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ISSUE 118 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/15/2004

Appealing reasons

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, October 15, 2004

As November approaches, campaigning usually hits a fevered pitch, and this year is no exception. However, one of the most impressive efforts has come from an organization having nothing to do with the election. SaveWCAL emerged after the College announced the sale of Classical 89.3 WCAL to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) this summer for $10 million. Roughly two months later, SaveWCAL has a petition of over 4,300 students, alumni and concerned citizens opposing the sale of Classical 89.3 WCAL and advocating continued ownership of the station by St. Olaf College. SaveWCAL is the epitome of citizen involvement in politics. The members of SaveWCAL have responded with vigor in their attempt to rescue the 82-year-old radio station from MPR's clutches. They have logged countless hours of tabling, sold bright yellow t-shirts, gathered support through their website ( and filed a 43-page Petition to Deny with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The petition calls for the FCC to refuse a licensing rights transfer from WCAL to MPR on the basis of failure of the parties to comply with public meeting and notification requirements of the Communications and Public Broadcasting Acts. At the very least, the motion ensures a decision regarding FCC approval will not be made until early November.

The fortitude and tenacity of those involved with SaveWCAL have even led President Christopher Thomforde and Vice President of College Relations Jan McDaniel, two of the driving forces behind the WCAL sale, to applaud the group's efforts and urge continuing campus dialogue. Thomforde expressed his sentiments in an interview for the Messenger in September, while McDaniel indicated her approval of student dialogue at the Oct. 7 Senate meeting. Despite SaveWCAL's hard work, however, it has gone unnoticed by the majority of current students, less than 10 percent of whom make up the roster of petition signees. It appears that many students on campus either don't know enough about the situation to pass judgment or simply don't care.

We implore all students to learn more about the issues surrounding the sale and become involved if they choose. Many students may believe there is nothing they can do to help and the sale is finalized. Nothing could be further from the truth as FCC approval of the purchase is still pending. SaveWCAL has raised a considerable number of issues and gathered significant support that may still block the sale. We are impressed with the way SaveWCAL has kept the issues on so many minds after the College assumed no one would react aversively. We only hope that other students are inspired by their example of civic action.

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