Classical music coming back to the radio dial in Providence

As Handel might have put it: “Hallelujah!”

Bryant University said Thursday it’s struck an agreement with Boston public-broadcasting powerhouse WGBH to retransmit the programming from its all-classical station, WCRB 99.5 FM, on the school’s WJMF 88.7 FM starting in August.

WGBH took over WCRB in 2009 – three years after the classical station moved down the FM dial from 102.5 to 99.5 – and switched its 89.7 FM station to a news-and-talk format that now competes with WBUR 90.9 FM.

The move from 102.5 to 99.5 made Providence “one of the largest markets in the country to be without a full-time classical station,” Benjamin Roe, WGBH’s managing director for classical services, said in a statement. “We are absolutely delighted to be returning to an area with so much vibrant cultural activity.”

The university said it recently received a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission that will allow it to boost the power of 88.7 FM’s signal from 225 watts to 1200 watts. It also said WGBH will be “evaluating call letter options” for its classical service.

Programs from Bryant’s student broadcasters will be moving to a high-definition secondary WJMF station, smartphone apps and a mobile DTV channel owned by WGBH.

Rhode Island’s NPR station, WRNI 1290 AM, was owned and subsidized by Boston University’s WBUR 90.9 from 1998 until 2008 but is now independent and locally run.

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