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Re: An argument for Class D

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997, Sean P. Smyth wrote:

> Something else which frustrates me: A public (read: taxpayer-funded)
> college owning a station, yet not making it accessible to the community. Of
> course, a prime example is WUMB. Talk about a station which is isolated
> from the community. Does not keep in touch in all with all of the
> community, except of course for its "patrons". (Wouldn't it be nice if some
> of the kids who paid $6,000 to $12,000 per year to the state received some
> of the benefits from a radio station they are paying for?) And what I
> cannot understand are two stations - WGBH and WUMB - which are trying to do
> the same thing, one with the state's money. Ridiculous. It would be nice if
> WUMB actually went to South Boston, Dorchester, or Roxbury and did
> something constructive with its airwave space, as opposed to duplicating
> and triplicating the programming heard on Boston's other two NPR
> affiliates.

I think the reason for this is that it brings in grants or other money to
the university -- the same reason WBUR operates as it does.  Both of these
stations used to operate very differently.  WUMB, I believe, was once a
student-run station, like WMBR at MIT and WMUA at UMass/Amherst.  I'm not
quite sure when it changed.  WBUR used to be a training station for
students in the School of Public Communications, much like WERS at
Emerson.  The way it operates now, it makes money for the university.

UMass funding from the state has always been an on-again, off-again thing,
and the University is quite dependent on other funding sources.  At
present, there is a strong campaign with alumni to build an endowment like
private colleges.  Several years ago, during a period of severe state
budget cuts, graduating seniors suddenly found that they couldn't graduate
because certain courses that they needed had been cancelled for lack of
funding.  Now, state funding is back up, partly because the economy has
improved state revenues, partly because of Billy Bulger, and partly
because the alumni association has finally learned to mobilize alumni to
lobby the legislature.

In any event, I'm sure that the reason for WUMB's programming is that it
is supposed to bring in money to the University. 

  A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                                          617.367.0468
  15 Court Square                                       lawyer@world.std.com
  Boston, MA 02108-2503                        http://world.std.com/~lawyer/