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Radio stations licensed to universities and colleges comprise a mix of organizational styles. Some are directly owned by the institution and are overseen by the board of regents. Others are a unit of a larger university department with varied reporting relationships. They can be on campus or nearby. They can be comprised of professional staff, students, and community volunteers. Their programming and structures can be as colorful as their history.
University and college licensees may offer an equally diverse service menu to their local areas. Some universities have stations with a schedule of news or music. On some campuses, radio stations are a vital educational resource for students, either as part of a curriculum, student activities, or a place for leadership skills development.
Despite stations’ impressive work, university and college stations nationwide are facing challenges. With declining enrollment, decreases in state contributions and shifting perceptions of media tastes, some institutions have chosen to pare back media operations, cut back on contributions, or to get out of radio altogether. Radio Survivor tracks a long history of license sales and stations having to scramble to stay on the air.

In partnership with the University Station Alliance, NFCB will host a public forum Sept. 9 on the future of university and college radio stations. Register here to attend.
The continuance of university and college radio is relevant to the community and public media sector. These organizations provide an entry point for future media professionals and journalists. The stations are vital community voices, offering news, music, arts, and culture. They also create an opportunity for an institution to foster great local relationships.
What can stations do to stay viable in today’s climate? How can we better make the case, on campus and off, for the importance of these stations? Where do our greatest opportunities lie to ensure universities and colleges not only see the value in these organizations but also help foster growth? Our roundtable will discuss the themes they’re seeing and offer steps you can take to help the future of these outlets.
NFCB welcomes you to attend on Sept. 9.