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public TV and radio in the United States

College may sell Quad Cities station; nonprofit may try to buy it

Updated from article published in Current, June 25, 2007

A nonprofit affiliated with pubTV station WQPT in Moline, Ill., decided to look into buying the station last week, and the licensee, Black Hawk College, prepared to look for a buyer. It’s not clear yet whether the story will end happily for both.

The nonprofit, Greater Quad Cities Telecommunications Corp., voted June 18 to create a committee of board members and citizens to probe the subject. And on June 21, the college Board of Trustees "voiced their support" for the nonprofit to buy the station and gave it 90 days to develop a plan, said Greg Rogers, university v.p.

The station serves all five Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi River: Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf.

With the community college feeling a budget squeeze, it has dropped its cash subsidy for the station, cutting more than $330,000 (about 15 percent) from its expected revenues for the year starting next week, says Rick Best, g.m.

If necessary, the station can cover a deficit by drawing on about $1 million in a fund set aside for rainy days, Best said, adding, “It’s pouring right now.”

College officials noticed that an Orange County, Calif., college pocketed millions by selling KOCE four years ago (story about sale, 2003), according to Best. “The KOCE case opened up the college’s eyes that there could be cash involved here,” he said.

The station’s case is undercut by the availability of Iowa Public Television in the area. [IPTV covers the Quad Cities area with transmitters in Davenport and Iowa City, according to the network.] Best doesn’t begrudge IPTV’s efforts; his station competes by offering some local programming and a time-shifted schedule.

The last paragraph is corrected from the print version, which indicated that IPTV did not yet have a transmitter in Quad Cities.

Web page posted June 26, 2007
Copyright 2007 by Current Publishing Committee


Economics move some colleges and school systems to sell public TV and radio stations.

In the much larger Los Angeles market, a college got $32 million (not all in cash) for the public TV station KOCE, 2003.


WQPT, Moline, Ill.

Black Hawk College.

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