Below is a step-by-step timeline of milestones/major events/’official’ correspondence that directly involves WRVU and the VSC. On this page, you can find all known ‘primary source’ information – that is official statements and correspondence between VSC, The University, and WRVU. The VSC sourced ‘official’, or, publicly stated content includes the announcement and associated FAQ of the proposed license sale, audio discussion between VSC Board and WRVU staff, as well as, email from Media Adviser to current GM. If this is the full extent (please send along anything else missed) of the official party line, then the justifications for such a drastic action are based on very thin reasoning. See the ‘FAQ’ section and the ‘Media Coverage’ section for further insight and analysis on what has aired to date.

VSC announces “the migration of radio station WRVU to exclusively online programming and the sale of its broadcast license.” The online announcement along with a VSC generated faq can be found HERE. The announcement asserts that the VSC is the sole owner and operator of WRVU and indicated that a deadline for a decision has not been scheduled. The VSC indicates that it will solicit input through a web comment form and consider and analyze the responses received before making any decisions.

September 19, 2010: Podcast of VSC Meeting with Students and DJs About the Decision to Pursue WRVU License Sale
Here is the recorded audio of a meeting of WRVU staff with Mark Wollaeger, VSC chairperson, and, presumably (Wollaeger does nearly all of the talking on the VSC side), the rest of the Board of Directors. The meeting is opened by a statement by Wollaeger where he hopes to clarify two main points: 1) “relation of WRVU to VSC” 2) “the financial picture” – “in a time of declining revenues, asset reallocation”. In the very early minutes, he starts with the telling statement, “our [VSC] perspective on this whole situation is understandably, necessarily very different from yours, assuming that most of you are djs, maybe other listeners…” Is the VSC (who are charged to facilitate its student run media) perspective “understandably, necessarily” different than that of a perfectly healthy student run organization? Please listen to the whole podcast, a lot of interesting points and questions are brought up.

September 27, 2010: 25 ALUMNI WRITE LETTER TO VSC
A letter from Vanderbilt alumni with combined 136 years of WRVU dj experience and 28 combined years of student voting members of Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) was issued to Mark Wollaeger, Chair of the current VSC. The letter, informed with extensive WRVU and VSC experience recounts a history of WRVU and of the VSC and their historical relationship. The letter goes on in recommending that “great caution should be taken by VSC regarding consideration of a license sale” and moving WRVU to an online format only. The letter also challenges many assertions of the proposed announcement as well as lists ideas of consideration in lieu of a transmitter license sale. Finally, the letter notes that the 25 extensively informed undersigned alumni, “strongly urge not to sell the WRVU broadcast license.” A copy of the letter as a PDF can found HERE.

After a week of no response to the the September 27 letter, the alumni (now with 50 undersigned authors including former VSC Media Advisor, Laura Hill) directs a second letter to the Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicolas Zeppos. The letter was accompanied with the following email introduction:

Dear Chancellor Zeppos: 

Last week you received a copy of a letter sent by WRVU alumni to the Vanderbilt Student Communications board regarding their proposed sale of the station’s license. We are now contacting you directly because we believe that VSC will not be responsive to our suggestions or our offers to help; that the sale is (in their minds) a foregone conclusion; and that the university administration is perhaps the only body that can be successful in preventing a license sale. We attach a new letter, signed by 50 WRVU alumni […]. I summarize the major issues in some bullet points below:

* Recent changes to the VSC bylaws have stripped student media organizations of their representation on the board. Where formerly each organization’s officers served as the student members of the board, giving every media outlet a voice in determining its own fate, today there is not even a requirement that board members have any prior involvement or experience with student media.
* Student responsibilities have been whittled away as VSC’s paid full-time staff has grown from one in 1999 to seven today. Student officers now seem to serve largely as figureheads, while professionals on staff make critical decisions regarding content and delivery. Students are thus deprived of opportunities to learn how to organize enterprises, create media content, and manage budgets.
* Changes to the budget structure have left all of VSC’s media organizations vulnerable. In the past, student business managers created annual budgets for each organization. […]. Today, there are no student business managers, and the VSC board manages a unified budget […].
* The current composition of the VSC board assures that efforts will be made to preserve The Hustler at the expense of other media organizations. Four of the five student members are current or former members of The Hustler or InsideVandy.com, […].

