Future of Vanderbilt student radio station unclear

TENNESSEE — The decision whether to sell the broadcast license forVanderbilt University’s student radio station has been put on hold.

The board of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., a separate non-profitcorporation which governs student media at the university, announced last monthit was going to consider selling WRVU’s broadcast license, moving thestation exclusively online. The board announced at its meeting earlier thismonth it would not be making any decisions about the potential sale until nextsemester.

Chris Carroll, director of student media for Vanderbilt StudentCommunications, Inc., said the company is holding off on any decision regardingthe broadcast license because students involved with the station felt a sense ofurgency, even skipping classes in order to think of ways to try and save thestation.

“That action was really just in response to their request so theywouldn’t have to feel as though they were overwhelmed with this,” hesaid.

Carroll said the idea of considering the sale came from discussions theboard has been having for the past several years about the future of studentmedia at Vanderbilt. With some revenue streams decreasing, Carroll said theboard became interested in an endowment model. So, they began examining theirassets and looked at the sale of the license as a possible start to thatendowment.

The board cited “changing student habits and evolving economicchallenges” in a statement announcing its plans to look into the sale.

Carroll added it’s not certain if a decision will be made nextsemester, either.

“In all honesty, no decision would have been made before then[anyway]…but just to have that certainly that even if an offer were to come intomorrow, we at least have some time to try and save it,” said WRVU GeneralManager Mikil Taylor, a student.

Taylor said he and his staff were “pretty much in shock” whenthey were told the board was considering selling the broadcast license.

He said supporters of the station are gathering ways to convince to theboard that the sale of the license is not in students’ best interest.

“We’re still kind of in the idea stages,” Taylor said.

He said they are also looking to Vanderbilt for help and may ask theuniversity to provide seed money for the endowment, replacing the revenuethat would be generated by the sale of the license. The staff is also talkingto different artists to record public service announcements in support of thestation, as well as recruiting the help of other college radio stations.

Carroll said the original announcement was only made so the public coulddiscuss the possible sale of the license. However, many people interpreted theannouncement to mean the sale was a done deal.

“I don’t know — and this board doesn’t know — what may comeof this,” he said.