Bryant partnership with WGBH provides new tech platforms for student radio station, restores classical music programming to R.I.

June 2nd, 2011

WJMF will become the first student-run station in the region to be available on groundbreaking new mobile service

Radio listeners in the Ocean State will once again have access to a full-time classical music station as the result of a partnership between Boston public broadcaster WGBH and Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

Beginning in August, the University's station, WJMF 88.7FM, will retransmit the signal from WGBH's 99.5 all-classical service, returning round-the-clock classical broadcasts to the Providence area.

Bryant's student-run station will continue uninterrupted on a variety of new technology platforms, including via WJMF HD-2, smartphone applications, and the use of one of WGBH's mobile DTV channels. Bryant's WJMF will be the first student-run station in the region to be available on the groundbreaking new mobile service.

"This is a major step in WGBH's commitment to restore a full-time classical service to audiences in our region," said WGBH Chief Operating Officer Ben Godley. "We're delighted to be working with Bryant University and its students as they move from over-the-air broadcast to new and emerging digital audio services for their listeners."

The reciprocal arrangement will give Bryant students the opportunity to learn from WGBH digital and broadcast technology experts during the summer in preparation for an August transition. WGBH has been a pioneer in expanding classical music onto new platforms, with live streaming,dedicated online streams, an all-classical HD channel, podcasts and mobile applications.

"Bryant has just taken a strategic step in a new direction with a terrific partner," said Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley. "I am thrilled that this collaboration returns classical music broadcasts to Rhode Island while providing our students hands-on opportunities to master leading-edge technologies for delivery of WJMF music, sports programming, and talk shows not just in New England but throughout the country."

The arrangement involves no capital commitment on behalf of WGBH, and Bryant University plans to maximize the 88.7 signal by increasing its power from 225 watts to 1200 watts by virtue of a recently awarded construction permit from the FCC.

"This is a wonderful arrangement for both institutions," said Marita Rivero, WGBH vice president for radio and TV. "It's a great fit with public media's educational mission to be working with Bryant University as we begin to realize the possibilities we imagined for 99.5All Classical (WCRB) when we acquired it in late 2009."

Adds Benjamin Roe, WGBH's new managing director for classical services, "Rhode Island classical-music audiences were among the most loyal to both WCRB and WGBH. But when WCRB's dial position shifted from 102.5 to 99.5, Providence became one of the largest markets in the country to be without a full-time classical station. We are absolutely delighted to be returning to an area with so much vibrant cultural activity, and look forward to sharing it with the rest of the region."

In the coming months WGBH will be evaluating call letter options as it considers the new reach of the classical service throughout New England.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children's series. WGBH's television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local WGBH TV productions that focus on the region's diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with 89.7 WGBH, Boston's NPR® Station for News and Culture; 99.5 All Classical; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities.

About Bryant University

Bryant University today is the culmination of nearly 150 years of continuous growth and innovation. Throughout the University's history, its academic programs have integrated theoretical and applied concepts in ways that empower its students and are highly valued in the marketplace. More than 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students from 27 states and 57 countries are enrolled in the University's College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate School of Business. The University's programs are consistently rated among the nation's best.

Bryant University contact: Tracie Sweeney Director of Public Relations 401-232-6183

WGBH contact: Jeanne Hopkins 617-300-4363

Keywords: classical music, DTV, mobile channel, Technology, WGBH, WJMF