In short, there has been an effort over the last decade to sanitize student media experiences, protecting participants from themselves and from experiences that would be educational — the very experiences that make students want to be in a media organization in the first place. […].

We remind you that the revenue crisis cited by the board is, by their own admission, only potential, not actual. The administration must step in to help preserve the independence of student media and to stop the VSC board from taking drastic measures that are not even necessary. […]. We ask that you step in by sending a representative of your own to participate in this and all subsequent meetings concerning a sale of the license, that you advocate for future alumni involvement in this issue, and that you review the changes to VSC’s structure, composition, and budget for their integrity.

We are very grateful for your time and consideration of this matter, and look forward to your response.

The attached letter highlights recent changes of the VSC that in affect moved membership from student heads of the represented media organizations, to a new configuration where WRVU “apparently has no representation on the VSC board – a fact that is hard for many of us, with memories of having served in that capacity, to comprehend.” and therefore, ‘have no confidence that they can make an unbiased decision with regard to a sale of WRVU’s license’. The letter closes with the request that “The University administration participate in […] all future VSC Board meetings that involve sale of WRVU broadcast license, that an alumni representative with VSC experience be included in those discussions, and that the recent realignment of VSC Board be reviewed for integrity with regard to its mission”. This letter can be found here: Unfortunately this second letter, as with the first, was met with no substantive response from the VSC or from the University. A copy of the letter as a PDF can found HERE.

It is easy to forget that the students that run WRVU are donating much time to the running of the station, along with the course work load demands of being a full time student, along with other work and personal obligations. WRVU staff have found themselves over taxed without the additional burden of ‘saving the station’ – something they didn’t sign up for. The VSC, by giving no clear schedule or coherent justification for the proposed sale, the students who commit their time to operation of the station find themselves second guessing themselves and having to divert energy on what the future of WRVU holds. Naturally, undue stress is being felt throughout the student staff and djs. An example includes the unexpected resignation of General Manager Mikil Taylor before serving his full term. Mikil writes: “Given all of these extraordinary demands, I am not helping myself and, most importantly, I am not helping the station. That is why, at the end of this month, I am planning on resigning the position of General Manager of WRVU. The time has come to allow someone else to take the reins and guide the station. My time as General Manager has been incredibly rewarding, and I will always look back on this as the most educational period of my life.” Mikil Taylor suggest that Victor E. Clark fill the remainder of his term as GM.

Victor E. Clark is elected by the VSC Board and is elected to replace the post vacated by Mikil Taylor. Victor proposes ideas to the board to generate more interest within the student body by engaging professors and students to increase awareness of the asset that is WRVU – an asset that is available to all Vanderbilt students, staff, and faculty. Among other things, Victor requested that he be involved in all VSC discussion in regard to the proposed license sale and that the VSC clarify why it is being pursued.

The VSC Media Adviser, presumably on behalf of the VSC, sends email to WRVU General Manager, Victor E. Clark in response to Victor’s request that the VSC provide clarification on why and what avenues the VSC is considering the license sale. The ‘response’ simply lists some open-ended questions with little direction of what has been learned, where they are in the process, and by whom and how these questions are supposed to get answers.
The December 2 email by Chris Carroll:

Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc. • Board of Directors
WRVU Exploration ‑ Working Draft of Key Issues
Requested by Victor Clarke, WRVU General Manager, Dec. 1, 2010 

An objective of the VSC Board of Directors is to take action that will benefit the greatest number of Vanderbilt students over the longest period of time. Key among its responsibilities is the obligation to preserve opportunities in media for students well into the future.

Assuming the VSC Board of Directors is presented an offer of an amount deemed acceptable (that amount TBD) to purchase the broadcast license for WRVU and establish an endowment, what are some of the issues the board might consider when contemplating whether to go forward with a sale?

