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UW-Eau Claire Foundation selling radio station license

Blugold Radio LLC, a supporting organization of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, has accepted an offer to sell its operating license for 99.9 WDRK-FM to concentrate on its core mission of student recruitment, retention and success, according to Kimera Way, executive director of Blugold Radio LLC and president of the Foundation.

The station, currently broadcasting as Converge Radio, has been operating on campus primarily with student employees and volunteers. Its program format has focused on local stories, radio series and indie rock music with a special emphasis on promoting local musicians and their music. Converge Radio also has been the home of Blugold Athletics sports broadcasts. The UW-Eau Claire athletics program is considering options for the radio broadcasts of its games. 

The proposed sale agreement with the Family Radio Network, a Christian network based in Appleton, was filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission. The sale includes the operating license, tower, transmitter and other equipment at the tower site. Following a series of FCC requirements for the transfer of a station license, the sale is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Until then, Converge Radio will continue with its regular programming. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Not included in the sale agreement is the Foundation’s streaming service for Blugold Radio and Converge Radio. Way said that the streaming service may be transferred to another organization so that key components of the local programming and music could continue to be streamed online.

Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Eau Claire donated the license, transmitter, tower and related equipment for operation to Blugold Radio LLC in 2016. Way noted that when the Foundation accepted the radio station gift, the business plan called for it to be more self-sustaining. Scott Morfitt was the first station manager until he resigned earlier this year but has continued as a consultant for the station. Ashley Wiswell, a former student employee and 2019 UW-Eau Claire graduate, is the current station manager and program director.

“Scott, Ashley and the many student employees who started and ran the station did an excellent job of creating unique and community-centered programming,” Way says. “However, with all that has happened since early in 2020, the Foundation board and staff have been evaluating our resource deployment. Our core mission is to provide resources — financial and staffing — that ensure strength in student recruitment, retention and success.”

Kimera Way can be reached at 715-836-5180 or waykk@uwec.edu