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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

WUEV Doomsday?

Wednesday
February 8, 2006

Today is the final day for comments to be made to the University of Evansville regarding the potential sale of WUEV (91.5 FM in Evansville, IN) to a mystery bidder. All Access reports today that the bidder is Starboard Media Foundation's Relevant Radio. The amount offered for WUEV is rumored to be in the neighborhood of $1.5 million.

Fortunately, there has been a strong response to what would be a collosal mistake by UE. If UE sells WUEV, it will never, EVER be able to get it back. It's not like property, where you can buy another plot of land down the street in a few years. FM frequencies are limited. In Evansville, on the non-comm side, besides WUEV there's the following: 88.3 WNIN-FM (NPR); 89.1 WVJC (actually out of Mt. Carmel, IL owned by Illinois Eastern Community College); 89.5 WKPB (simulcast of Western Kentucky's NPR station network); 90.1 WRFM (Contemporary Christian station that simulcasts a CCR station from Hancock County, IN); and 90.7 WPSR (Variety station owned by the Evansville-Vanderburg School Corp.) That's it. Of those, only 88.3 and 90.7 are actually licensed to Evansville.

So now a few people in the UE administration see short-term cash and the chance to free up space in the antiquated, non-handicap accessable Olmsted Hall, and they look to pull a fast one on the alumni and the Evansville community by letting it be known only through a small blurb in AceNotes Today. Luckily there are observant people close to the scene who caught the attempt in its early stages and sounded the alarm bell. 15 years ago UE probably could have pulled it off. But in the era of the internet and instant communications, word travelled fast.

I found out midway through last week, and spent the weekend formulating the proper response. What was surprising/amazing to me was how people referred to me as a "high profile" WUEV alum. Within the industry I have been successful, but there are many people who have gone through WUEV who have accomplished far more with their life than I have so far. The station's been around for 50+ years, after all, dating back to when it was WEVC. There's a Wikipedia listing about WUEV, and whomever wrote it gave me top billing of alumni/notable former station staff. If anyone, Len Clark deserves top billing, since he did the most for that station of anyone that I know.

How will it turn out? I don't know. But I'll be watching the UE administration with a close eye as things transpire...


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