Radio station WUNC will be governed by a limited liability company created Thursday by the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.
The new structure will give the public radio station more flexibility to seize strategic opportunities, said Haywood Cochrane, one of two trustees who is likely to serve on the new entity’s nine-member board.
That board will also include: Connie Walker, the station’s president and general manager; Joel Curran, UNC’s vice chancellor for communications and public affairs; three members from the station’s current advisory board; and others with expertise in broadcasting.
The UNC Board of Trustees has long overseen the station and holds its Federal Communications Commission license. Under the new arrangement, the license will be transferred to the LLC board, which will be more directly involved with WUNC. The station, which receives no state appropriations, will remain an entity of the university.
Cochrane said the new board would concern itself with the station’s business strategy, including possible acquisitions, but won’t make decisions about editorial content.
“This is not an attempt to deal at all with programming, with content, with approach,” Cochrane said. “This is simply to say, ‘We have a wonderful asset at UNC-Chapel Hill, which is indeed, almost a statewide gem,’ and we don’t want to have any constraints from an organizational or governance standpoint that wouldn’t allow them to maximize their potential.”
Walker said she will recommend that the new board sign the Public Media Code of Integrity to alleviate any concern about editorial independence.
The new governance structure may help the station expand, she said.
“In a lot of ways it will help us do things faster and consider some other opportunities we might not have been able to do otherwise,” Walker said.
WUNC-FM is a member of National Public Radio and serves nearly 300,000 listeners in 48 counties across the state. Its annual budget is about $9 million, Cochrane said.