WBRU 95.5’s signal moving to Christian ‘K-Love’ network

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It looks like it’s officially radio silence for a popular Rhode Island station run by Brown University students.

WBRU-FM 95.5 plans to file an application early next week to transfer its license to the Educational Media Foundation (EMF), WBRU spokesman Art Norwalk told Eyewitness News on Friday night. EMF is a California-based nonprofit that broadcasts Christian adult-contemporary music.

On its website, EMF describes its mission as to “create compelling media that inspires and encourages you to have a meaningful relationship with Christ.”

The news was first reported by the website RadioInsight, which said the alt-rock station will be turned into an affiliate of EMF’s “K-Love” network starting around Sept. 1. Norwalk said 95.5’s programming will continue on its website, WBRU.com.

K-Love currently airs on two stations in the region, Providence-licensed 104.7 FM and New Bedford-licensed 91.1 FM.

The change of hands comes just over a month after WBRU announced its signal was up for sale. WBRU’s general manager, Kishane Haththotuwegama, has cited decreasing revenue as one of the reasons for the sale. According to Haththotuwegama, the student board decided to sell the 95.5 signal back in March.

As part of the change, a request has been filed to change the 95.5 call letters.

Some Brown graduates, including former WBRU program director Bill Lichtenstein, feared a sale could reduce the power of student reporters and would have a negative effect on Providence.

WBRU has been broadcasting over the FM airwaves since 1966 and is currently owned by a nonprofit, Brown Broadcasting Service Inc. The station grossed $1.05 million in revenue in 2016, according to a document provided to prospective buyers.

Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.