Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vanderbilt Student Communications Board’s Student Members Directly Address Possible WRVU Sale

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

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Last month, our own Steve Haruch updated everyone on the ongoing turmoil regarding the potential sale of WRVU’s broadcast license by the VSC board — that’s the eight-member governing body that “owns and operates” WRVU, The Hustler, InsideVandy.com and all other existing student media at Vanderbilt. As Steve noted, ever since the board announced it was “exploring the migration of radio station WRVU to exclusively online programming and the sale of its broadcast license,” debates have raged regarding the size of WRVU’s listenership, the VSC board’s intentions and more.

Yesterday, InsideVandy.com posted a letter to the editor penned by the five student members of the VSC board (Courtney Kissack, Justin Tardiff, Kyle Blaine, Laura Dolbow, Phil Carroll and Thomas Shattuck). The letter states the VSC board’s intentions to “create an endowment” that would “support student media operating expenses in the future.” They go on to explain other advancements that could be made possible by this endowment, such as making Vanderbilt Television high-definition, or providing “multiple online streams of WRVU.” An excerpt:

If the 91.1 FM license, which is held and overseen by the VSC board of directors, is sold, revenue from the sale would be used to create an endowment. Interest accrued from the endowment would be used to support student media operating expenses in the future. WRVU would not go away if the FM license were sold; rather, an endowment would provide the station with the resources necessary to thrive in a changing media landscape.
A student media endowment would present significant new possibilities for student media at Vanderbilt. As more and more media consumption takes place in digital form, we as an organization need to remain relevant and provide students with skills and training to cover the campus as well as we possibly can. Whether the future means high-definition technology for VTV, enhanced features for InsideVandy.com or multiple online streams of WRVU, as student demands and interests change, we need to be in a place to support them.

Commenters have already begun to question the relevance of investing in VTV or The Hustler while moving WRVU to online programming. Commenter “but wait…” asks, “if they're in such desperate need for funding, and acfee hasn't decreased ... doesn't that mean that the hustler ad revenue is down? which means that paper media is the one that's becoming irrelevant, not radio?” Another commenter asks, “you ever get the sinking feeling that students who volunteer for leadership positions are only in it for the resume padding and to be parrots for the men in suits?” The VSC board continues to encourage student input via the Vandy Media website.

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