Now, after a nearly 24-month review, the Indiana-based school has announced the sale of its Class B1 student-run broadcast facility.
The buyer will be installing its Christian Contemporary network on the signal, upgrading from an FM translator on an adjacent frequency in this Hoosier State city.
In a transaction that has not yet posted at the FCC, the University of Evansville is selling WUEV-FM 91.5 to WAY-FM Media Group.
“This decision did not come lightly,” VP for Enrollment and Marketing Shane Davidson said on Friday (5/17). “Ultimately, this was a strategic decision with the long-term interest of our students as our most important consideration. We evaluate expansion and constriction of programs annually to meet the marketplace of tomorrow.”
The sale of WUEV will not deprive students from access “to an array of broadcast outlets,” citing its relationship with ESPN3 and the Old National Bank Radio Network, “which provide the full spectrum of experience in preparation for today’s multimedia environment.”
However, both are strictly devoted to the university’s collegiate athletics, with network producing UE men’s basketball games broadcast on five affiliates in the area.
In contrast, WUEV — a facility that dates to 1950 — has offered a checker-board of offerings focused on music not heard elsewhere on the local radio dial. From 3am-6pm weekdays, a “Jazz Flight” is taken by WUEV, featuring a wide variety of jazz music. From 6pm-9pm each night a Top 40 format is put into place. Sundays through Wednesdays between 9pm-3am is an alternative and indie music show. There’s even a “G-rated” Saturday morning program geared for children.
That’s all set to disappear, with WUEV’s audio production facilities soon to be integrated into the multimedia resources that the university offers students.
“The state-of-the art video production lab is complete with green screen technology and post-production editing capabilities that students will begin utilizing this fall,” Davidson said.
Running a broadcast radio station can cost a school more than it cares to spend annually, taking funds away from its core mission of student instruction. For the University of Evansville, WUEV’s sale saves it an estimated $1 million over the course of a decade, in addition to capital expense improvements.
“UE will retain the assets that will be impactful for its communications curriculum,” Davidson added, suggesting that WUEV could make an online move as seen at other colleges and universities in recent years.
WUEV first went on the air as WEVC in 1950 when UE was known as Evansville College; a call letter change came on Jan. 1, 1977.
“We appreciate the years of service and loyalty that so many have invested in WUEV,” Davidson said. “The traditional radio business has seen a transformation over the last decade and easily accessible apps and streaming services have changed the game. Thus, we are utilizing our resources to prepare for the current and future media environment.”
WUEV will remain operational during the transition period, at which time the nationally distributed Christian Contemporary WAY-FM network will assume control of the frequency.
WAY-FM presently reaches Evansville via an FM translator, W220DV, at 91.9 MHz.
Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented the University in the sale. It expects FCC approval by the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.