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Chicago Public Radio Will Split Into 24-Hour Talk and 24-Hour Music Stations

By Sam Bakken in News on Mar 15, 2005 9:42PM

3_2005_radio.jpgHaters of the music on Chicago Public Radio rejoice! CPR will split its public affairs and music programming into two separate stations. WBEW-FM (89.5) and WBEQ-FM (90.7) will run 24 hours of music (jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk and others) and WBEZ-FM (91.5) will run public affairs programming around the clock. WBEZ currently runs approximately 16 hours of news, talk, arts and culture and 8 hours of music (mostly jazz). The FCC has approved increasing WBEW's power by 50,000 watts to expand its coverage of the Chicago area. According to President and General Manager of Chicago Public Radio Torey Malatia, the cost of the expansion is won't be difficult because of existing infrastructure and staff and the plan will be implemented within 18 months. Both stations will be available over the Internet.

We like the idea and some say the switch will end the "'split personality' that has plagued WBEZ throughout most of its 63-year existence." We usually like at least some of the music on the station and don't mind the format. It's exciting to hear a radio station completely shift gears at night—especially in the age of the bland Clear Channel clones. But whatever, now we'll have both 24-7!