Cogent Reasoning in Nashville

VSC mouthpieces say students have lost interest in WRVU, the school radio station, so they want to sell it. This post (courtesy of Sharon Vegas Selby), an opinion piece on InsideVandy.com by freshman Matt Scarano called “WRVU: Searching for a dialogue,” would seem to indicate otherwise. And Matt has a word or two to say about the practiced obfuscation of the VSC suits:

In the months since Vanderbilt Student Communications announced that it was considering the sale of radio station WRVU 91.1, the organization has faced fierce criticism and significant backlash from both Vanderbilt students and the Nashville community. It seems unlikely that VSC would subject itself to all this for so long if it were not committed to selling the station, and just a few weeks ago a letter to the editor printed in The Hustler from student board members of VSC expressed its resolve to go ahead with the sale.

However, neither the recent letter nor any of VSC’s other feeble releases on the subject have come close to justifying the sale of WRVU. WRVU has been an important part of Vanderbilt campus life and a musical fixture in the greater Nashville area since 1953; it has been important to my and many others’ experiences here, and voluntarily giving it up for the reasons VSC has thus far provided frankly makes no sense.

Since VSC’s September announcement that it was considering the sale of WRVU’s radio license, its representatives have reiterated the same justification for their willingness to do so: money. If VSC sells WRVU, then, they say, it will use the proceeds to create an endowment, which will fund student communication endeavors for years to come. VTV will be able to broadcast in HD and print publications like The Hustler, The Torch and ORBIS will remain well funded.

As if suggesting that HD-VTV should be a priority isn’t ridiculous enough, VSC has had the gall to claim that selling WRVU’s radio license will actually benefit the station in the long term. So, yes, our radio station will cease to be a radio station, but (not to worry) VSC will help set up a really good podcast in its place.

The problem is, although radio streams such as WRVU’s are available online, very few people listen to the radio on the Internet. That is because, quite simply, most people listen to the radio in their cars, where they do not have access to the Internet. On the Internet, options are endless; on the radio they are limited, and in Nashville, WRVU is the best radio option — that’s why over 20,000 people per month tune in to listen to it.

In the modern world, increasing numbers of people are getting their news, and watching their television shows, on the Internet. Vanderbilt’s printed publications could feasibly shift to online formats, as could VTV, without being fatally damaged. The same is not true of WRVU; yet WRVU is the only VSC entity that might soon be relegated exclusively to cyberspace.

Supporters of WRVU have implored VSC to open a dialogue about the future of the station. They have asked how much money they would have to raise in order for VSC to halt the sale. They have pushed for transparency about offers made for WRVU’s license and the status of the potential sale. But VSC has continued to operate behind closed doors and to be remarkably uncooperative, almost malicious towards its own radio branch. There is no reason for this sort of situation to occur at a university, especially one as great as Vanderbilt; it is unacceptable, and it ought to change immediately.

Whatever do you mean, Matt? They’ve made quite clear their reasons: Because we said so.

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3 Responses

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  3. Trying to tell college students that selling off their radio station assets is really good for the radio station assets is ludicrous on the face of it. Do they really have that low of an opinion of the intelligence of their student body? Thank goodness for people such as Sharon & Matt who refuse to swallow the pablum being fed them. The Vanderbilt students have done an exemplary job of standing up to the university powers that be in the best possible way, getting out ahead of the curve by organizing and getting their voices heard. There is hope for college radio still as long as activists such as these are out there!

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