Honchos Claim MPR Plays Monopoly

The FCC is expected to give a green light to Minnesota Public Radio’s purchase of commercial station WLOL-FM within the next 30 days, but there’s plenty of grumbling among commercial operators here over the deal.

Emmis Broadcasting Corp. of Indianapolis accepted MPR’s $12 million offer for the contemporary pop outlet WLOL last month. With its 7% audience share, WLOL ranks fifth in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, according to Arbitron’s latest ratings in October.

MPR’s network currently numbers 19 pubradio stations, making it the largest pubradio net in the U.S.

MPR intends to transfer its operation from KNOW-AM – which will be sold to help bankroll KLOL purchase – to KSJN-FM, its Twin Cities classical music outlet, and move its longhair music from KSJN to WLOL. The switch will boost MPR’s power output from 5,000 watts at KNOW to 100,000 watts at KSJN.

Some industry honchos are complaining that MPR is becoming too big, too powerful and too tough to handle under existing FCC regs.

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