• Is there an immediate alternative to fund an endowment? Are there likely alumni or other donors willing to match or substantially match the sale offer?

• Is the revenue potential presented by retaining the broadcast license equal to or greater than the offer? Are there changes that could be made to WRVU programming or management that would result in substantial underwriting income? What would be the probability of success of such an effort?

• Is there strong evidence to suggest that delaying a sale would result in a larger offer at a later date?

• Would the learning experience for students affiliated with WRVU differ substantively if the station’s programming was online only? How can this difference be measured? If the learning experience were diminished, would that loss outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• Would the developmental/recreational (co-curricular student development) value of WRVU differ substantively for students if the station’s programming was online only? How can this difference be measured? If the student activity experience were diminished, would that loss outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• Would student involvement change substantively for WRVU if the station’s programming was online only? How can this be predicted? If participation levels were diminished, would that loss outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• How large is WRVU’s off-campus broadcast audience? What benefits are gained for VSC and students by having this broadcast audience? How are these benefits measured? Is serving WRVU’s Middle Tennessee broadcast listeners a priority that outweighs the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• How large is WRVU’s campus broadcast audience? How would the transition to online only programming impact those student listeners? How might this be predicted? What level of decline, if any, would outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• What is the intrinsic value of retaining the WRVU broadcast license as a legacy to alumni and the community? How can this be measured? Does this value outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?

• Are there other persuasive arguments that support retaining the broadcast license that outweigh the opportunities presented by an endowment?


Below is letter issued to Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) Board, the organization entertaining the idea of selling WRVU’s transmitter license, undersigned by 21 Deans/Faculty Members along with 21 Students from Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.


Dear colleagues,
We at the Blair School of Music have a special interest in keeping WRVU on the air. We understand the vital role that music plays in serving the public and creating strong ties between the university and the greater Nashville community, which is why nearly all of the concerts we present at Ingram and Turner Halls are free and open to the public.
The traditional role of terrestrial radio is certainly changing in the modern digital world, but as Music City’s only major college radio station, as a centrally important home for non-mainstream music programming, and as one of the oldest FM stations in the area, WRVU is a cultural treasure with deep roots in Nashville’s music and business sectors, and a passionate listenership that extends far beyond the university.
Music is one of the most effective and powerful ways that Vanderbilt serves its community. Please keep WRVU’s broadcasting license intact.
FACULTY & STAFF... See WRVU.ORG for Complete Letter...


The following list of nine open-ended questions was sent by VSC Director of Student Media Chris Carroll, in response to a request for information by WRVU General Manager Victor Clarke regarding the VSC Board’s concerns and interest in a sale of the WRVU broadcast license. We offer the following responses to the VSC's questions below.. ____________________

