Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Fight to Save WRVU, Organization Encourages Vanderbilt Donors to Boycott Giving

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

I’m gonna be honest: I don’t really think the 10-spot I threw down at a recent Save WRVU benefit will go far in actually saving WRVU. That’s not to discourage the campaign from fighting tooth and nail to keep Nashville’s crucial, lone radio station left of the dial on the airwaves. The Save WRVU campaign’s purpose — as I see it — is to inject their cause into the communal consciousness, shame the VSC board for its alleged intentions to devitalize the station through internal attrition before selling off its broadcast license, and foster a groundswell of outrage among the local body politic.

That’s already happened — well done, Save WRVU. But money talks. And you could fill LP Field at 50 bucks a head and still not come close to drumming up a sum that will get the brass at Vandy’s attention. But now, it looks like some concerned locals may have figured out a way to land some attention ...

The key to saving WRVU lies in courting the sympathies and igniting the passions of the school’s big-dollar donors. Vandy’s Blair Music School issuing an open letter to the VSC board and throwing their support behind the campaign is indeed of great significance to the cause, but support — in the form of threatened dollar signs, and lots of them — from the people whose names are on Blair’s buildings would be paramount. In a "Letter From the Chancellor" issued as part of the Vandy Fund's 2010 annual financial report, Vanderbilt's Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos says, "For each of the past five years, Vanderbilt has been able to raise more than $100 million in gifts, and now it is time to raise that goal to $200 million."

With this idea in mind, a group calling itself Pledge Nothing has launched a campaign and site of the same name encouraging folks to do exactly that. Declaring in their mission statement that they “have no choice but to make Vanderbilt University pay attention,” the campaign is essentially baiting Vandy donors of all stripes to boycott the school via their checkbooks. Their demand: “a 5-year moratorium on plans to sell the license, close the station or otherwise make it difficult for WRVU to stay on the air.”

Said donors can record their anti-pledges — either by name or under the cloak of anonymity — by clicking here. You can also follow them on Twitter.

The group intends to bundle the pledges and present it as currency (or a lack thereof) to “The Campaign for Vanderbilt, various luminaries in the Vanderbilt administration, etc., [letting] them know just how many years of donations are getting zeroed out.”

In addition to voicing their pledges, interested parties can also contact The Vanderbilt Fund by phone, fax, mail or email. Info below.

The Vanderbilt Fund Office
PMB 407727
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7727
toll-free phone: 1-866-882-FUND
phone: (615) 322-7252
fax: (615) 322-6586
email: TheVanderbiltFund[at]vanderbilt[dot]edu

And as some of you may have noticed over the past day or two, WRVU has been going on and off the air thanks to some technical difficulties. They haven't been officially shut down, but they will be undergoing some scheduled maintenance over the weekend. From WRVU's site:

WRVU is currently experiencing troubles with our transmitter and will unfortunately likely be off the air until some time on Friday, May 13th. We’re hoping to have these issues fixed asap, but in the interim, you can still stream our programming live.

WRVU will also be experiencing more off air interruptions this weekend due to scheduled maintenance and a campus wide power outage. Assuming we will get our transmitter back on the air soon, we will have to sign off on Saturday May 14th at 10 p.m. and remain off the air until 6 p.m. on Sunday May 15th. Our streams will also be affected by this and other scheduled maintenance and will be unavailable beginning with the power outage on Saturday night/Sunday morning and operational again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday May 17th. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. Thanks for your patience!

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