In typical mealy-mouthed and now trademark cowardly fashion that we have come to expect, Mark Wollaeger, chair of the VSC, the organization ostensibly charged with protecting WRVU, has issued the following steaming pile:
Hello WRVU staff — this was held up by an attachment which I will paste into a separate message.
I ‘m writing to let you know that the board of Vanderbilt Student Communications has agreed to sell the license of WRVU 91.1FM to Nashville Public Radio for $3,350,000.
WRVU’s programming format will continue online and, as part of the agreement, will resume broadcasting on WPLN’s HD3 channel beginning this fall. The agreement also guarantees Vanderbilt students will have internship opportunities at Nashville Public Radio.
The new station, WFCL 91.1FM, will have a format focused on classical music and the arts. It will promote local performances and events. WRVU’s terrestrial signal will stop today at 2:30, switching to online automation only. At midnight tonight, the 91.1 format change will go into effect. (I apologize for the call letter confusion last night and this morning; some signals got crossed along the way.)
If you’re a DJ with a show on WRVU’s summer schedule, please note that automation will continue online through the summer. The station facilities in Sarratt will be closed effective immediately. We plan to use the time from now until the fall semester begins to upgrade equipment, replace carpet and paint. We also believe that it makes sense to pause and plan for what will be a highly promoted relaunch of WRVU as an HD and streaming station on September 1. The VSC board understands this change is disruptive to your summer plans, but it was necessary in order to prepare for a successful fall semester of online and HD broadcast programming.
To provide additional information about the sale, I’ve attached the full press release to this email.
The VSC board has been evaluating the possibility of selling the 91.1 license since the fall of 2009. Board members have spent two academic years engaging in meticulous research, soliciting outside ideas and feedback, and talking with students, alumni, other Vanderbilt community members and radio industry experts to consider numerous options.
Student and faculty board members who served on the board during this most recent academic year approved the sale of the license to Nashville Public Radio. The previous year’s VSC board approved the exploration of a sale.
It was critical to all board members that Vanderbilt students continue to have the opportunity to gain radio experience, enjoy the extracurricular benefits of their participation with WRVU, and offer the WRVU listening audience valuable programming. The VSC board believes these goals will be achieved through the continued online WRVU stream, in-studio experiences using the latest technology, and broadcasting on the new HD channel.
For those concerned that the terrestrial reach of WRVU programming will be diminished, it’s worth noting that this fall our new HD channel (which is being upgraded over the summer) will cover 4,400 sq. miles, while 91.1 FM covers 2,700 sq. miles. We also have plans to promote the new HD service, including a giveaway of HD radios to the community.
The board has closely examined the changing financial framework of the media industry and VSC, specifically. With new technology and media industry changes making headlines almost daily, it’s clear to the board the future of funding for collegiate student media is uncertain.
The $3.35 million VSC will receive as a result of the agreement will fund an endowment we expect to grow over the years and provide a reliable source of revenue for student media at Vanderbilt – indefinitely. Our action has essentially guaranteed the viability of all student media activities now and will make it possible to explore new media opportunities in the future. I believe this accomplishment is significant and tremendously beneficial to students and the Vanderbilt community.
For WRVU, this new assurance provides VSC increased opportunities to continue its investments in audio technology, studio upgrades, marketing, special events, WRVU staff training and more. The VSC board is looking forward to the various possibilities for WRVU in the near- and long-term.
We’re working in partnership with Nashville Public Radio to disseminate the news of the sale to the community. I met with WRVU Station Manger Robert Ackley today to discuss the agreement. The attached press release will go out to the media today. Alumni will be updated on the agreement in the upcoming student media alumni newsletter Tunnel Vision.
Thank you for your participation in WRVU. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.
Chair, Vanderbilt Student Communications Board of Directors
Vanderbilt’s student-run radio station WRVU 91.1 FM is in danger of permanently going off the air. The VSC, the board that claims ownership of WRVU has recently reached an agreement with WPLN, Nashville NPR affiliate, to sell the station’s broadcasting license. This sale would mean the loss of Nashville’s only major college radio station. Explore this site to learn more to get WRVU on the air!