Stimulated by the success of a collaborative project, the planning committees of WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN met in the fall of 1999 to discuss how the two stations could continue to partner to better serve the community. As discussions evolved, it became clear that the then separate organizations shared a public service mission, had identical business models, and held a common view of the digital future.
In January of 2000, the committees made the following recommendation to their respective Boards: Combine WCPN & WVIZ to form a new non-profit multi-media entity with distinctive, locally-based content in areas of news, education, entertainment, culture and public service to serve the Northeast Ohio community and beyond.
Both Boards agreed, and each appointed members to an implementation team. That team worked diligently over the next nine months to outline a specific plan to merge the organizations into a new non-profit entity. The plan was approved by the two Boards and announced in October of 2000.
On June 30, 2001, the former non-profit organizations, Educational Television Association of Metropolitan Cleveland and Cleveland Public Radio, were dissolved. On July 1, a non-profit organization, ideastream, took life as a new public service multiple media organization with a Board of Trustees comprised of members of the former Boards of the predecessor organizations.
In late 2010, classical music station WCLV 104.9 was donated to ideastream, and on January 1, 2013, officially became a not-for-profit radio station.
The concept of ideastream is to bring together a variety of educational and public service media programs to leverage creative, technical and financial assets to better serve our communities.