Monday, December 10, 2012

College to take over radio station

Antioch College to acquire WYSO,
Charles Kettering Building from Antioch University

The Boards of Antioch College and Antioch University agreed in principle to a plan that would transfer ownership of the non-commercial FM radio station WYSO to the College and eliminates any future rights of the University to have claim on Antioch College's campus or endowment.

WYSO operates at 50,000 watts in the Charles Kettering Building at 150 E. South College Street. Ownership of the station and the building remained with Antioch University when an alumni-led group purchased the College and most of its assets in September 2009, more than a year after closure.

Under a new agreement, which must be approved by the Greene County (Ohio) Probate Court, Antioch College would purchase the radio station and building for $8 million. Additionally, Antioch University has agreed to eliminate so-called “reverter clauses” from documents executed in the 2009 asset purchase. Those clauses specified that all of the assets of the College would revert to Antioch University under certain circumstances, including the failure of Antioch College to obtain accreditation by September 2016.

Antioch College President Mark Roosevelt said the purchase of WYSO is an exciting opportunity to enhance the College’s curriculum and cooperative education program.

“This agreement has both symbolic and practical significance for us at Antioch College,” Roosevelt said. “Symbolically, WYSO is important to us. Antioch students founded the station in 1958. Practically speaking, the College and the University can move forward in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we both work to offer the finest educational experiences for our students.”

There are currently ten full-time and two part-time staff members working at WYSO, who are employees of Antioch University. As part of the agreement, it is expected that the WYSO staff will become employees of the College once the transfer of property occurs. The timing of the transfer will likely take a minimum of 60 days due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory approval requirements.

Chancellor Felice Nudelman said: “WYSO has been a significant part of our history.  We are glad that it will remain in the family and know that the newly reconstituted College will be a good steward of the station. The University continues to thrive and we are happy to help the College continue their forward progress. We are confident the removal of the reverter clauses will optimize the College's opportunities to attract philanthropic support and thrive.” 

The 33,000 square foot Kettering building had been home to Kettering Foundation’s photosynthesis research, once housed in the College’s Science Building. Beginning in 1983, the Battelle Memorial Institute operated in the space. Battelle Memorial Institute donated its research equipment to the College. Kettering Foundation transferred ownership of the building to Antioch University in June 1987. Thereafter, it was the home of the university's central administrative offices until April 2012 when it was remodeled to become the new home of WYSO with state-of-the-art sound studios and equipment.

The terms of the agreement are subject to certain regulatory and court approvals. The College and the University have agreed to promptly obtain all necessary approvals and to close the transactions.


lisargold said...

Great news!

Virgil Hervey said...

I think most of us like the idea of the radio station being part of the College. But, I wonder what this means for the bigger picture.

The University, which is having to support to Antioch Midwest, because it is in big financial trouble, is obviously divesting itself of WYSO. This is good news for Yellow Springs, because it was long feared that the University would sell its license to some out-of-town entity. The investment it made recently in new studios probably put that to rest anyway.

But the College is also on shaky financial ground. Is this a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire?" Does this actually put WYSO in greater jeopardy? And what else does this mean for Midwest? Is this a sign that the University is looking to pull out of Yellow Springs?

Stay tuned... And support WYSO!

Les Groby said...

WYSO could survive a substantial downsizing if it became necessary. They got along for decades with only three or four paid employees, and without a lot of expensive network programming. If economics forced WYSO to return to being an old-school community radio station, that could be a good thing for Yellow Springs and the new college.