Latino Public Radio will stop broadcasting on WRNI-AM 1290 at the end of this month after the signal’s owner, Rhode Island Public Radio, said financing for a deal to sell it outright fell through.
The Spanish-language outlet has been broadcasting on WRNI for six years under an agreement with RIPR, which owns 1290. The FCC approved a proposal for LPR to buy the station in December, but RIPR said the agreement was terminated after it became clear LPR couldn’t secure financing.
“We regret that the budget realities at Latino Public Radio meant we couldn’t complete the station sale as both parties had hoped,” Torey Malatia, RIPR’s CEO, said in a statement. “We’re grateful, though, that they intend to continue reaching their audience online.”
RIPR said it will begin simulcasting its own programming on 1290 next month until a buyer for the signal can be secured. RIPR’s flagship station is 88.1 FM, the former home of LPR, and the public-radio station is currently in the process of beefing up its FM signal.
RIPR also said Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, Latino Public Radio’s co-founder, resigned as its chair late last year.
Latino Public Radio took in $294,000 and spent $273,000 during 2015, the most recent year for which its IRS tax filing is available. Its programming will continue to stream online after it goes off the AM airwaves, RIPR said.
Joseph Molina Flynn, president of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, said members of his group were “sad” to hear the news about Latino Public Radio.
“As one of only two Spanish-language public broadcasting stations on the East Coat, its departure from the airwaves is a huge loss for the Latinx community not only in Rhode Island but the Northeast,” he said in a statement. “We have had a close relationship with LPR as Dr. Rodriguez was a founder of both RILPAC and LPR. We wish the LPR team the very best as they transition to online coverage.”