The KUCA situation is one that is very, very sad situation.
Prior to 1990, KUCA served as a non-commercial student operated station that was maintained by the Department of Mass Communications here at the University of Central Arkansas. However, during the early 1990's the department began de- emphasizing radio and as a result would not let students use the station for hands on experience. This continued until the department took KUCA off the air on June 25th of this year.
Before 1990, it was not unusual to have more than 100 students involved in the operation of the radio station. When it closed, they had one student that was participating in the day to day operation.
Apparently, there were some discussions prior to the spring of 2001 that there is no longer a future for radio and that an internet based technology major should be pursued by the the department.
The University has a student operated radio station KCON-AM, which has been in operation for two years and has more than 100 students working at the facility over the course of the year. KCON is maintained by the Student Government Association.
In February, the Dean over the Mass Comm. Department notified the GM of KUCA that the station would be going off the air at the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30th and that his services would no longer be needed.
The GM, Shawn Smith, came to my office and told me the terrible news. He said that he was very surprised that they took the action although it had been discussed for several months.
After he left my office, I notified my Vice President who is over the Student Services Division and told him what was happening. He started asking questions about what it would take to put KCON and KUCA together. During our discussion, he told me to begin putting a proposal together to submit to the University President for the consideration of moving KUCA into the KCON facility. At this point, it is late in the fiscal year process and money is tight.
To make a long story short, I submitted a proposal to the President and within 36 hours he accepted it.
Following the next two weeks after the announcement that the station was going off the air, the university received inquiries from several universities in Arkansas along with several non-profit groups around the state that were interested in KUCA. The administration, I am told, was somewhat surprised at the number of inquiries from other organizations that were interested in obtaining KUCA.
KUCA was moved from its studios in the basement of Main Hall where it had operated since the 1960's after it went off the air because of a computer malfunction on June 25th. It came back on the air July 5th at 7:12 p.m. .
Because of budgetary constraints, we will be simulcasting the KCON signal with KUCA for the next few months.
Although I worked at KUCA when I was student here in the mid 1970's, my background is in news and sports. I am trying to learn as much about a non-commercial FM as I can, so any imput would very much be appreciated.