Oh, you mean stations with worse ratings, smaller audiences, and far, far worse cash flow than WUMB? I'm sure UMass Boston is really looking to replace a station that at least has a chance of being fiscally self-sustaining (and by all rights, is at least that much) with a model that's a guaranteed drain of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
If WUMB went all-student, that would make them a very expensive version of WMBR or WZBC...what with a network of multiple transmitter sites that need maintenance and STL's. Not exactly a recipe for serving anyone's interests.
WUMB is operated under license granted to UMass Boston, an educational institution, but I personally believe it is not run in the interest of the UMass students and the area "urban community."
Clearly you haven't worked for a college. The core mission of any college is education
. First and foremost, check out UMass Boston's course list
. Is there a single class about radio, broadcasting or even broadcast journalism? Nope. (there's a Communications minor but it's as much about interpersonal communication, a la conflict resolution, as it is about media)
Next check out their Vision Statement
. It contains statements such as: we must also move forward as the increasingly sophisticated research university that we are and continue to become.
and we will expand our teaching and learning activities to prepare students to succeed in a transnational world.
and We will graduate greater numbers of alumni to meet the demand for a well-educated workforce
(emphasis mine) Providing a student outlet for broadcasting on WUMB has zero
relevance to any of those talking points. Radio has no relationship to being a research university - no research (in this context) is being done, or can be done, at a radio station. As a purely local enterprise, it has no basis in helping students in regards to a transnational world. And given the state of broadcast media, it's laughable to suggest that UMB's goal should be preparing them for jobs in an industry that's continuously laid people off for more than 15 years.
When UMass Boston talks about "serving an urban populace" they're talking about EDUCATING an urban populace. Programming a radio to "serve an urban audience" (which is mostly a euphemism for "targeting an African-American demo") doesn't accomplish anything in terms of education, so it doesn't fit with their mission.
If you want to have a broadcast outlet as a fun student activity, there's an argument to be made for that. But it's not an argument you're going to win in the current budget climate. A mission of being a "fun student activity" is fundamentally incompatible with the necessary "serving your audience's needs" mission of a fiscally-self-sustaining radio station. So any student-run/programming WUMB would require substantial fiscal subsidies; well beyond what UMB does now. It's a hard sell to offer substantial subsidies for an activity that has no relevance to their core academic mission. Especially considering that, when executed properly, a web-only "radio station" can accomplish all the goals of a "fun student activity" for far less subsidy and far less legal liability.
Face the facts! With WFNX being swallowed up Clear Channel, we're gonna need a showcase for local bands.
Have you asked the local bands about that? I think most bands are more concerned with their social media marketing than on radio these days. Bigger reach, more control, more interactive. (shrugs)