Tuesday, October 23, 2018


The University of Evansville  (UE) needs to decide what to do with their radio station WUEV 91.5FM. Since 1951 WUEV [link] has operated as a student-based station.  However, with tight budgets and a changing media landscape UE has been ‘shopping” WUEV's signal. This has resulted in protests by alumni and students.

The problem is that UE is an “accidental broadcaster” – Our term for a licensee who acquired a license many years ago and now realizes it is costing them real money.  Back in 1951 when UE acquired the license, it didn’t cost them much more than the 3-cent stamp it took to mail the application to the FCC. Many other universities and nonprofits are in similar situations.

Unfortunately, EU seems to think they have only two choices for WUEV: Continue their current "okay" student station or sell the license.

Projected 91.5 FM coverage
UE doesn't seem to realize they own a vakuable FCC license to serve the entire Evansville area.

There are other better choices. 91.5 FM has the potential to be a regional player. They have 6,100-watts that cover a 50-mile radius around Evansville. The Evansville metro area has more than a quarter of a million people and a strong economy.

Evansville is also the home of Tri-State Public Media [link], the licensee of PBS affiliate WNIN-TV and WNIN-FM 88.1. WNIN radio has a dual format of NPR News and Classical music.

WNIN is respected community broadcaster that might like to make an arrangement with EU that could expand public radio service for the entire market.

A community volunteer playing Jazz of WUEV
Such arrangements are called Public Service Operating Agreements (PSOA) and they happen all the time. 

You can read more about PSOA’s on the Station Resource Group website [link].

The are many benefits of a PSOA:

UE keeps its ownership of the FCC license, reaps a promotional bonanza that will shine their "halo" and limits their financial liability for operating WUEV.

• Tri-State Public Media may be able to make its primary frequency a 24/7 news/talk station and provide a full-time music station for Classical fans and others.

• The public will benefit by having two professional public radio channels available.


If EU doesn’t sell the FCC license for WUEV now, they will probably will probably sell it in the near future. According to a broker, who asked not to be named, WUEV has been listed for sale at $350,000.   
An aggressive noncommercial broadcaster such as the Educational Media Foundation (EMF) are flush with cash. EMF currently has a modest signal in the market for their satellite-delivered Christian music format K-Love.

The fact is that WUEV’s current format is not sustainable. 

On a typical day WUEV volunteers play Jazz from 3am to 6pm, UE students play Top 40 tunes from 6pm to 9pm and whomever shows up plays “underground” music from 9pm to 3am.   

Such a schedule pleases almost no one. People want consistent programming.


As you probably have heard, iHeartRadio has been making major moves into the podcast business. Recently they bought independent podcast publisher Stuff, Incorporated, the producer of the popular HowStuffWorks shows.

Now in an attempt to claim further shelf-space in the podcast sector, iHeart will stage their first live iHeartRadio Podcast Awards on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 8pm Pacific Time. According to a press release from iHeart, the awards ceremony will happen at iHeart’s theatre in Los Angeles.

The release also says nominees will include entries from all podcast creators, distributors and platforms — not just those developed by or available on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. No further details have been announced.

No iHeart podcasts are listed in Podtrac’s September Top 20 podcast rankings. iHeart was the number two publisher of podcasts in the most recent Podtrac publisher rankings. They have over 600 active shows.

What this means is that iHeart needs a hit podcast, something that has alluded them so far.

Meanwhile, public media related publishers have 14 of the Top 20 spots (70%) on the Podtrac chart. NPR alone has seven shows, 35% of the list.

1 comment:

  1. WNIN-FM however has become more of NPR News/Talk station with limited hours of Classical Music. The News/Talk programming is day parted in their peak hours.

    I agree about WUEV. The days about feeling good and trying to please everybody are over. They either need to sell the station or focus on some format and leave everyone else behind. I say either focus on consistent Jazz format or College Alternative format. If you want to go CHR, then go all in like KTSC-FM (REV89) in Pueblo did back in the late 1990's and late 2000's, but the block programming that does not complement each other really needs to go.

    I think WUEV could another voice for Jazz in a rural community if only they do that consistently 24/7. You can highlight other Jazz forms that complement it (Fusion, Smooth/Groove, Latin, Early Jazz, maybe Blues etc) but you can't go from Joey Alexander to Justin Bieber if know what I mean. WUEV need to adopt something consistent or "gooooooooooo bye bye" as Baby Animal would say.