Thursday, November 29, 2007

KOPT/Eugene sold, to flip to public radio

A few Oregon blogs are reporting that the owner of KOPT (1600AM) in Eugene, OR have struck a deal to sell the station to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Upon purchase approval, OPB, which currently does not own a station in the market but does collaborate with local noncommercial KLCC-FM, will flip the frequency to noncommercial public radio fare. That means that Air America Radio, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller and the rest of the station's programming will be gone.

But don't rule out the progressive talk format in Eugene, which has done fairly well in the local ratings, quite yet. Sadie Dressekie of Churchill Media, the station's owner, told Eugene Weekly that the company "has been in discussions with a number of parties that are interested in taking over the format and putting it back on KOPT’s original signal, 1450 AM." The frequency currently broadcasts ESPN Deportes Radio, 24-hour sports in Spanish.

Churchill, which specializes mostly in Spanish-language formats, has been a supporter of progressive talk in Eugene. Since it picked up the format three years ago, Churchill has maintained perhaps the largest news staff of any local station. Unfortunately, this approach was also rather expensive for a market as small as Eugene, and in August most of the station's local staff was dismissed.

As it stands now, 1600AM will eventually flip to NPR-style public radio programming, but progressive talk may move a bit down the dial. We'll keep you posted.


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