WVIK announces launch of 24/7 classical station, names new general manager
Quad Cities NPR affiliate WVIK announces the launch of WVIK Classical, a 24/7 classical music station, and the appointment of Jared Johnson as the station’s CEO and general manager.
WVIK Classical will launch May 1 on 98.3 FM, effectively doubling the public radio station’s service to the Quad Cities market. WVIK News will expand to 24/7 on 90.3 FM and 95.9 FM in Dubuque; both signals will continue to serve the Illinois-Iowa area and cover their same current geographical footprint when their HD and online signals.
Johnson said he is honored to lead WVIK’s next chapter and said this launch signifies WVIK listeners will receive more of what they already love - classical music and local news - on separate dedicated stations.
“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,” he said. “Just the thought of hosting two live, local, morning drive programs kind of blows my mind.”
Licensed and owned by Augustana College, WVIK is located on the college’s campus. Kent Barnds, Augustana’s executive vice president of external relations, said 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,” said Barnds.
WVIK’s Community Advisory Board, WVIK staff, representatives of the Augustana College community and Alison Scholly of Public Media Group selected Johnson following an extensive national search. He has served as interim general manager since Oct. 29, following the retirement of Jay Pearce.
Johnson joined WVIK in 2014 and previously served as station manager. Betsy Brandsgard, chair of WVIK’s Community Advisory Board, said Johnson’s service to the station is multi-faceted.
"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,” said Brandsgard.
Non-profit 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."
Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645