The University of Michigan has not been able to operate its WFUM-TV in the black since 2005, and since it’s also having financial difficulties with its core educational mission in a down economy, it has decided to get out of the public television business. Its goal is to find a noncommercial buyer who will carry its current schedule forward for the citizens on Flint.
WFUM said it has experienced a 28% decline in financial support even as it has been forced to make extra capital expenses to get ready for the digital conversion. The station, which operates on Channel 28, was one of those already operating exclusively in digital in November 2008, a few months prior to the original 2/17/09 analog cut-off date.
“We have been grateful for the support of our viewers and donors, and the dedication of our staff, but unfortunately WFUM-TV has not been able to sustain itself financially, like many other businesses in this tough economy,” said David Lampe, VP of Communications at U-M. “And over the last several years, the university has been under growing pressure to reduce costs wherever it can in order to maintain its core commitment to the quality and accessibility of a U-M education. Under these circumstances, we decided it was best to withdraw from the public television business.”
The station said it has potential nomcommercial buyers in mind and is already in negotiations, and that there would be no immediate changes to its program schedule.