The following news release came from the students fighting the sale of the Vanderbilt radio station, WRVU, lead in the main by the 5,700-strong Facebook page, here (link also on right). It details the tack taken by the college-radio grim reaper, Chris Carroll, titular capo of VSC, who has presided over the sale of at least two other college stations before leading the charge here:
Below is the latest written “release” from the VSC. The VSC has been mum on official statements in regard to the rationale for a WRVU on-air license sale. Recall that this summer the sale was announced along with a VSC written FAQ (see: http://www.vandymedia.org/wrvu/ ). The FAQ and any further releases have been sparse and therefore, causing everyone, particularly the student WRVU staff, to trip over themselves trying to figure out what VSC is thinking and why.
Earlier this month, the following email was sent out from Chris Carroll, The VSC Media Adviser, presumably on behalf of the VSC. It lists some pretty open-ended questions that evidently pass as their rationale. Ultimately, I believe that a point-by-point response to these will need to be organized and issued. Feel free to post your ideas and comments that can be used as a starting point for a collected ‘official’ response.
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?
We can think of at least a few other salient questions missing from his list: If WRVU were represented on the VSC board, would this proposed sale have gone this far in Nashville — the Music City? Does Chris Carroll really belong in a leadership role of any kind at Vanderbilt (a sober-sided bean counter ruling on cultural matters)?
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