January 19, 2013
I was disappointed to hear that University of Washington, Bothell's college radio station UWave (see my 2014 tour here) is facing opposition to its planned move to a low power FM (LPFM) channel. Although the station has a construction permit from the FCC for the new LPFM station, University of Washington officials told students that the school was withdrawing support for the endeavor.
Former UWave Station Manager Amani Carithers was heavily involved with the planning of the new LPFM and learned about the university's change of heart at a recent meeting. Carithers writes, "The meeting began with an unexpected and disheartening announcement that Chancellor Wolf Yeigh (who was not in attendance) has decided not to allow UWave Radio to install an FM radio station at UW Bothell."
She also points out that the university had been supportive of the station up to this point. Carithers expressed regret that the school is turning its back on this rare opportunity for a new FCC-licensed radio station, saying,
July 1, 2017 is UWave Radio's deadline to go on air, student voices should be heard on 104.9FM, and as Bothell city grows into a robust suburb it is crucial that we take advantage of this rare opportunity to broadcast on the FM dial. In 2012 this small window was opened up by President Obama's order allowing the Federal Communication Commission to open low-power FM bands to nonprofit groups in urban areas. UWave Radio was one of thousands of groups to apply, and our approval should have been seen as a success (not a risk) and a valuable opportunity for the university and future generations of students. Over 3 generations of students have passed the baton and led in this project, negotiating and planning over a period of 5 years has been dismissed in the final stretch of the last 6 months. This FM opportunity was the 1st time in over 50 years that community radio stations in urban areas like Seattle had the opportunity to apply for FCC licensing, and will likely be the last. As we go into this presidential era, we must not continue to allow the marginalized be silenced by authoritative forces."
Students and alumni are not satisfied with this turn of events and are continuing to advocate for progress towards the launch of a LPFM station at University of Washington, Bothell. UWave Station Manager Namoka Trice said, in a statement,
After five years of planning Chancellor Wolf [Yeigh] has decided to cancel the LPFM project at the University of Washington Bothell. It is with great sadness, disappointment and anger to know that the leader of the UWB has abruptly made this decision without any input from the student leaders involved in the project. His involvement and appearances in relation to the project have been next to none, even on the day the project was killed, he sent the message to our team via a conference call, a call that he himself was not present for. He offered no explanations and allowed no space for students to discuss the matter with him."
UWave has requested a meeting with the Chancellor and also submitted a request to Washington's U.S. Senator Patty Murray, asking for a Letter of Inquiry to be sent to University of Washington regarding the future of the LPFM license. We will keep readers posted as we learn more.
Visiting KUOZ-LP at University of the Ozarks
A college radio LPFM pioneer, KUOZ-LP launched at University of the Ozarks in 2003, following the FCC's first LPFM licensing window. I visited the station during my October, 2016 travels and posted my field trip report this week. I was also excited to learn more about how LPFM came to be at the Clarksville, Arkansas station. Students originally operated an AM carrier current radio station and then moved into cable access before pursuing an FM license. Read my full report here.
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