Educational Media Foundation is one of radio’s biggest buyers, having racked up $111 million worth of acquisitions in the first eight months of 2019. Now the Christian broadcaster is on the other side of the deal table, selling Spanish religious “Radio Nueva Vida” WNVU (89.7) Richmond to Virginia Tech Foundation for $2.15 million.
The purchase will give the news/talk Radio IQ network that originates at WVTF (89.1) Roanoke-Lynchburg its 25th signal in Virginia. WNVU’s 27,000-watt Class B signal provides robust coverage of the state capital city. WVTF’s Radio IQ programming airs on a network of stations and translators across Virginia, from Wise in the southwestern part of the state, north to Spotsylvania, and east nearly to Williamsburg.
WVTF and Radio IQ owner Virginia Tech Foundation is a nonprofit that provides private financial support to Virginia Tech.
Roger Duvall, General Manager of WVTF/Radio IQ, says Virginia Tech and the public radio station have invested “significant funds” over the years to ensure that diverse communities across the state have access to news and information from an array of sources. “Our statewide approach to reporting local and regional news has a significant audience in the Richmond market, and we are taking this opportunity to expand our footprint and to improve our quality of service to the Commonwealth,” he said in a news release.
WVTF has had a minor presence in Richmond since 2009, when it acquired a low power frequency at 92.5 FM. At that time, greater Richmond did not have a full-time NPR news station. That station, which increased its power to 220 watts in 2013, will continue to broadcast Radio IQ.
John Dooley, CEO of Virginia Tech Foundation, says the latest expansion of the 30 year-old network “represents an extension of our commitment to serving our listeners and citizens in the commonwealth of Virginia.”
The deal has been in the works since spring 2018, when EMF said it was interested in selling the facility.
As part of the WVTF network, WNVU will feature flagship NPR programs and be the exclusive carrier of programs such as “The Daily,” based on the top-ranked podcast from the New York Times, and “1A,” which is produced at American University news/talk WAMU (88.5) Washington.
The Virginia Tech Foundation has operated WVTF since the early 1980s, when it bought the station from Virginia Western Community College. Since, its footprint has grown considerably. WVTF is the managing station for Virginia Public Radio, a news service for partner stations WHRV (89.5) Norfolk, WMRA (90.7) Harrisonburg, WTJU (91.1) Charlottesville, and WVRU-FM (89.9) Radford. WAMU is also a presenting partner in Virginia Public Radio.
WVTF’s Radio IQ also covers parts of North Carolina and West Virginia.
After the deal closes, EMF will still own three stations in the Richmond market, including “K-Love” affiliates WLFV (98.9) and WKYV-FM (100.3) plus Christian CHR “Air1” affiliate WARV (90.1).