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Friday, June 6, 2003

Meeting to Determine Foundation's Future With WSCL

SALISBURY, MD---The Salisbury University Foundation will decide its future relationship with WSCL, the public radio station housed at SU, during a public meeting of the SU Foundation board on Wednesday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center.   

 

“There is considerable interest in the future of WSCL.  We have already heard from many members of the community and no decision will be hastily made,” said Albert Mollica, executive director of the SU Foundation, which holds the station license.

 

The meeting comes at a time when the University System of Maryland (USM), of which SU is a part, has been confronted with devastating budget cuts.  Across the State, campuses are bracing for massive tuition increases, reductions in student services and academic programs, and as many as 500 additional faculty and staff layoffs.  At Salisbury, another eight to 15 positions may be eliminated in the next round of cuts, on top of the 15 that already took place this spring.  These cuts have been particularly difficult for SU, which has the lowest per capita state funding of any campus-based institution in the USM.  For years Salisbury has also maintained one of the lowest tuition rates in the System.

 

“Salisbury University takes quite seriously its service to the community and its position as a cultural center for Delmarva” said Mollica, who is also SU’s vice president of advancement.  “The University is extremely sensitive to the leading role which WSCL plays in the artistic and public life of the region.  Unfortunately, in the current budget crisis, everything is on the table.  Like other campuses in Maryland and across the country, SU is forced to look at its overall budget in a new way.

 

“The University has to prioritize its fiscal commitments according to its core mission, which above all else, is service to students and their undergraduate education.

 

“No decision has been made on the sale of WSCL.  For those who are sincerely concerned about WSCL’s future, I would encourage them to contact their representatives in Annapolis and let them know that SU both educates students and provides valuable services to their community.  When Annapolis cuts SU’s budget, these reductions, in a real way, jeopardize services such as public radio, that the University can offer.”

 

On Thursday, June 5, the Public Radio Committee of the Foundation board reviewed a three-page report that outlined WSCL’s appraised value, its cost to the University, service to students and the community, and options for its future.  These options included sale, maintenance of the status quo, or retention of the license by the Foundation that involves a closer relationship between WSCL and the University.  The Committee also heard input from the public about the station and its role in the community.

 

WSCL was founded in 1987 by University employee Mark Handley with the support of the administration through a $100,000 grant given to the University by the owners of WMDT-TV.  Over the years the University has continued to provide financial support to WSCL estimated at $100,000 annually.

 

At 89.5 on the FM dial, WSCL offers NPR, BBC and other news and information services coupled with a classical music format.  Its signal, along with that of WSDL (90.7 FM), a repeater targeted toward the Atlantic coastal resort areas, can be heard throughout the Delmarva peninsula.

 

With studios on the SU campus and tower in Seaford, DE,  WSCL is the equivalent of a 50,000-watt station.  Currently, the station maintains a listenership of some 36,000.   Employing 12, its annual budget is $630,000, much of it raised through on-air fund drives, grants and other gifts.

 

For more information, call SU Public Relations at 410-543-6030.

 


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