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Frequently Asked Questions on the Future of Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Public Radio and the Iowa Board of Regents have approved plans for IPR to take ownership of the network’s FCC licenses and associated broadcasting equipment. With all changes come questions. We've answered the most common questions and concerns to assure you that the future of public radio in Iowa is bright.

What does this mean?

The Iowa Board of Regents is creating a new operating model for its 26-station radio group. The new model will consolidate the Regent Universities’ radio groups into a single community licensee, Iowa Public Radio.

What’s changing?

Iowa Public Radio will own the stations. However, members, listeners, sponsors and supporters are unlikely to notice a change. We’re still committed to the same high-quality news, talk shows and music programming we’ve always had.

Why are you making this change?

Iowa Public Radio has managed the day-to-day operations and served as the primary fundraiser for the Regent Universities’ radio groups since 2007. This transfer is the next step in the management and governance of the radio groups in order to further enhance the network’s ability to serve the entire state of Iowa.

The goal of consolidating the individual radio groups under a single community licensee is to ensure the long-term success of public radio in Iowa.

Why now?

Iowa Public Radio has been successfully managing the radio groups without direct financial support from the universities since 2020. Through its fundraising and other revenue streams, IPR is in a strong financial position to operate independently of university support.

When does this take effect?

The transfer of the broadcast license is pending approval by the FCC. Iowa Public Radio will begin operation as a community licensee once approval is granted, which is expected by the end of 2022.

What is the benefit to Iowa?

The radio groups were established for the benefit of the citizens of Iowa to enrich civic and cultural life through high-quality news and cultural programming. That remains the core mission of Iowa Public Radio.

This transition ensures the long-term sustainability of the statewide network of public radio that the universities created and IPR has sustained. Iowa Public Radio will gain operational and economic efficiencies to help improve service, engage a larger audience and increase private support for public radio in Iowa.

What does this mean for the universities?

While the universities have a storied history of broadcasting in Iowa, each of their radio groups has been operated by IPR for more than a decade. This transfer frees up internal resources, finances and staff time to reallocate to other areas of need at each university. They can better focus on their core mission of education, research and scholarship.

Is Iowa Public Radio equipped to succeed after the transfer?

Iowa Public Radio — with the support of members, donors and supporters — is well-positioned for the future and has opportunities for growth as a community licensee. In 2020, IPR and the Board of Regents assembled a working group to begin planning this transfer. Based on a recent benchmarking study conducted by Greater Public, IPR performs in the 90th percentile of stations garnering membership revenue based on audience. Consolidation into a single community licensee enables IPR to further build on this strong community support for public radio.

What will the relationship between IPR and the universities be after this transition?

With an Iowa Public Radio station on each campus, there will still be a strong, collaborative relationship with the universities. Historically, IPR has provided internships and learning opportunities for students, and those will continue.

Will there be any disruptions to Iowa Public Radio services?

No, we are proactively taking steps to assure that the operations of the radio groups are maintained without disruption.

There are still many details to work out and many questions remain. If you have additional questions, please contact us.