In support of its commitment to expand local journalism and tell more of Northern California’s stories, North State Public Radio (NSPR) is studying a potential partnership with Capital Public Radio (CapRadio) in Sacramento.

Together, NSPR and CapRadio are evaluating opportunities with the goal of strengthening mission-based public radio services provided to listeners. Both public radio stations are affiliated with California State Universities: CapRadio is licensed to Sacramento State, and NSPR to Chico State.

The stations have hired Colorado-based Public Media Company, a nonprofit consulting firm whose mission is fostering sustainable and innovative public media growth, to advise on a partnership. The opportunity under evaluation and consideration is a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA), which would formalize the cost sharing for programming, engineering, management, and other shared services. CapRadio already operates a PSOA with Sacramento State to manage other public radio stations.

NSPR General Manager Phil Wilke said the business and programming model being studied would bolster his small newsroom by hiring more reporters and drawing on the considerable resources of CapRadio. In turn, CapRadio would have greater access to news coverage of California’s northernmost counties.

“A good partnership for NSPR would put more journalists on the ground in the communities we serve and provide a sustainable business model to ensure that NSPR remains a vibrant and vital public service to the North State, providing comprehensive and critical coverage to our listeners for decades to come,” he said.

NSPR is licensed to Chico State under the umbrella of Chico State Enterprises (CSE). Tom Lando, an NSPR member-listener and longtime Chico resident, said such a partnership would build on NSPR’s highly respected reputation.

“CapRadio is a strong news and cultural organization with unquestioned integrity,” Lando said. “We’re eager to see how an agreement can benefit NSPR’s listeners and Chico State.”

Sarah Bohannon wears headphones as she reads from a script on the radio control board, with two computer monitors in front of her.
North State Public Radio Interim News Director Sarah Bohannon works on “After Paradise,” a program that chronicles the aftermath and recovery of California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire.

NSPR has been serving North State communities with National Public Radio (NPR) news and local reporting since its first broadcast in 1969. This April, it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a community celebration. The station and its news team were recently awarded a prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast excellence for the series “After Paradise,” chronicling the aftermath and recovery from the Camp Fire. Broadcasting to 12 counties across Northern California from 10 transmitters, NSPR reaches more than 35,000 listeners weekly.

CapRadio is a network of seven stations broadcasting to over 470,000 listeners each week in the Capitol region, Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, stretching from Stockton and Sacramento to the Tahoe-Reno areas. CapRadio also distributes timely and thoughtful coverage of state government in Sacramento to 53 of California’s 58 counties and can be heard daily on network affiliate stations, including NSPR. CapRadio broadcasts a weekday public affairs show, “Insight;” creates and airs the documentary and community engagement series “The View From Here;” and features dozen of locally hosted music shows and podcasts.

“As CapRadio enters an exciting chapter in its evolution with our future downtown Sacramento headquarters and community engagement space, we’re excited to explore a partnership with NSPR and Chico State,” CapRadio President and CEO Rick Eytcheson said.

The ongoing partnership study will take approximately three months, with reports and conclusions presented to the respective radio station’s governing bodies.

NSPR can be heard across Northern California on the following frequencies: KCHO 91.7 FM Chico, KFPR 88.9 FM Redding, 91.9 FM Burney, 89.7 FM Chester, 92.3 FM Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta, 100.9 FM Greenville, 99.7 FM Hayfork, 92.3 FM Oroville, 89.5 FM Weaverville, and 98.3 FM Westwood. NSPR in connection with CapRadio also provides a public radio feed supporting KHSU in Arcata. NSPR broadcasts online at mynspr.org.

CapRadio provides news via KXJZ 90.9 FM Sacramento, KKTO 90.5 FM Tahoe-Reno, KUOP 91.3 FM Stockton-Modesto, and KQNC 88.1 FM Quincy, and music on KXPR 88.9 FM Sacramento, KXSR 91.7 FM Groveland-Sonora, and KXJS 88.7 FM Sutter-Yuba City. CapRadio broadcasts online at www.capradio.org.