1. Is there an immediate alternative to fund an endowment? Are there likely alumni or other donors willing to match or substantially match the sale offer?
In the initial announcement regarding the possibility of a sale (www.vandymedia.org/wrvu/), Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) stated that the goal behind this move was to protect other student media by creating 'an endowment to support innovative student media experiences, facilities and operations at Vanderbilt University in perpetuity.' Although we reject the notion that a license sale could achieve that goal, we would like to see funding possibilities for WRVU explored further. We believe that the possibilities for funding are various, and include:
· underwriting campaigns, such as those heard on NPR · benefit concerts · membership drives, again following the NPR model · alumni donations
In fact, there are existing precedents at WRVU for the first two suggestions, where a student underwriting director position already exists and benefit concerts have raised several thousand dollars each year for the station.
WRVU, unlike its print media counterparts, cannot earn a large advertising income due to the nature of its broadcast license. This fact, however, is offset by its seemingly manageable cost. According to a 2009 letter to the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board by VSC Assistant Director Jim Hayes, 'WRVU has an annual operating budget of $10,000.' In his opening statement at a meeting with WRVU staff and DJs, VSC Chair Mark Wollaeger cited a cost of $15,000 (plus shared expenses associated with the VSC’s rental space in the Sarratt Student Center). Whatever the case, keeping WRVU on the air requires only a small fraction of VSC’s total $900,000 annual operating budget. As a form of community service, Vanderbilt radio is a low-cost, high-return asset that has fulfilled its non-profit commitment to the FCC since receiving its license in 1953—all while educating hundreds, if not thousands, of Vanderbilt students.
WRVU is certainly willing and able to create an endowment if necessary to sustain its annual operation costs. Doesn’t it make sense that the other VSC members be similarly obligated? These other VSC publications and media include The Vanderbilt Hustler newspaper, The Commodore yearbook, The Political Review, The Slant, The Torch, ORBIS, VTV, InsideVandy, The Talented Tenth, and the annual Vanderbilt Review. The majority of these publications have existed for fewer than 10 to 15 years. It simply does not make sense to poach an anchor VSC member, WRVU, to sustain publications “in perpetuity” which have yet to prove that they can exist and operate successfully at a fraction of WRVU’s lifespan.
What is the endowment going to be used for? As can be seen in the VSC board’s initial statement, they have not been specific in their response to this question. We at SaveWRVU suspect that the annual operating costs of any or all of the VSC media organizations is not the issue, but rather the bloat associated with the growing paid VSC staff. We fear that an endowment created by the WRVU license sale would not assist with the operating costs of any of its member media organizations but, instead, will become a means of sustaining an ever-increasing professional (i.e., non-student) VSC staff.
For over 30 years there was only one full-time paid staff member of Vanderbilt Student Communications, a journalistic advisor. The organization, which was explicitly created to protect editorial freedom of speech for students from the meddling of the Vanderbilt University administration, was likewise governed by a board of 21 students for decades. Most of these student positions were held by the heads of student media. WRVU had three Board positions, more than any other organization (perhaps due to the size of its staff). Even as recently as a decade ago, every media organization was represented on the board. Recently, however, the student component of the board was reduced to five voting members. Today, none of these 'at-large' members have any current connection to WRVU; they are each involved with one of the VSC publications that would benefit from the proposed sale, though. Meanwhile, the number of full-time professional staff members has increased to from one to seven.
Could a license sale actually fund an endowment? We consider this prospect extremely unlikely. The stated upper range for a sale is around $5 million. If the entirety of this high number were placed in trust as an endowment, only the interest/earnings generated by it would be available for use by VSC, not the $5 million itself. The board has not presented any kind of plan detailing the structure of a putative endowment, its investment strategy, imagined returns, or its management. Assuming a (purely arbitrary, but probably representative) 5% return on that top-end estimate of the license’s value, however, the income would equal $250,000 a year. VSC’s current budget is already almost four times greater than that and it will rise as costs, especially cost-of-living raises for staff, rise. The annual outlay of VSC on WRVU’s behalf, on the other hand, is minimal—less than or equal to the salary of just one of the seven current full-time staff members.
2. Is the revenue potential presented by retaining the broadcast license equal to or greater than the offer? Are there changes that could be made to WRVU programming or management that would result in substantial underwriting income? What would be the probability of success of such an effort?
It isn’t clear exactly what the Board means here by 'revenue potential.' WRVU is a 'not-for-profit radio station.' By federal law, which is enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the purpose of WRVU is to serve the community through quality programming, not to generate income. Although station underwriting is allowed, direct advertising sales are not. WRVU underwriting programs that have supported the station since the 1960s have not been utilized under the current VSC management, despite the fact that one new VSC professional staff position (Advertising Director) was created specifically for such a purpose at a current annual salary of approximately $70,000.
From underwriting campaigns to benefit concerts to membership drives, there are many funding possibilities for radio station WRVU that have not yet been explored. We believe that at least some of these possibilities have great potential.
3. Is there strong evidence to suggest that delaying a sale would result in a larger offer at a later date?
As already noted, we reject (and federal law essentially prohibits) consideration of WRVU as a purely economic asset. It is, instead, fundamentally an educational opportunity.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that 2011 is not a wise time to be selling radio frequencies, especially non-profit frequencies below 92 MHz. The reason for this has nothing to do with the viability of broadcast radio, even for specialized stations like WRVU. Don Benson, WRVU alumnus and 2010 inductee in the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame (named as one of the '40 Most Powerful People in Radio' by the industry magazine Radio Ink), told former WRVU General Manager Mikil Taylor that broadcast licenses have hit an all-time low in their market value, but also that they will increase in the future.
According to the 2010 Arbitron report Radio Today: How America Listens to Radio, 93% of the U.S. population still listens to broadcast radio daily. The dial is limited. As demand for bandwidth continues to build and the number of available frequencies declines, the value of the license for 91.1 FM will continue to increase.
Likewise, Benson and other radio experts have stated that radio frequencies can be used for other purposes such as telecommunications and high-speed Internet delivery. There is no danger that the value of an FM frequency will bottom out. Like the rare opportunity of working at a high-power FM station, the fiscal value of radio waves will only increase with the advent of new technologies.
See Complete Response...


