There are reports that the license for Bethany College radio station WVBC-FM is in the process of being sold to Pittsburgh Public Media for use as a jazz station. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“The nonprofit Pittsburgh Public Media (PPM), which owns a local online jazz radio station, has signed an agreement to buy the WVBC-FM (88.1) signal for $135,000. The station is owned by Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va., about 40 miles southwest of Downtown Pittsburgh. The plan is to use the 88.1 frequency to broadcast a jazz format in the Pittsburgh region. The venture is a joint effort between PPM and PubMusic: PPM will hold the license for the new station and PubMusic will produce the programming.”
The Pittsburgh Public Media website states, “PPM will close on the station within 90 days, and will take over operations as soon as the FCC approves the sale.” Additionally, the PPM website contains a call for donations with a goal of raising $150,000 by February 1, 2013 in order to purchase the WVBC FM license.
A few months ago I reported that Bethany College was issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for $6500 for “remaining off the air without Commission authorization for a period of more than 30 days and failing to timely file a license renewal application for the Station.” According to university and local reports, WVBC went online-only in fall 2010. Despite that, Bethany College told the FCC that “On September 28, 2011 the station resumed full broadcasting with authorized facilities by disseminating radio communications intended to be received by the public.” Their license renewal was granted on June 26, 2012.
Although WVBC is branded as Internet-only (their Twitter description reads, “WVBC is now an all internet all the time!”), there are some indications on their Twitter feed that they have been broadcasting on 88.1 FM this year as well.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PPM will file “an application for a license transfer with the FCC next week.”