PEORIA — Concern about the future of WCBU-FM 89.9, Peoria's public radio outlet, is spurring an online support effort.

Peter Kobak, a member of the city of Peoria's Innovation Team, said he was moved to set up a website ( to let the public show support for the station as well as having the option to make a financial donation by buying a WCBU T-shirt.

"I moved here two years ago. The public radio station is a connection that's helped me get to know the city," said Kobak, 26, who moved to Peoria from Chicago.

"Public radio has played such an important role in my life that I was worried about losing it. Local independent journalism is a big factor," he said.

Kobak, who lives in the West Bluff, said he was moved to take action after reading a story about WCBU in the Journal Star.

Questions raised by the article included the fact that Bradley University hasn't disclosed moving plans for the station, which has long operated in Jobst Hall, a campus building due to be demolished next year.

Kobak includes a letter on the website addressed to Bradley officials signed by a number of organizations, including neighborhood groups from the Bradley area. Members of the public are encouraged to sign the letter online as a show of support for the station.

"This letter is a response to recent news that cast doubt on Bradley University's willingness to maintain WCBU into the future. Over the past three years, Bradley has not hired a full-time director, reduced the station's staff, and staged the building in which the station is located for demolition without announcing a new home. These actions have us seriously concerned about Bradley University's commitment to WCBU," the letter stated.

Bradley spokeswoman Renee Charles said no decision has yet been made, adding that the university is still "looking into a variety of options." The school is six weeks into a three-month review, she said.

"Nobody at BU wants to get rid of it. We're looking into what upgrades are needed and the station's long-term viability," said Charles.

She told members of the West Bluff Council at a recent meeting that public input could play a positive role in the station's future. "I said it would be important for (area residents) to show support and get more people listening," said Charles.

Conrad Stinnett, president of the West Bluff Council, said he supports Kobak's petition. "I also suggested that an effort to promote WCBU membership might have even more of a positive impact than just a petition alone. I'm sure a combination of public outcry and an uptick in station membership would be factors in any kind of final decision," he said.

Steve Tarter covers city and county government for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3260 or Follow him at Twitter@SteveTarter and