MARQUETTE Ã‚– Northern Michigan University will invest $250,000 in one-time funding to extend operations of its public radio and television stations through June 2005. The stations were originally scheduled to be phased out entirely by June 30, 2004, as part of the universityÃ‚’s cost-cutting efforts.
During a focus discussion this morning, the NMU Board of Trustees gave its consensus to the proposal presented by Fred Joyal, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Ã‚“This is one-time support; it is not permanent funding and will not come out of the base budget because that has already been approved,Ã‚” said Joyal. Ã‚“Northern received a one-time allocation of $350,000 in state budget carryover money. We will tap into that to keep both operations going an extra year. This will buy some time to investigate ways to secure sustainable financial support for the stations beyond 2005.Ã‚”
Joyal said a citizens committee and station personnel will help produce a plan that identifies new revenue streams and measures that can be taken to enhance existing fundraising. It will be presented to the board in February.
Ã‚“The plan will also address ways that the stations can add more value to the university while maintaining their public service role,Ã‚” Joyal said. Ã‚“We would like to see more hands-on learning opportunities for students and more programming related to Northern so that they are fulfilling their educational and recruiting potential.Ã‚”
As part of the process, the university will hire a consultant to assess the situation. Ã‚“ItÃ‚’s not very expensive and this person will provide an outside perspective on how our stationsÃ‚’ budgets compare with other public stations, the direction the industry is going, potential fundraising sources, and ideas for reorganization,Ã‚” Joyal said.
The one-time support will allow the NMU stations to retain grant funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This amounts to about $500,000 per year for WNMU TV-13 and $150,000 per year for WNMU-FM.