They Have Just Begun to Fight

The Fightin’ Vandy Commodores released this statement today:

91.1 FM WRVU is the oldest, continuously running non-profit FM station in Nashville, and is Nashville’s ONLY non-profit and totally independent voice for music and other totally unique programming. WRVU is the voice of Vanderbilt University and Nashville’s “voice of the community”. We are all busy in our daily lives, of course, but we need to remain diligent and make time to help save WRVU. We all need help and encouragement to keep the battle alive. It is too easy to let the the rest of life take over and lose focus on what is important. Saving WRVU is important.

WRVU has been a part of Vanderbilt University and a part of the Nashville community for almost 60 years. Losing WRVU would not only be a tragedy for Vanderbilt University and its history, it would also be a tragedy for Nashville, Music City, itself. Now it is time to become active and do all we can to help save WRVU, not only a historical beacon but a current vital part of Vanderbilt and its surrounding community. 91.1 FM WRVU and Nashville are symbiotic.

The station is currently up for sale by Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC), the non-profit company that Vanderbilt spun off in 1967 to give all media at Vanderbilt FREEDOM to print/say whatever they wanted (during the Vietnam War era) and very importantly, to shield Vanderbilt University from responsibility and liability. Unfortunately, the VSC has become something of a bad parent and wants to sell their most financially valuable child, WRVU, to use the money to fund their ballooning budget and fund the OTHER media at Vanderbilt. Their reasons given for selling ring false once researched, except for the financial reason. It is all about the money. WRVU itself costs a small fraction of the VSC’s yearly budget (approximately 6% at most, which varies slightly from year-to-year. While the VSC’s salaries take up a whopping 44+% of their current $900,000 budget. Yes, at most, WRVU only costs $75,000 per year to run, and that is probably an over estimate. The VSC itself has given the figures of a $15,000 to $75,000 per year cost to run WRVU.

WRVU existed for almost 20 years before the VSC existed. The VSC started in 1967 with one paid staff member and 20 students running everything. The advisor was a professional journalist. This continued until fairly recently, but now the VSC has 7 salaried staff members who receive a total salary of more than $400,000 of the $900,000 budget.

There has been a lot of talk and statements that VSC and WRVU are not officially a part of Vanderbilt University. This is not true. The “word Vanderbilt” in the name “Vanderbilt Student Communications” is not a coincidence. In fact, the call letters WRVU stand for “We aRe Vanderbilt University”! Never forget that.

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