Today, the UW System Board of Regents’ Executive Committee approved a resolution to return UW-Extension’s public media services – Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) – to its historic home, UW-Madison. WPR and WPT are located on the UW-Madison campus. The resolution is part of the ongoing restructuring of UW Colleges and UW-Extension announced by UW System President Ray Cross last fall.
“The organizational support structures at UW-Madison will help increase the programming WPR and WPT provide for K-12 schools, as well as develop an even closer relationship with the faculty at UW-Madison. WPR and WPT will remain under the purview of the Regents and UW System, but it is critical to note they have always operated independently, and they will continue to have their autonomy going forward,” said UW System President Ray Cross.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank welcomed returning the organizational home of WPR and WPT back to UW-Madison. “Public broadcasting was founded on the UW-Madison campus and was an important way in which we reached out to Wisconsin communities. We look forward to welcoming them back home and furthering their work,” Blank said.
Malcolm Brett, director of the public media services, added, “Our founders were UW professors and early extension staff who embraced the Wisconsin Idea, and who pioneered the use of broadcasting to educate children and provide useful information to people throughout Wisconsin. Our shared history—and the fact that our main studios and the majority of our staff are still based on the Madison campus—will speed the transition process. We’re excited to begin the work of our ‘second century’ on the campus where we began 100 years ago.”
Both WPR and WPT have operated under licenses held by the Board of Regents since their inception; that will not change with this transition. WPR and WPT continue to do significant work with staff, partners and campuses throughout Wisconsin. “Our commitment to public service and the public trust remains as strong as ever. We appreciate the support for our mission expressed by President Cross and the Regents throughout this process,” Brett said.
“Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television have been vital to the fabric of this state for over a century and during that time they have continuously adapted, changed and grown. In fact, both are stronger than ever,” noted Cathy Sandeen, Chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension. “I am confident WPR and WPT, along with their extraordinarily committed staff, will continue to thrive in their new administrative home at UW-Madison.”
“We appreciate the thoughtful approach President Cross and the Regents took in making this decision and we expect WPR to thrive in its new administrative home within the University,” said Dean Dietrich, Wausau attorney and volunteer chair of the non-profit friends group, the Wisconsin Public Radio Association.
“The University has been a great partner in our work to support one of the leading public broadcasters in the country. We look forward to continuing our successful work and collaborations with UW System and communities throughout the state,” said Terry Heinrichs, Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch in Madison and volunteer president of the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.
For more information about the UW Colleges and UW-Extension restructuring, go to www.wisconsin.edu/uw-restructure.