Future of Public Broadcasting Stations, USOEC Discussed

Also at the forum, Fred Joyal (Academic Affairs) previewed his presentation to the board this month regarding future funding of WNMU radio and TV. Joyal said input from the campus and general community, the WNMU staff, a community advisory committee and an external consultant resulted in three possibilities: solicit a non-commercial buyer, become a partner in a joint operating agreement or continue to directly operate the two stations with an annual stipend from the university of no more than $250,000.


Joyal indicted his recommendation will be a combination of the latter two options.


“We came at this by asking, ‘What’s the return on our investment to our core mission of teaching and preparing students for life beyond the university?’” said Joyal. “The recommendation will bring the stations down to a thin operation, but keeps them on our campus. We will continue to explore an operating agreement as a way to guarantee that we are able to provide the public broadcasting services to our students and the region.”


The board will also discuss future funding for the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC). At the forum, Roy outlined changes that have taken place since the recommendation to eliminate the center by 2005. In 2003, the USOEC’s support from the university was nearly $600,000. Roy said this year the university provided $80,000, or the amount NMU would lose in net tuition dollars if the center were to close. Increases in funding from the federally supported B.J. Stupak Scholarship program as well as other external sources and organizational changes have moved the USOEC within $71,000 of being fully funded in 2005.


“So at this point what we are looking for is additional external funding to cover the $71,000 as well as the $80,000 from NMU so that the center is self-supported,” said Roy . “We believe there are good possibilities for support at the private, state and federal levels and we’ll continue to work on those.”



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