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Box of old KUCB playlists at colege radio station Radio 1190, including this one from 1988. Photo: J. Waits

College Radio Watch: Pending WUMD Sale, KUNV Averts Takeover, CMJ Troubles and More News

2017 has begun with the news this week that the FM license for college radio station WUMD will likely be sold to a public radio group. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced its plans to sell the WUMD license to Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) a few days ago, while students and faculty were away on winter break and paperwork was filed with the FCC the following day. For those of us who have followed college radio station sales, it’s sad to see a similar story playing out again, with college radio station volunteers and staff left in the dark until the 11th hour.

Although representative from the university and from RIPR have been very forthcoming and available for interviews, station members are keeping mum and have been told to direct press inquiries to the university’s Assistant Chancellor. It’s a challenging situation for a reporter, especially since I always strive to include the voices of college radio participants. I hope that there will be a public forum so that we can hear more perspectives on this deal, particularly from WUMD listeners and participants: those who have been involved with and have had a stake in the station for years and years.

Remembering the Ghost Ship Fire Victims

My College Radio Watch column was on hiatus the past few weeks, while I took a much-needed break for family time during Christmas and New Year’s. Although I didn’t write a college radio news recap for 2016, I discuss some highlights on the year on episode 75 of the Radio Survivor Podcast. December certainly began on a sad note, with so many folks affiliated with college radio lost in the horrible Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, but there have been some lovely tributes and benefits in recent weeks.

KUNV to Remain Campus-Run

There was some great news for student and volunteer DJs at University of Nevada, Las Vegas college radio station KUNV over winter break. The Las Vegas Sun reports, “The dedicated hordes of UNLV students who packed regents meetings to defend the campus radio station can finally breathe a sigh of relief. KUNV 91.5-FM, headquartered in the university’s journalism school, has been spared a takeover by its larger sibling, Nevada Public Radio. University officials have agreed to keep the student-run radio station independent for now, culminating a yearlong battle that threatened to permanently change the face of the scrappy campus outlet.”

Back in December, 2015, we first reported on plans for Nevada Public Radio to potentially take over programming of KUNV. We covered the story extensively on the podcast in episodes 27 and in episode 28, which includes our interviews with representatives from KUNV and Nevada Public Radio. After those opposed to the deal raised concerns, the Board of Regents opted to postpone its decision on the agreement back in December, 2015 and made its final decision last month (read its report here).

Current writes, “At a regents’ meeting earlier this month, the board announced that KUNV will continue its affiliation with the university’s journalism school, according to a briefing paper from the meeting. The university’s student government had opposed the Nevada Public Radio proposal and provided a $50,000 sponsorship to the radio station, according to the briefing paper. The university had cited the cost of running the station as one factor in its considerations of transferring management. ‘I want to continue to give the students and faculty and their community constituents a chance to make the station better,’ said UNLV President Len Jessup, according to an audio recording of the meeting.” Apparently student participation at KUNV has already doubled.

We can now add KUNV to my short series of Fighting for College Radio…and Winning articles (read part 1 and part 2). In its favor, KUNV had an administration that was willing to listen and work with the station and students, which is very heartening for those of us who love college radio.

Wheaton College Plans to Sell WETN License to EMF

Also in December, we learned that Wheaton College in Illinois plans to sell the FM license for college radio station WETN to religious broadcasting group EMF. Paperwork was submitted to the FCC in early December. According to the Wheaton College website, WETN dates back to 1947, when it began as an AM station. Apparently student interest in the station has declined over the years. A statement on the website reads in part that,

The College has now reached an agreement with Educational Media Foundation (EMF) for this purchase. EMF operates the K-Love and Air1 radio formats around the country. Pending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, the transfer will likely occur in the first quarter of 2017, at which time the contemporary Christian music format of Air1 will begin broadcasting over 88.1 FM with new call letters.

The College’s recent shift to online delivery of event media has been well-received. Video of Chapel services, concerts, academic lectures, and athletic events are now streamed live. Video is also available on YouTube and the Athletics website for on-demand viewing. Each year, Wheaton College students continue to receive training in audio and video production to capture and distribute content worldwide.”

