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8-track at college radio station KXUA. Photo: J. Waits

College Radio Watch: Dystopian Radio Drama, WUVA Selling FM License, College Radio Symposium and More News

Happy Lunar New Year! It feels like the semester is just getting started and there’s already some interesting news on the college radio front. On Radio Survivor Podcast #77, I give an update about college radio station KUNV, which is remaining under university control after a proposal for a public radio takeover fizzled. Meanwhile, folks involved with WUMD are still working to fight the pending sale of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s FM license, with fundraising underway to help pay for legal fees.

College Radio in New Zealand Tidbits for our Supporters on Patreon

My colleague Paul Riismandel took an enviable trip to New Zealand recently and along the way he spotted and heard some great radio tidbits. Those who have supported our Radio Survivor Patreon campaign can get a glimpse at some artifacts that Paul saw at an exhibit on New Zealand popular music, including portraits of college radio DJs and more. We are so thankful to all of our Radio Survivor supporters and your contributions help us to continue our work covering the multi-faceted radio scene.

WUVA Inc. Selling Commercial FM License

Long-time radio station WUVA-FM will be sold to a commercial radio group, Saga Communications for $1,650,000. Saga will take over programming of WUVA beginning on February 1, according to a Time Brokerage Agreement. WUVA is one of the small number of commercial radio licenses affiliated with a university or student group and has always intrigued me because of its association with University of Virginia, which is also home to community radio station WTJU and new low power FM (LPFM) student radio station WXTJ. With its license held by the non-profit, WUVA, Inc., WUVA-FM’s history (read a great accounting of WUVA history here) stretches back to the 1940s, when the station launched over AM carrier current. Its board is comprised of University of Virginia students and alumni.

WUVA currently airs a country music format, which may change after the license is sold. The Daily Progress reports, “The company expects to take over operations at the station by Feb. 1, said Jim Principi, president and general manager of Saga’s Charlottesville Radio Group. Principi said he’s not yet sure what format the station will take by then, but the company is in no rush to change things…The radio station has changed formats before. Last year, it changed from R&B to classic country.”

WUVA, Inc. plans to focus on its journalism efforts through the website WUVANews. Kailey Leinz, President of WUVA, Inc. and a University of Virginia student, wrote in a statement, “We plan to use the proceeds from the sale to grow our digital and video journalism platform,, and help build a modern, cutting-edge media and journalism operation fit for the 21st century. WUVA will remain both editorially and financially independent of the University, so this endowment will help us make much-needed investments in the future of WUVA’s mission and operations.” According to C-Ville Weekly, WUVA had some professional staff, including the station manager, salespeople and some on-air talent.

I’m hoping to get the inside scoop when I visit Charlottesville in March for WTJU’s symposium “College Radio: Then, Now and Next” on March 16 and 17. Perhaps I’ll see some of you in Virginia!

More College Radio News

Student-Produced Radio Drama Set in Dystopian Future Debuts at Liberty University (Liberty University)

WUVA Station Sold; Student News Group to Be Digital Only (Daily Progress)

Student-Owned WUVA, Inc. Sells FM Radio License to Endow (Charlottesville Tomorrow)

WUVA Sale: Video Killed the Radio Station (C-Ville Weekly)

WTJU Hosting College Radio Symposium March 16 and 17 (WTJU)

Student Radio, WUOG, Boost Local Artists to Fame (Red and Black)

Mercyhurst University Radio Station will Drop Oldies Music, Become Student-Run (Go Erie)

UTPB Student-Run Radio Station Takes Flight (CBS 7)

Community Broadcaster: The Selling of a College Radio Station (Radio World)

SaveWUMD Launches Fundraising Campaign for Legal Fees to Fight Station Sale (Go Fund Me)

Brookdale Community College Station Wins Awards at Asbury Park Music Awards (Brookdale Community College)

McCracken will be Remembered for efforts with LCCC Broadcasting/Communications Education (River Bender)

The 51 Best College Radio Stations of 2016 (Best Colleges)

RNZ Features Student Docos on Love, Health, Tapu and Pacific Reflections (Asia Pacific Report)

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