As college radio stations find themselves in increasing jeopardy nationwide, College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) has quietly organized a grassroots response. If all goes according to plan, hundreds of college radio stations will briefly go dark at noon tomorrow for the Minute Of Silence—an echo of what could ultimately happen as universities sell their stations’ broadcasting licenses and even the stations themselves.
“This minute of silence is just the first step in a broader effort to make the nation aware of how critical student stations are to localism in broadcasting,” CBI president Candace Walton said in a press release. The CBI stated that the Minute Of Silence is designed to increase awareness of how sales of student-run radio stations are affecting colleges and local communities. Walton has also compiled a partial list of stations being sold or transferred to non-student operations for public viewing.
The date was chosen to coincide with Rice University’s planned date to sell KTRU to NPR affiliate KUHF, which will leave KTRU silent until KUHF takes over programming. After the CBI’s initial press release, Walton indicated that new developments between Rice and KUHF may keep KTRU on the air through May. “If this happens, the Minute Of Silence will still go on with added empathy for the students, volunteers, educators and professionals who work at the station,” Walton said.
The CBI represents more than 200 student media outlets. Along with KTRU, several well-known names in the college radio world have been subject to sales or discussion of sales in recent months. KUSF, which had its frequency sold by the University Of San Francisco to the Classical Public Radio Network, is currently online-only pending final approval of the deal. Vanderbilt University is also considering a sale of WRVU’s broadcasting license, which would force WRVU into online-only status if completed.