WBEZ buys Kankakee public station



Chicago Public Media, parent company of news/talk WBEZ FM 91.5, has agreed to buy WKCC FM 91.1, rescuing the Kankakee Community College public radio station.

Effective Friday, WBEZ programming will be simulcast full time on WKCC, which was forced to cease operations because of budget constraints. The move extends the reach of WBEZ’s signal south to a potential audience of 200,000 listeners in Kankakee and Iroquois counties.

Terms of the agreement, finalized Wednesday, were not disclosed. But sources said an earlier report that suggested a sales price in the range of $400,000 was too high.

“Our purchase of WKCC is a huge win for everyone who cares about preserving high quality public radio programming for the region,” Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, said in a statement. “We are so excited to provide the Kankakee area with WBEZ’s rich and diverse news and information, including NPR’s acclaimed news magazines 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered.' ”

John Avendano, president of Kankakee Community College, announced last summer the station would have to shut down to direct resources to instructional and student needs.

“Our community greatly values public radio and this transition to WBEZ will enable them to continue to enjoy the high-quality listening experience that they desire and deserve,” Avendano said Wednesday. “WKCC has proudly served our community for over seven years delivering public radio and while we’re disappointed that funding issues forced us to sell our license, we are very happy that WBEZ will step in and keep public radio alive in the region.”