Student members of the VSC, the organization charged to determine the fate of WRVU, issued a letter to the editor on InsideVandy, a Vanderbilt newspaper with the title "Our Understanding of the WRVU Sale".

At some point, we would like the VSC to address some of the many valid points in support of retaining the on-air license. Six months into this sale proposal and they are saying the same thing. This is not acceptable.

Excerpt from Feb 28 InsideVandy Letter to the Editor:

To the Editor: Our Understanding of Potential WRVU Sale

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.
Since the start of this academic year, five colleges around the country have divested their radio stations. Unlike every one of those schools, however, all the revenue from a possible sale of 91.1 FM would be invested back into student media here.
A decision on the future of WRVU’s FM license may not be an easy one to make, which is why the VSC board of directors has invested hundreds of hours over the past two years to arrive at this point. We continue to solicit student input on the proposal through our website, vandymedia.org/wrvu.
Whatever our decision on the future of WRVU’s FM broadcasts may be, it will be made by a board controlled by students, with the intent of creating the best possible future for student media at Vanderbilt. As always, we are committed to looking out for both the students who consume our products and the students who create them.
Student members of the VSC board,
See InsideVandy for Complete Article...


VSC, against all common decency and counter to their own public 
statements have sold off WRVU despite months and months of student and 
community support for preserving the REAL and VITAL treasure that is 
WRVU.  A dark, dark day in Nashville and for Vanderbilt University.

The VSC, in typically cowardly fashion enter the studio for "emergency maintenance" and lock out the DJ mid-show and removes WRVU from the airwaves. The promised 'keep everyone updated' as the decision was made to sell or not over the preceding months were lies. Common decency would suggest that to make such a cowardly move would certainly be unfit for the storied student-founded and student-operated institution that was built on the hard work and many invested hours of 1000s of Vanderbilt students and is certainly an epic disservice to the ideals of an institute of higher learning such as Vanderbilt University.

You can read about and actually hear WRVU's final moments HERE.


Below is a letter written by Vice Chancellor Williams of Vanderbilt University. This letter, a long awaited response to a letter sent by WRVU Friends and Family, marks the first official response emanating from the Chancellor’s office of Vanderbilt despite these numerous requests that Vanderbilt clarify their position. Unfortunately, this response is not particularly awe inspiring on any level.

Ironically, Williams himself enjoyed the opportunity that WRVU provided by hosting as a DJ the Vice Chancellor Show. As a recent (and now former) WRVU DJ, Vice Chancellor Williams should, therefore, know enough to put together an informed and intelligent response to address at least some of the many valid arguments that the sale of WRVU to WPLN is unnecessary, an unequivocal bad deal for Vanderbilt Students, not to mention a needless blow to the good-will between Vanderbilt and the Nashville community. No such luck. This letter largely regurgitates the very disputable brain-dead talking points floated by Wollaeger and Carroll – the two largely responsible for this travesty in the works.



