Thursday, March 20, 2008

SaveWCAL's Ongoing Protest of Sale of Minnesota College Station

I wrote previously about Minnesota Public Radio's foray into indie music with their station The Current, which was formerly a college station at St. Olaf College. Well, it turns out that ever since the sale of the station the group SaveWCAL has been working to oppose the sale.

On Brian Voerding writes about the group SaveWCAL and their ongoing efforts on behalf of the former station. He also includes some history of the station sale:

"In August 2004, St. Olaf agreed to sell WCAL, along with KMSE, the sister station it owned in Rochester, to Minnesota Public Radio for $10.5 million. At the time, the college said the sale came because the 82-year-old station was no longer central to the college's mission of educating undergraduates, which any assets from a sale would go toward."

He describes the latest news on the controversy surrounding the sale, saying:

"A new report gives more weight than ever to the claims of SaveWCAL, the organization that continues to oppose the 2004 sale of the St. Olaf College classical music station to Minnesota Public Radio. But even the biggest finding — that the college should reserve some $5 million in assets and past listener donations for the station (which no longer exists) instead of using it for other things — may not resurrect the station, now known as 89.3 The Current."

He also mentions some serious radio nostalgia from supporters who heard the station from the womb!

"Members of the group have strong ties to the station. Sylte, for example, as a St. Olaf grad and longtime WCAL supporter, recounted her first experience with the station. 'One of the bittersweet things is that my mother told me that WCAL is one of the first stations I heard as a human being, because my parents listened to the station when i was an infant,' she said."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WCAL was not simply a "college station". It was the oldest listener-supported radio station in the country, a founding member of National Public Radio and highly respected in the public radio field. During its 82-year lifetime, its broadcasts reached as far as Alaska, Hawaii, Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico. At the time of WCAL's demise, St. Olaf College had ceased direct financial support to the station. Yet WCAL was entirely "in the black" due to generous support from enthusiastic listeners, an enviable - and unusual - position for any listener-supported radio station.

WCAL's story, by the way, is not over. Check out: