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WLUW Listenership Defends Community Programming

PRESS RELEASE. WLUW Listenership takes action to stop Loyola administration from eliminating community news and music programming.
July 9, 2002

Press Release
Contact: Laura Hermann

WLUW Listenership takes action to stop Loyola administration from eliminating community news and music programming.

Twenty nine million dollars over budget this year, Loyola’s president says he cannot afford to keep WLUW on the air. But the cost of eliminating multicultural, community news and music programming on the station may prove to be much higher. Legal threats, decreasing student retention, and growing animosity between Loyola and the local community could prove that the $40,000 a year operation cost of the 24 year old WLUW is money well spent to keep Loyola University relevant to the people it serves.

In what they believe to be an act of good faith, station staff immediately responded to Loyola’s financial problems by significantly reducing their budget and increasing income. Student stipends were cut by $27,000. The studios were moved to the Lakeshore campus to cut transmission costs by $12,000. Most significantly, station staff raised more than $40,000 in Spring 2002 to support current programming on WLUW. The concern now is that donor intent will not be met as the University threatens to take the money and pull the student and community-produced programming off the air.

Dean of Arts and Science David Slavsky stated that the administration is negotiating an LMA (local management agreement) with a local radio station. “Such an agreement will,” the Dean says, “likely lead to significant programming changes”. Since that announcement, Loyola students and alumni have joined community members to oppose Loyola administrators attempts to outsource station management. They aim to halt programming changes at the station and hold the university accountable to its donors, students, and station listeners.

According to General Manager Torey Malatia at WBEZ, Loyola University is negotiating an operating agreement with them that would replace WLUW's current format. Malatia commented, “Originally they believed we were going to come in and air All Things Considered four times a day.” But the case remains to be heard -- decisions regarding the future of WLUW’s multilingual programming are being made unilaterally by Loyola’s President, Michael Garanzini, without consultation with the academic entities or WLUW management with oversight of the station.

WLUW and its community partners produce a variety of programs serving the Native American, Vietnamese, Haitian, Latino, African, labor, and gay and lesbian communities. The station offers unique job training and service learning opportunities. With programming in six languages, area listeners rely on WLUW to get news about what is happening in immigrant communities both here and abroad. Last year, the New City readers voted WLUW Chicago’s best radio station. Arbitron ranks WLUW as the most listened to student run station in the Chicago area with over 17,000 listeners Monday through Sunday listening at any point between 6 AM and midnight.



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