2004 National College Media Convention
Next Generation Radio Project
November 2-6, 2004
Elizabeth Castro's Script
Hear Elizabeth's piece
MEDIA OUTLETS IN THE U.S. HAVE EXPERIENCED CUTBACKS AND DECREASED FUNDING IN RECENT YEARS... BUT THIS TREND IS ALSO AFFECTING COLLEGE-BASED NEWSPAPERS AND RADIO STATIONS, FORCING THEM TO LOOK FOR MONEY -- AND FOR AN AUDIENCE -- OUTSIDE OF THE UNIVERSITY... NEXT GENERATION RADIO'S ELIZABETH CASTRO REPORTS...
In a sunlit office, listening to the radio, Bob Bajackson looks concerned as he skims his budget for the semester. Bajackson is the Director of Publications at Texas State University in San Marcos.
Newspapers are becoming so expensive simply because everything is relying on computer technology and it is no longer radio or television that has a tremendous expense when it comes to technical equipment.
Bajackson relies on both school funding and ad sales to pay the bills for the University Star, the student run newspaper. In the past, funding came from student fees. But now, Bajackson relies more heavily on ad sales to local businesses, like coffee houses and record stores.
I'm fighting every step of the way that we just turn into nothing but an ad source paper. I realize that some publications have been forced to do that, but then you are going to lose a lot of circulation if it is nothing but ads and nothing but wire.
Most directors agree with Bajackson. They say journalists shouldn't have to sacrifice content over ad space, even though the money is needed. But others see advertising as a profit-making solution. New York University-based Washington Square News would rather sell ads than accept funding from the school. Angela Kluwin is the paper's program director.
That's one of the things we are not interested in doing. I know a lot of collegiate papers do receive partial funding or subscription fee money from their university that's just not money we are interested in.
However, The Washington Square News is completely funded by advertising. It is so profitable that they have been able to start an endowment fund with their revenues. Kluwin says there are about two thousand student papers nationwide. Eighty of those print on a daily basis, and those papers are able to sell a lot more ads.
Those papers are all focused on being commercial enterprises. The majority of their money comes from advertising, you know, upwards of anywhere from 80-100 percent.
In the world of school media, student-led radio stations also have to rely on outside money. KSBR is based on the campus of Saddleback College, in Mission Viejo, California. Employee salaries are paid by the school, but all other expenses are paid for by fundraising activities, such as concerts and on-air fund drives. Terry Wedel (Wah-dell) is KSBR's operation manager.
The college really doesn't understand how much money it really takes to run a radio station. Never have and still don't because we have taken care of ourselves. Every once in a while we surface and ask for something particular just to remind them that we are expensive.
Regardless of how expensive, financial matters are often left up to the faculty advisors -- instead of the students. KTSW is the student radio station at Texas State University in San Marcos. Their support comes primarily from the school, but is supplemented by underwriting sales. Jordan Berry is the student manager at KTSW. He is happy to get support for his station, yet finding the money is not one of his responsibilities.
Funding is allocated once a year and so you always have that to look forward to it. We are comfortable at this point. So it is never an issue.
Most managers disagree with Berry and say that funding is a major issue. Without funding for stations and papers, students would not get the proper training, equipment and opportunities to work in the media industry where experience is everything. For Next Generation Radio, I am Elizabeth Castro.