD listeners and members can expect the same high level of programming they’ve come to rely on from us.

You’ll still hear Alex Cortright in the mornings, Bob the Paper Guy middays, Carrie Evans in the afternoon, Kelly Bell in the evenings, Weasel’s Wild Weekend and the rest of the lineup you know and love. Our live concerts will continue as planned – in fact, we’ll be announcing more in-person shows soon.

We couldn’t ask for a better partner in WYPR, and are looking forward to this new chapter in the WTMD story.”

Public service broadcaster Your Public Radio (WYPR) 88.1FM today announced plans to acquire WTMD 89.7 FM from Towson University. WTMD has been operated by Towson University Public Media, Inc., a non-profit organization, in affiliation with Towson University since 2014.

WYPR is an NPR member station serving Baltimore, Central Maryland and beyond. It is an independent community licensee and a top-ranking news/talk station in the market airing local, national and international radio content. WYPR excels in local programming and journalism through outstanding shows like Midday, On the Record and Out of the Blocks as well as its award-winning newsroom. With signals in Baltimore (WYPR 88.1 FM), Frederick (WYPF 88.1 FM) and Ocean City (WYPO 106.9 FM), the station also leads the local podcast scene with popular podcasts like The Daily Dose and Essential Tremors.

Towson University received a great deal of interest in the purchase of WTMD but was most excited about working with WYPR since it is a local community licensee with a proven track record and commitment to growing the beloved format of the station.

“We’re grateful to have found a partner in WYPR to continue the community first, public radio station in its existing format that listeners have come to appreciate from WTMD,” said Ben Lowenthal, CFO and Vice President for Administration and Finance at Towson University. “Maintaining WTMD’s format was of the utmost importance for TU as we sought a new home for this award-winning station.”

WTMD began at then-Towson State University in 1972 as WCVT, adopted its current call letters in 1991 and changed to its current AAA format in 2002. Over the past 10 years, WTMD has developed into one of the leading AAA (Album Adult Alternative) music stations in the country. Nationally recognized as a “taste maker” station within the radio and music industries, WTMD’s unique “Total Music Discovery” format consistently breaks new music and cutting-edge artists long before other stations. WTMD has received numerous awards for Best Radio Station from both Baltimore magazine and the former City Paper.

WTMD also produces the First Thursday Music Festivals, the largest free music event in the region. In recent years the event has grown to include two stages, six bands and numerous vendors in Canton Waterfront Park, where thousands turn out each month, May through June, for the free events.

“WTMD has put a lot of effort into growing our First Thursday Festivals into a nationally recognized event that is a direct reflection of our adventurous music discovery format,” said Scott Mullins, general manager/ program director for WTMD and music director for its First Thursday Festivals. “We certainly look forward to continuing to bring live music events to the Baltimore area with WYPR as our new partner.”

WYPR will continue to find ways to partner with Towson University, which continues to grow its role as an anchor institution serving greater Baltimore and Maryland.

WYPR was established when Johns Hopkins University sought a new home for WJHU in 2002. A group led by community members formed Your Public Radio with the sole purpose of maintaining local control of the non-commercial license. “WYPR is proud to preserve another university radio station, to serve the Baltimore community, on the heels of our 20th anniversary year,” said President and General Manager LaFontaine E. Oliver. “We plan to build on the investments made by Towson University and the success of WTMD, which provides a rich and unmatched music discovery platform with opportunities for Baltimore’s musicians and artists at its core. What Scott and his team have been able to accomplish over the years has been tremendous.”

WYPR will seek financial support from the community, inviting both major donors and grassroots supporters to participate and become members of this expanded public service opportunity. With the help of our community, it is WYPR’s intention to preserve and strengthen this public resource for music discovery.

WYPR is uniquely positioned to continue the expansion of WTMD as both stations have success in providing music exploration on new platforms including streaming, smart speakers, multiple HD channels and mobile applications as well as large-scale live events. Uniting the two stations will enhance these efforts to serve new audiences on a broad array of distribution platforms.

Your Public Radio was aided by Public Media Company, while Towson University was represented by Patrick Communications. The license transfer is subject to approval by the FCC.

This story first appeared on radioinsight.com