CMJ Troubles Continue

Over the winter break, we also learned that some former CMJ employees are suing the organization over unpaid wages. Pitchfork writes, “The lawsuit against CMJ Holdings, owner Adam Klein, and his company Abaculi Media claims that employees haven’t been paid since about October 15, 2015. The case is a ‘collective action,’ meaning other employees can choose to join the suit. Filed…in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the lawsuit asks for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime compensation, and damages. The lawsuit also claims that CMJ, Abaculi, and Klein ‘intentionally, willfully and repeatedly’ violated federal and New York labor laws.” As we reported in September, CMJ scaled back on many of its 2016 plans, and did not host regional events or the annual CMJ Music Marathon conference and music festival in New York City.

College Radio Flashback: Pot Training at KRJC

Before I get on to my barrage of college radio news from the past month, take a look at this fun, short film from Modesto Junior College radio station KRJC (read more about the station on the Modesto Radio Museum website). Do you know about pots? Thanks to my friend (and former KRJCer) Tony Landolt for passing along this historical gem.

More College Radio News

Station/Staff/DJ Profiles

College of the Desert Radio Station Making its Mark on the Airwaves (The Desert Sun)

Creativity Abounds at Mines Internet Radio (The Oredigger)

RIP Vanessa Plotkin, KALX volunteer (KQED Arts)

WMTS-FM Boasts First African-American Female GM (Daily News Journal)

Lander Media Specialist Named to Board of College Broadcasters Inc. (Gwd Today)

Norwich University’s Dog River Radio Features Colorful and Eclectic Programming (The Norwich Guidon)

The Revival of Griffin Radio 2016 (MMC The Monitor)

WPCR Spotlight: DJ Hobbit (The Clock Online)

Atlanta Music Scene Rallies around Album 88 DJ (Immersive Atlanta)

Profiling NAB Radio Show Student Scholars (Radio World)

Awards and Accolades

Palomar College Radio, TV finalists in National Competition (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Goshen College Radio Station Nominated for National Award (Goshen News)

College of the Desert Radio Station Nominated as Best National Community College Station (The Desert Sun)

Brookdale Community College Station Honored by Asbury Park Music Awards (Brookdale Community College)

Student Claims Indiana’s Top Sports Broadcaster Award (The Shield)

USI Student Named Top Radio Sports Broadcaster in Indiana (University of Southern Indiana)

MIT student documentary wins national radio award (MIT News)

Station Sales

UMass Dartmouth Sells Radio License to Rhode Island Public Radio (The Herald News)

WUMD to Move On-Line as UMass Dartmouth Sells Signal to RIPR (Rhode Island Public Radio)

ACMA Approves Radio Adelaide License Transfer from University of Adelaide to Independent Board (IN Daily)

Programming

KSDB Programming Director’s First-Person Account of Covering Election Night (Radio World)

College Radio Memories of Airing Fake News (Americans United)

New CIUT Radio Show Talks Activism, Social Justice on Campus (The Varsity)

Trax on the Trail Project, including Podcast Series on Campaign Music, Concludes as Inauguration Approaches (Georgia College)

Pulse of a Scene: A Brief History of the Georgia Music Show on WRAS (Immersive Atlanta)

Soulection Radio: From College Radio to Beats 1 (Clash Magazine)

ESU Theatre Presents Live Radio Broadcast of “A Christmas Carol” (Emporia Gazette)

Mental Health ala Mode: Student Podcast Emphasizes Emotional Well-Being (Ithaca College News)

Dance Music Marathon to Air January 28 on WPNR (The Tangerine/Utica College)

Events

Simmons College Radio Hosts Pledge-a-thon in Memory of Beloved Professor (the Simmons Voice)

College Radio Participants attend Grassroots Radio Conference Spotlighting LPFM (Radio World)

Radio Marathon Event Helps to Replenish Food Bank (Niagara Advance)

College Radio History

Sean Hannity’s College Radio Past (Texas Public Radio)

Chuck D’s College Radio Past (2 Paragraphs)

New Stations

NE India’s First College Radio Starts Broadcast (Assam Times)

Bengal’s First College Radio Starts Broadcast (Don Basco India)

Best Shows, Radio Garden, Birthdays, Scholarships and More News

The Daily Met College Radio Show’s Best Segments of 2016 (My Met Media/MSU Denver)

Radio Garden Lets you Tune into a World of Global Broadcasts, Including College Radio (NPR)

WWEC Seeks DJs for Spring Semester (The Etownian)

Happy Birthday WPRK (Orlando Weekly)

New Australian Radio Scholarship (Radio Today)


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