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Public radio station WYPR to acquire Towson University’s WTMD

In 2019, "Baltimore Hit Parade Live," hosted by Sam Sessa (right) at WTMD's Towson studio, featured a performance by Single Carrot Theatre.
In 2019, "Baltimore Hit Parade Live," hosted by Sam Sessa (right) at WTMD's Towson studio, featured a performance by Single Carrot Theatre. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore public radio station WYPR-FM (88.1) is acquiring Towson University’s public radio station WTMD-FM (89.7), the stations announced in a joint news release. WYPR, which specializes in news and talk, will allow WTMD to continue its musical format, according to the release.

The purchase was announced Friday afternoon and still must gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

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“One of the things we have really been focused on at WYPR is the importance of news, journalism and storytelling to our democracy,” said LaFontaine E. Oliver, president and general manager of WYPR, in an interview. “The synergy for us of adding music with WTMD is that it allows us to serve the whole person, not just the head. If journalism is the oxygen of democracy, then music is food for the soul. We have wanted to do more with music, arts and culture, and this relationship will allow us to do that.”

In the news release, Ben Lowenthal, Towson University’s chief financial officer and vice president for administration and finance, said the university is “grateful to have found a partner in WYPR to continue the community-first, public radio station in its existing format that listeners have come to appreciate.”

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WTMD plans to continue bringing live musical events, like First Thursday Musical Festivals, to Baltimore.

WYPR launched in 2002 after Johns Hopkins University, which had owned the noncommercial license for that frequency, sold it to a group of community members. After buying the station, they renamed it WYPR (Your Public Radio).

WTMD’s history dates back to 1972 when the Towson University station had the call letters WCVT. Its current call letters were adopted in 1991.

David Zurawik is The Baltimore Sun’s media critic. Email: david.zurawik@baltsun.com; Twitter: @davidzurawik.

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