Capital Public Radio's ownership expanded Thursday when the non-commercial station announced an agreement with the University of the Pacific to buy KUOP (91.3 FM) in Stockton.
For six years, CPR has had a licensing deal with KUOP to operate the station - airing news and jazz programming from Sacramento's KXJZ (90.9 FM). But the move, which still must clear Federal Communications Commission hurdles, ensures that the Stockton-Modesto area will retain National Public Radio coverage.
In 2005, UOP had sought buyers for the station - interested parties included CPR, San Francisco's public-radio powerhouse KQED, and several religious broadcasters - but eventually took it off the market because the offers were not to its liking.
"I re-initiated contact with them after I came (to CPR)," says president and general manager Rick Eytcheson (pictured), who assumed the job in December. "This is a great opportunity for us. The signal is really strong, and there's well over a million people in the San Joaquin (County) signal area.
"In most states, that alone would make it a large market. But it's really underserved by electronic media. There are no TV stations in Stockton, although there is print (the Stockton Record)."
As part of the agreement - terms were not disclosed - UOP will provide CPR with an on-campus studio. Eytcheson says no plans are in place to open a Stockton bureau, but that it certainly will be considered.
"We hadn't considered it before because our situation was tenuous (a month-to-month licensing deal with the university)," he says. "But now it makes sense to develop a local presence."
Other stations owned and operated by CPR include the classical stations KXPR in Sacramento (88.9 FM) and KXSR in Groveland (91.7 FM), and news/jazz stations KQNC in Quincy (88.1 FM), KKTO in Tahoe City/Reno (90.5 FM) and KXJS in Sutter (88.7 FM).