THIS JUST IN: WCLV to Ideastream

Cleveland market classical mainstay WCLV/104.9 recently moved in at the “Idea Center”, the headquarters of Ideastream (owner of NPR affiliate WCPN/90.3 and PBS affiliate WVIZ/25) at Playhouse Square.

Now, the station has announced that Ideastream will be taking over ownership of WCLV, keeping it as a commercial classical operation with the current staff and programming intact.

All the details are in the press release below, which was helpfully provided to us directly from WCLV president Bob Conrad…

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May 4, 2011: The WCLV Foundation, owner of the Northeast Ohio classical music station WCLV/104.9, and ideastream which includes WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN, have entered into an agreement for restructuring the ownership, governance and operation of WCLV 104.9 FM.

The agreement calls for the transfer of ownership of WCLV from the WCLV Foundation to ideastream. Radio Seaway, Inc., the licensee of WCLV, will become a subsidiary of ideastream with its own Board of Directors. An application for this transfer is being made, with approval by the Federal Communications Commission anticipated in about three months.

The staff of WCLV will remain in place as will the award-winning programming heard on the station. WCLV will remain a commercial operation.

Cleveland Classical Radio, LLC, which has operated WCLV on behalf of The WCLV Foundation, will continue to run WCLV for ideastream until approximately November 1, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the station.

Of the donation, WCLV’s President and Co-founder Robert Conrad said, “When the late C. K. (Pat) Patrick and I established WCLV in 1962, little did we know that the station would continue on for 50 years, nor did we foresee the vital part the station would play on the Cleveland cultural scene. My current partner, Executive Vice President and CFO Rich Marschner, and I have put in place a talented, vital, loyal and passionate staff under the direction of General Manager Jenny Northern. We have full confidence that they will continue the station’s unique service that it has established during the past five decades. While we intend to continue to be active in the operation of the station for some time, it is obvious that WCLV needs a ‘safe harbor’ as it moves forward into the 21st century. And ideastream is the logical place for the station to tie up. ideastream is a nationally respected organization, involved in the community on many levels with fabulous technical facilities. Both WCLV and ideastream are grounded in the same philosophy — that broadcasters have a great opportunity and hence a great responsibility to use the medium to enrich and enlarge the lives of the public they serve.”

“We are honored and grateful to Bob Conrad and Rich Marschner for their generosity and are pleased to play a role in securing the future of WCLV,” stated Robert C. Smith, Chairman of the ideastream Board of Trustees.

The WCLV and ideastream Collaboration:

The change in ownership is a continuation of the long history of collaboration between the two organizations. Highlights include:

●In 2001, Robert Conrad and Rich Marschner, then owners of WCLV, made a remarkable gift to assure that WCLV would continue to provide outstanding classical music and arts programming on the radio in Northeast Ohio. Their gift was a donation of WCLV to the newly formed charitable entity, The WCLV Foundation, which was established as a supporting foundation of The Cleveland Foundation and ideastream.

● In December 2010, WCLV moved from its Warrensville Heights studios and offices to the Idea Center® at PlayhouseSquare, home of ideastream. This move allowed for expansion of collaborative efforts between WCLV and ideastream including:

▪ The City Club Forum: At 12:30 PM on Fridays, 90.3 WCPN originates the live broadcast of the weekly City Club Forum. WCLV re-broadcasts the Forum on Friday evenings and distributes the broadcast to stations around the nation. WVIZ/PBS airs the Forum on Sunday mornings.

▪ WCLV and 90.3 WCPN simulcast the Cleveland Orchestra’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration concert and the annual Fourth of July concert on Public Square.

▪ WCLV airs the opening night Broadway Buzz pre-show presentations of PlayhouseSquare’s Broadway Series, which take place in the Idea Center’s Westfield Insurance Studio Theater with technical help from WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN.

▪ WCLV plans for live music performances from the KeyBank performance studio in the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare.

▪ WCLV’s long-running production of Jazz All Night, hosted by WCLV’s music director John Simna, now airs exclusively on 90.3 WCPN, allowing WCLV to air classical music overnight, and 90.3 to continue its overnight weekend jazz programming with a more local focus.

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