WVIK announces launch of 24/7 classical station, plus all-day news

CEO Johnson to lead doubling of programming

WVIK fans will soon double their local public radio programming choices with the addition of WVIK Classical at 98.3 FM, a 24/7 classical music station set to launch on May 1. 

The new station also will allow WVIK News on 90.3 FM and 95.9 FM in Dubuque to convert to all-day, all-news programming. The pair of stations will do it under the direction of new CEO and General Manager Jared Johnson. 

“WVIK has a tremendous legacy to uphold, and I’m so grateful that our long-term listeners and benefactors have gotten us to this place where we can talk about expanding our services rather than cutting them,” Mr. Johnson said in an Augustana College news release. “Just the thought of hosting two live, local, morning drive programs kind of blows my mind.”

The twin stations’ new leader is not new to WVIK, however. He first joined the station in 2014 and previously served as station manager. He also has served as interim general manager since Oct. 29. 

The college said he was chosen as the CEO and GM for the expanded NPR affiliate following an extensive national search conducted by WVIK’s Community Advisory Board, WVIK staff, representatives of the Augustana College community and Alison Scholly of Public Media Group. 

Betsy Brandsgard, advisory board chair, said “Jared has a vision that moves the station into closer alignment with the college, inspires new partnerships with donors and underwriters, engages audiences and causes the community to see WVIK as a real asset to the region in the years to come.” 

WVIK is licensed and owned by Augustana College and located on the college’s Rock Island campus.

Kent Barnds, Augustana’s executive vice president of external relations, said Mr. Johnson is an innovator who will continue to champion WVIK’s mission of providing cultural, educational, news and music programming. “Jared will provide steady, yet bold leadership for the future, and I look forward to supporting him in this new leadership role,” he added.

Mr. Johnson said he is honored to lead WVIK’s next chapter and added that with the WVIK Classical launch listeners will receive more of what they already love – classical music and local news – on separate dedicated stations.

Both signals will continue to serve the Illinois-Iowa area and cover their same geographical footprint. Nonprofit WVIK signed on the air for the first time on Aug. 25, 1980. More than 40 years ago it transitioned from being a low-powered, student-run radio station to the professionally operated public radio station it is today. 

Marian Lee, associate professor of piano at St. Ambrose University and member of WVIK’s Community Advisory Board, said she is thrilled to see the station continue to grow and evolve to meet what listeners of today want.

“With an entire channel dedicated to classical music, WVIK will now have the space to include even more recordings of local musicians and ensembles,” she said. “And as a lifelong advocate for youth music education, I’m particularly happy that there are also plans to include and feature local student musicians.”

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