Chicago FM station Vocalo to cease broadcasting due funding cuts


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Chicago FM radio station Vocalo has announced that it will be forced to stop broadcasting due to a cut in funding from its parent company, Chicago Public Media (CPM).

According to a post shared by Vocalo Radio on Instagram, CPM announced on April 3 that it will be terminating the public radio’s terrestrial broadcast, effective May 1.

Chicago Public Media is a non-profit organisation, host to independent newsrooms WBEZ and Chicago Sun-Times. “We envision a Chicago that is equitable, inclusive and vibrant“, reads the company’s description online.

The station will continue to livestream a limited programme via Vocalo’s website and app and the remaining team will continue to create content under WBEZ Chicago’s arts and culture initiative.

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A pillar of Chicago’s music industry, Vocalo Radio has been accredited with amplifying the careers of Chance The Rapper, Smino, Jamila Woods, Ric Wilson and more.

First launched in 2007, the 24/7 music outlet reportedly championed “local house, jazz, footwork, juke, drill, funk and hip hop for 17 years“.

The news follows several layoffs made by CPM this month resulting in the termination of “nearly 15% of the 62 unionised content creators” at the radio station amid the parent company’s “worsening” financial difficulties.

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“We are working diligently to minimise the negative impact on each individual and provide them with financial and transitional support”, WBEZ wrote in an open letter online.

WBEZ’s podcasting unit will also face a significant scale back, with Nerdette, Making and When Magic Happens, ceasing production, reported The Chicago Sun-Times.

A GoFundMe page was launched on March 3 to provide financial support for employees facing layoffs following CPM’s decision, at the time of writing, the page has raised $18,033 of its $2,700 target.

“We are still committed to uplifting our Chicago music and arts community as best we can”, Vocalo wrote to Instagram, “Thank you for all of the love and stories – we would not be who we are today without you all”.

Check Vocalo’s Instagram post below.

Mixmag has reached out to Vocalo and Chicago Public Media for comment.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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