Among the student-operated college stations to be converted into mainstream public radio FMs this year, the hand-over of Bryant University’s WJMF to WGBH’s 90.5 All Classical differs in one major way: the complete absence of an organized protest by students, alumni and other station supporters, according to Radio Survivor.
After looking into the deal, reporter Jennifer Watts discovers one reason why the management agreement sparked so few protests: with a 225-watt signal, WJMF’s student-programmed broadcast service was oriented to the Bryant campus, and the station never developed a strong following in the larger community of Smithfield, R.I. “An indication of this is the fact that WJMF is currently on ‘auto pilot’ over the summer while students are on break,” she writes. “To me, a lack of live DJs for extended periods of a station’s program schedule indicates that a station isn’t using its FM airwaves to their fullest potential.”
In addition, managers from WGBH in Boston went to great lengths to convince student managers that the operating agreement was in their best interests. Benjamin Roe, managing director of WGBH Classical services, tells Watts: “[W]e thought it was very important to actually be able to visit the student body and the students and have a discussion in person so that it wasn’t something that was kind of abstract, but really talking about what kind of relationship [we] could ensure between the school and with WGBH.”