Saturday, February 9, 2008

Vermont College May Sell off Its Commercial Station

The difficulties being faced by college radio stations today are demonstrated by this sad story from Vermont. Commercial station WBTN 1370 AM in Bennington, Vermont was donated to Southern Vermont College in 2002 and has been losing money ever since ($75,000-$100,000 a year). The school is concerned about the economic drain of the station and is considering selling off the station or eventually turning it into a non-profit community station.

According to an article in the Bennington Banner today, "It could be sold or leased to a community group or business; the college could sell a majority of its interest; or the college could hold the station's license for a year, under FCC regulations, and reopen the station as a non-profit on campus..."

A college trustee said, "'The college must focus on its main mission and must concentrate its efforts and resources on educating students with exciting new academic initiatives,' ... 'Unfortunately, we cannot continue to subsidize a commercial radio station.'"

Let's hope that the school realizes how vital a resource a campus radio station can be and decides to allow the station to go non-commercial. Perhaps they could also help the station out by giving them a modest annual budget and providing fundraising assistance too.

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