MADISON – Beginning Oct. 19 the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, which manages the network of stations that carry Wisconsin Public Radio signals, will turn off HD Radio broadcasts on seven of WPR’s 13 HD capable stations. This includes KUWS/Superior, WHSA/Brule-Superior, WUWS/Ashland, WHBM/Park Falls, WHWC/Menomonie-Eau Claire, WHAA/Adams-Wisconsin Rapids and WHDI/Sister Bay.
WPR and the ECB received federal grants to install HD Radio technology, but the costs of maintaining the service statewide are no longer justifiable based on audience use.
In 2007, WPR and the ECB had joined a national effort to roll out digital HD Radio technology. In total, WPR and the ECB installed 13 HD Radio transmitters around Wisconsin. The stations carried existing WPR content, including WPR and NPR news, classical music, talk, entertainment and local programs.
“We want to be really clear,” said ECB Executive Director Marta Bechtol, “listeners in each of these regions will continue to receive WPR on their usual FM and AM stations. This change will only affect listeners who are using an HD Radio to listen to our All Classical network on those stations.” According to Bechtol, the ECB estimates that fewer than 500 listeners will be affected. WPR’s All Classical Network will remain available throughout the state online via wpr.org.
“In addition to cost savings, it’s possible that some FM listeners will experience an improved signal quality due to reduced interference from our HD broadcasts,” Bechtol said in a news release. Savings include an immediate reduction in utility costs to power the transmitters, as well as the long-term capital costs of servicing and replacing the now-aging equipment.
For now, HD Radio broadcasts will continue to operate on six stations, including WHAD/Delafield-Milwaukee, WERN/Madison, WHHI/Highland, WHLA/La Crosse, WHRM/Wausau and WPNE/Green Bay.
WPR’s broadcasts, including it’s All Classical network, can also be streamed via the free WPR mobile app, most smart speakers and on wpr.org.
Questions? Contact WPR Audience Services by email at email@example.com or by phone at 800-747-7444.