VSC Media Advisor, Chris Carroll unilaterally denies WRVU DJ applications, to the 'reboot' online-only WRVU, thereby making a further mockery of what is now, in name only, a 'student' run organization. The latest Carroll dictate is making sure that DJs, who rightly aired grievances with the recent deplorable actions of the VSC and its dishonest handling of the proposed sale of WRVU over the past year, be subjected to an unprecedented VSC ‘screening’ process. Chris Carroll, unsurprisingly, is rejecting applications of DJs who have not proved sufficiently submissive through the recent Carroll-led attempts at poaching of WRVU to pay for Carroll and VSC ‘adult’ salary bloat.

A letter the editor from one such victim, a 10+ year WRVU DJ of a long-running highly popular show and current Vanderbilt Staff Member wrote the following:

[...] my application to do a show this fall was rejected by Student Media Adviser Chris Carroll (acting alone). When I discussed this with him, I was told he thought I’d be 'toxic' at WRVU because I had often stated publicly that an online-only WRVU would be a poor substitute for an FM station and thus the sale was a bad idea. He claimed I would badmouth the station and poison student morale. (I’m an alumnus and a VU staff member. Before turning in show applications, we’d been told that VU-affiliated non-students’ applications would merely be 'reviewed' by VSC and did not need 'approval.')
I said that when I decided to do a show again, I determined to do what I could to improve WRVU in its new form. Why would I sign up if I wanted to sabotage WRVU? I promised not to 'editorialize' while working, and suggested that at the first questionable syllable they could can me. I pointed out that no WRVU staffer had expressed resentment of my comments; we’d been on the same side. None of this made a difference. I think Carroll just doesn’t want me to have any chance to state my opinions publicly. This seems a clear example of censorship by prior restraint.
It was also clear that Carroll was retaliating against me for opposing VSC. He claimed that giving me a show would be like inviting someone to your house for dinner after he had insulted you. [...]
Carroll said that he would rather run automation, which currently fills much of the schedule, than give a show to someone whom he sees as a potential troublemaker. This was not the will of the station staff. General Manager Robert Ackley enthusiastically invited my continued participation and that of the two other rejectees (for whom I do not speak here, by the way). [...]
I believe Student Media Adviser Carroll is imposing his will on the station for reasons of censorship and retaliation (against me in this case). I feel I’ve been wronged, but I write also because I think Carroll is behaving unethically to disempower opposition to the license sale; which by the way is not yet complete; and establish greater control over WRVU. Once again VSC makes clear that the interests of WRVU and its student staff are not a priority.

Read full letter HERE. Related article in InsideVandy can be read HERE .

Coverage by the Nashville Scene. See Nashville Scene article HERE .


Nashville, TN – July 5, 2012 – Attorneys Michael Couzens and Alan Korn, acting on behalf of WRVU Friends & Family, have filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the renewal of license for the Vanderbilt University radio station WRVU Nashville.

The petition by WRVU Friends & Family—a non-profit organization established last year by a group of community listeners, DJs, and Vanderbilt alumni—asserts that Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) acted ultra vires (in excess of legal authority) in initiating a sale agreement with Nashville Public Radio station WPLN. The petition states:

• VSC’s corporate charter and bylaws prohibit VSC from selling and/or relinquishing control of WRVU.

• The VSC board that voted to sell WRVU violated FCC Rules and Regulations with a series of substantial and abrupt changes to its board’s voting majority membership, of which it repeatedly failed to notify or seek approval from the FCC.

• The terms of the agreements between VSC and WPLN evince an attempt by both parties to circumvent FCC Rules and Regulations prohibiting the sale of airtime.

• Under the Management and Programming Agreement, VSC has relinquished control of the license’s management, programming, operation and financing to WPLN. This constitutes de facto grant of control over the license without Commission approval, a serious violation of the Communications Act.

• [...]

Read complete press release HERE.



WRVU Petition Filed - July 5 Press Release: HERE.
Issued Petition to Deny - WRVU Friends and Family: HERE .
Declaration RS: HERE .
Declaration JH + Exhibits A to C : HERE .
Declaration AK + Exhibits A to H : HERE


WRVU Friends and Family's Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny See HERE.


Petition to Deny Assignment of WFCL (formally WRVU) License to Nashville Public Radio..


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