Return Fire

The battle still rages in Nashville at Vanderbilt over the fate of student station WRVU, with comments running hot and heavy in response to a VSC board post last week. Following is but a sample; the original bears a more thorough read:

LETTER TO EDITOR COMMENTS TURNS INTERESTING

We initially attributed this decidedly unimpressive letter to the editor posted by student members of the VSC, as just another example of more VSC purposeless double-speak, and therefore thought that it be best ignored as just another instance of VSC stonewalling. It turns out, though, that through the comments to the letter, something of a interesting back-and-forth is happening between Justin Tardiff, the student VSC member, and students posting comments and questions to him. This is as close as anyone has gotten to getting a straight answer from the VSC and to actually provide real answers to direct questions. Even though Justin’s responses are pretty much useless, it is still an improvement of the total non-response stance that is now expected from the VSC. It is worth checking in to read some of the responses in the comment section.

SOME COMMENTS…

[…]In previous communications to both VSC and the VU administration, I have suggested a number of ways to fund both WRVU and the other VSC outlets as follows: 1. Make WRVU member supported. 30,000 listeners contributing an average of $10 per year = $300,000. I think that estimate is very conservative. 2. Elimination of 2 of the paid VSC staff positions = $100,000 +/-. The salary and staff bloat has been discussed at length. Put the student back in student media. 3. More aggressive underwriting of WRVU = $50,000 per year. I’ve been listening to 91.1 for over 25 years and remember when there was MUCH more underwriting. There has not been very much the last few years. 4. Benefit concerts and other events = $50,000 per year. 1 through 4 add up $500,000 or TWICE the expected (realistic) annual return on a $5 million endowment. Why then, has this more lucrative option not been considered?

[…]We wouldn’t have any issues with incorrect information if VSC wasn’t stonewalling everyone. We asked for you to release your financials, your budget, and this sort of information, all back in September, but you never did. Even now, you say I’m making up facts, but you don’t cite your own. You say my facts are wrong about the cost of VTV, but you didn’t mention the real cost — instead, you just told us, once again, that WRVU costs $15,000 a year. You didn’t give any numbers as far as student involvement, etc. VSC is quite good at sidestepping any issue which forces them to provide facts. Mr. Lepanto just asked you a point blank question — does VSC have any offers — which only requires a mere yes or no, but even then, you equivocate. Please forgive me for reiterating, but this letter to the editor is purposeless; it’s almost exactly the same as September’s press release. None of the issues which WRVU supporters have raised have been addressed, and no facts have been presented.[…]

[…]Justin,  it is impressive to see someone bloviate like a true pro, especially in one so young. You manage to take a lot of time masterfully not answering Phil’s question. There must be a VSC question-evasion bootcamp out there somewhere.

Phil’s concern, as is with everyone here, is what reasoning, if any, is behind the sale. To date, you and the rest of of the VSC have offered none. You mention protecting the future of the VSC by destroying its largest anchor member? There better be a better reason than HD-TV. […]

OK, Justin. Instead of accusing people of making up facts why don’t you just give us the facts. What is the VTV operating costs? If the VTV costs are similar to the $15,000 for WRVU, then what on earth is using the $900,000 budget? Maybe Orbis’s platinum paper clip budget should be reduced? Maybe The Torch should stop using solid gold printers? Of course, I am being facetious but people are understandably VERY frustrated by lack of fact based reasoning and rigor from the VSC and this letter is a sad continuation of the same. Surely when you say that ‘the VSC has invested 100s of hours to arrive at this point’, we expect more than vague generalities.[…]

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