820 AM Signs Off

What is happening to WOSU 820 AM?

Effective December 9, 2011, WOSU Public Media will no longer broadcast its NPR and local news programming schedule on 820 AM. The station was sold as part of the WOSU’s move to the FM frequency.

What about the 24-hour NPR News Programming?

The same programming schedule that has been on 820 AM is available exclusively now on 89.7 FM in Columbus. It is also available if you have a HD Radio in your car or at home on our multiple regional stations across Ohio on HD-Channel 2. These include:91.1 Marion, 91.7 Mansfield, 91.1 Coshocton and 91.5 Portsmouth. You can also listen online at www.wosu.org.

Why did you sell 820 AM?

The sale of the AM station by WOSU is part of the station’s plan to build listenership on the FM dial that began in December 2010 with the purchase of 101.1 FM and the launch of Classical 101, which allowed WOSU’s 89.7 FM to shift to an all-day NPR and local news station. The sale of the AM station was always planned to help defray some of the cost of acquiring 101.1 FM.

AM listening has declined considerably over the past 20 years across the country. In fact, a new study found that only 3 percent of listeners access their public radio station on the AM dial in America. New listeners inevitably seek the lower end of the FM dial. WOSU AM was also hampered by a FCC rule that forced the station to go to low power from dusk to dawn.

What if I cannot get your 89.7 FM station?

During daytime hours there are some parts of Ohio that will not be able to receive 89.7 FM, but were able to receive 820 AM. The AM station goes to low power at night, so the only issues with coverage would be related to daytime listening. There are often other FM stations with NPR programming that can be picked up by listeners in those communities, including WKSU in Kent and the multiple stations out of WGTE in Toledo and WOUB in Athens. We advise listeners to adjust their radio antennas and experiment with receiving FM stations at the lower part of the FM dial. Other options relate to HD Radio and online listening.

Doesn’t this station have a historic legacy?

WEAO AM was one of the first educational radio stations in the country and the first in Columbus when it went on the air on April 24, 1922. The call letters were changed to WOSU in 1933 to further identify the station with the licensee The Ohio State University. The station has a long history of accomplishment. A full history is available here.