Public radio in the Northwoods will have a new home in 2012 now that a deal between Johnson and Houlihan law office and WXPR-FM has been finalized.
The law firm has agreed to sell WXPR its building at 28 North Stevens Street in Rhinelander for a quarter of its value. The remaining 75% will be donated to the station.
"The game-changing aspect of this donation of the building is that it brings all the goals of the campaign within reach" Station Manager Mick Fiocchi told Newsline 9.
WXPR launched its "Hear the Future" fundraising campaign to raise money to rebuild its studio facilities. The station currently broadcasts from a retrofitted dining room inside a 1,900 square foot house in Rhinelander.
The National Public Radio affiliate station does not receive state funding and says it relies mainly on donations from listeners. Those listeners have been active in fundraising. So far cash donations have exceeded $250,000. With the addition of the building donation, the fund has increased to over $400,000. According to Fiocchi, the station hopes to collect $550,000 to finish the project.
Standing in front of the future home of the station, Fiocchi said the building donation is a cheaper option than what was being planned otherwise.
"Doing the project here is going to save us $150,000 over what we had been planning on doing so it's a tremendous gift" Fiocchi said.
But the building is just one part of the improved service listeners will notice. With the added space, WXPR says content will improve.
An additional component of the fundraising campaign is to hire a community features editor who will oversee a group of citizen journalists. Fiocchi says by involving the community more in content production WXPR will produce news specific to issues felt by residents of the Northwoods.
WXPR hopes to be settled in its new home by early 2012.
Online Reporter Rob Duns (WAOW)