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Colorado Public Radio is buying KXRE-AM at 1490 and a companion FM station at 102.1, which both transmit from Manitou Springs. Courtesy photo.

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Colorado Public Radio is buying an AM-FM station combination to expand into Colorado Springs with plans to hire a local reporter as part of its long-term plan to become a statewide news organization.

The Centennial-based nonprofit agreed last month to pay $550,000 for KXRE-AM at 1490 and a companion FM station at 102.1, which both transmit from Manitou Springs, to Denver-based Latino Communications. The deal is expected to be completed by early April, pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission. CPR also plans to hire reporters in the Springs and Grand Junction in the next month as well as three other news positions to broaden its statewide news coverage, said Sean Nethery, the nonprofit's senior vice president of programming.

"While we reach 90 percent of the population in the state, Colorado Public Radio's goal is to reach the entire state, and we have never broadcast (its news format) in Colorado Springs. This purchase will allow us to complete our coverage of the entire Front Range from Fort Collins to Pueblo," Nethery said. "Adding these positions will enable CPR News to produce more Colorado-focused news. This will include providing local perspectives on the most important issues in the state, giving Coloradans context and insight into what's happening across Colorado, not just in the Denver-metro area."

CPR plans to broadcast an all news and information format, including programming from National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Corp. and other providers as well as its daily, one-hour Colorado Matters program, Nethery said.

CPR also broadcasts a classical music format across the state, which can be heard locally at 94.7 FM, and a rock format it calls OpenAir in Denver and Fort Collins. The nonprofit has annual revenue of nearly $17 million, generating 60 percent from individual donations and an additional 30 percent from underwriting.

National Public Radio news and other programming is broadcast on KRCC-FM 91.5, which is owned by Colorado College.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

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