HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- "Nothing gold can stay," wrote Robert Frost, and the staff at WNKU is feeling that sentiment as several of the local radio station's longest-running and most popular weekend programs air for the final time Saturday and Sunday.
Northern Kentucky University announced it would sell WNKU to the Bible Broadcasting Corporation for $1.9 million on Feb. 14. In the intervening weeks, an online petition to "Save WNKU" surged by 5,000 signatures to top 8,600 total, but it hasn't been enough.
Station staffing will be reduced significantly on March 31, according to an email WNKU sent to its members on Thursday. The station will remain on the air for at least several more weeks and perhaps months until the Federal Communications Commission formally signs off on the deal.
"We know. Get out the tissues," General Manager Aaron Sharpe wrote in the email. "It's (going to) be sad for all of us, but we hope you'll tune in and help us celebrate an amazing run of truly unique radio programming this weekend."
The shows running for the last time this weekend include You're On the Air with Mr. Rhythm Man, Roadhouse Blues with Ken Hanes, The Front Porch with Pam Temple, The Real Mary Peale Show and Music From the Hills of Home with Katie and Oakley Scot.
Two additional shows, Funky Fridays with Freekbass and the '80s Mixtape, will conclude on March 31. On-demand archives of these shows will be available at wnku.org as long as WNKU remains on the air. As for on-demnd listening after that date, it remains to be seen.
Louisville Public Media told WCPO in February it would reach out to NKU to negotiate a purchase of WNKU's unsold signal in Middletown (WNKN) to maintain an adult album alternative (Triple-A) format station in Greater Cincinnati. On Friday, WFPK Program Director Stacy Owen said they're still in discussions with NKU, but no decisions have been reached.