Another University Says Goodbye To Radio Ownership


Institutions of higher learning have been paring their student-run FM radio stations, with several universities opting to exit ownership over the last several years.

The latest school to join the club is a Lewisburg, Pa.-based institution that was in the headlines four years ago for racist comments made by three students during a live broadcast on this station.

On March 20, 2015, Bucknell University‘s 225-watt Class A WVBU-FM 90.5 in Lewisburg was unwittingly thrust into the spotlight as a student on-air host, along with two guests,  used “racist and violent language” while on the air.

This resulted in the students expulsion.

What was said? When one student said “niggers,” a second student said “black people should be dead,” and the third student said “lynch ‘em.”

University spokesman Andy Hirsch said at the time that the comments came as the students were discussing the Bucknell men’s basketball team.

The incident was covered by such national publications as the New York Post.

Perhaps the negative publicity influenced the university in hiring Garvey Schubert Barer attorney Lawrence Miller in codifying an agreement dated April 11 that hands the license of WVBU-FM to Northeast Pennsylvania Educational Television Association.

This gives control of the FM to an entity that operates WVIA-FM 89.9 in Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the main NPR Member station for the region. Programming can be heard on three other noncommercial FMs, and on a wide array of translators.

Now, WVBU is expected to join WVIA as a full simulcast partner.

The closest NPR Member station audible in Lewisburg is based in Harrisburg, the state capital some 43 miles away. While Scranton is 55 miles away, geographic ties to Northeast Pennsylvania are traditionally strong for the town.

The purchase price is a bargain, at just $17,600.

There is no broker or finder associated with this transaction.


University Spins Recently Purchased Iowa Combo

In early April, a Minnesota-based nonprofit corporation tied to a private evangelical Christian college agreed to acquire an AM-FM combo in a small Iowa town northeast of Council Bluffs. Now, the school has decided to sell the stations, and it’s our top topic of discussion in TRANSACTIONS TODAY for Sept. 5, 2018. Also today: A Northern Illinois FM sale is complete.