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Saturday, April 20, 2024

In a report compiled in June, consultants advising John Wright, the dean of UF's College of Journalism and Communications, suggested a format change to WUFT-FM would only lose $52,000 in membership dollars the first year ($26,000 per semester). Sadly, this semester's drive fell short. It represented a loss of more than $49,000 compared to fall 2008. That is a nearly a 40 percent reduction in pledge dollars; the number of pledges fell by 40 percent as well. The fall pledge drive brought in 29 percent less than the much weaker spring 2009 pledge drive.

Big donations from the dean and his circle of insiders, along with pledges from the university, couldn't stop the bleeding. While the state of the economy is certainly responsible for some of the losses, the hemorrhaging of membership dollars highlights a bigger problem: A large portion of the community has lost faith in WUFT-FM. It is time to re-evaluate the format change and consider the community's needs.

While some of the additions have proven worthwhile, others just don't add up. It is time to consider adding classical and jazz music back into the schedule, even if only for a block per day. The dean's argument of increasing student involvement has not panned out; more students were cut than added. Why not add some student talk shows in place of expensive NPR or BBC programming? Dean John Wright, please go back to the drawing board.

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