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Spring Hill College to Sell WHIL to University of Alabama

Spring Hill College's WHIL to be sold to Alabama Public Radio

In a familiar-sounding tale, University of Alabama is in talks to purchase public radio station WHIL from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama for $1.1 million.

WHIL currently airs a public radio format, mainly comprised of classical music programming and syndicated NPR shows like “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered.” It is expected that the programming won’t change much following the purchase, as University of Alabama will incorporate the station into its network of stations under the umbrella of Alabama Public Radio.

Spring Hill College, a small Jesuit institution, has operated the station since 1979. WHIL was originally a student radio station. After transforming WHIL into a public radio affiliate, the college created a second station, WTOH, which operated a 10 watt FM station in the 1980s and 1990s. Eventually that station was bumped off the air in the mid-1990s. A few years ago there was a push to revive student radio at Spring Hill College in the form of an Internet-only station, but it appears that currently there is no student radio station on campus. During WHIL’s recent history as a public radio station, students seemed to be minimally involved, although they were offered internships at the station.

In a statement on the college’s website dated Monday, March 21, 2011, Spring Hill College President Richard P. Salmi, S.J. writes:

“The station’s role in our community is an important one, but the College must focus its energy and limited resources, particularly in these challenging economic times, to not only sustaining but also strengthening our primary mission and providing an exceptional education for our students successfully engaging them in learning, faith, justice and service. Therefore, ultimate responsibility for the operations of a public radio station cannot be a main focus for us.

Spring Hill College has been in recent negotiations with the University of Alabama who manages the Alabama Public Radio network. The University’s Board of Trustees executive committee just this afternoon approved a motion to purchase WHIL from Spring Hill College.”

WHIL, which is in the midst of a pledge drive, is still seeking donations for the ongoing costs related to its station. As of yet, paperwork for the proposed sale has not be accepted for filing by the FCC.


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