KWMU, an FM radio station operated by the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a National Public Radio affiliate, and the St. Louis Beacon, a nonprofit online news organization, are in the final phases of merger negotiations. The leaders of these organizations will lead a panel discussion during the annual media luncheon of the Community Service Public Relations Council.
The event will be at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel (7730 Bonhomme Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; complimentary parking is available in the hotel garage.) Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m. and the program is scheduled to conclude at 1:15 p.m. Cost for the event is $30 for CSPRC members; $40 for non-members and $25 for students.
Tim Eby, general manager of KWMU, and Margaret Frievogel (@mwfreivogel), editor of the Beacon, are scheduled to be on the panel. An article by Joe Holleman on July 18, 2013 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch stated that talks on merging the two entities started nine months ago. Funding appears to be the main obstacle, according to the article. Once funding–and fundraising–are resolved, the merger will create a strong media presence that is funded through individual donations, grants and government funding.
The two will discuss how the merger came about, what they see changing in their news operations, and how nonprofit organizations can take advantage of the merger. They will address possible changes in the way that nonprofits and other organizations communicate to the general public through FM radio and online.
Eby called the merger a “journalism innovation” that will strengthen regional news reporting and promote more dialogue about issues in our region. Freivogel stated the combination of the respective talents and resources of the organizations will increase community engagement.