Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Friday, February 9, 2024

Rhode Island PBS-The Public’s Radio merger application advances

Public hearing scheduled

By Alexander Castro, Rhode Island Current

The application for the proposed merger of Rhode Island PBS Foundation and The Public’s Radio is complete, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced Wednesday afternoon.

Now Neronha’s office has 180 days to decide on the application for the merger agreement, which was filed in November 2023. The submission deadline for supplemental materials was Jan. 12, 2024. 

A public hearing on the proposed merger is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at the attorney general’s office at 150 South Main St., Providence. 

The meeting can be joined virtually as well. Public comments can also be emailed, or mailed to the Consumer and Economic Justice Unit at the attorney general’s office through Feb. 29.

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger application on Jan. 5.

The state’s Public Radio Conversions Act was passed in 2005 to ensure The Public’s Radio wasn’t sold to a commercial buyer. The General Assembly wrote at that time: 

“It is necessary to establish standards and procedures that result in recoupment of public investment through the assessment of a conversion fee to create the financial infrastructure to replicate public radio programming that may be lost in the sale of a public station to a commercial operator.” 

The merger maintains The Public’s Radio status as a public entity, without any expected changes in signal strength to the broadcaster’s programming. 

The application noted the merger would also “expand access” for The Public’s Radio thanks to the increased array of resources that will result from their partnership with Rhode Island PBS.  

The proposed merger would see no sales involved, and “the assets of each of the merging parties will remain within RIPBS, as the surviving corporation,” the application states.  

“This is a common sense decision that provides for both stability and growth of the state’s premier non-profit public media institutions,” said Torey Malatia, president, CEO, and general manager of The Public’s Radio, in an emailed statement.

“Moreover, it presents the creative staff of the combined entity the opportunity to expand, enrich, and innovate local reporting, deepen partnerships, and build relevant educational programs using all available platforms, on air, online, and at live events throughout the state.”

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger application on Jan. 5.



Rhode Island Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Rhode Island Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Janine L. Weisman for questions: Follow Rhode Island Current on Facebook and Twitter.