Florida A&M station investigation yields non-students


MicrophoneResults of a just-completed investigation at university-owned and student-run WANM-FM found some of the on-air personalities actually weren’t students. WCTV-TV reports that a year ago FAMU students told them they’d been complaining to school administrators because non-students were taking several on-air positions, while according to FAMU’s handbook, because part of the operating budget comes from the Student Government Association, all on-air personalities have to be full or part time students.

A list of seven names was submitted. Two were alumni who graduated from FAMU five years ago. Another graduated seven years ago and a fourth, three years ago. Three other on air personalities on the list never attended FAMU, noted the story.

“We’re not getting the experience that we dreamed of, I know I didn’t get the experience that I dreamed of,” student Latara Bailey told the TV station.

According to a letter one student sent to FAMU interim president Larry Robinson, she claims students’ opportunities taken away because “alumni won’t leave.”

She claims these people are making a deliberate point of getting rid of students who have been a part of 90.5 and also costing the station money.

The investigation also found two people were hired as Ops Manager and PD. Both of them are 2007 FAMU grads and were on the mic until they resigned.

Investigators, say the story, also checked claims of former station employees pocketing money from sponsors meant for the station. They investigators said due to a lack of a paper trail, “they cannot determine if all moneys owed to WANM were collected and accounted for.”

Based on the investigation, School of journalism Dean Ann Kimbrough told WCTV changes have been made, including clarifying the policy of hiring non-students. The WANM manual has been revised so that only students may serve as on-air personalities.

See the WCTV-TV story here

RBR-TVBR observation: Most school radio station policies are in line with WANM’s. However, many stations bend the rules because these DJs have developed quite a following in the community and they just do good radio. It’s also allowed because there isn’t enough interest from students to fill all of the available on-air slots. Bottom line, a university radio station should be there to educate the students how a radio station is run, and give them the experience they deserve as a volunteer. If a non-student is kept in a prime slot because of a heritage show, then a good compromise should be having an enrolled student share that spot with him or her. It’s actually a fairly common occurrence in college radio to do so.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.