Clock running down for Delmarva Public Radio

January 18, 2013

Many of your subscribers and readers are also underwriters, members and/or listeners of  Delmarva Public Radio (WSCL 89.5 FM provides classical music, WDSL 90.7 FM news and information). In mid October in Salisbury, Md., mid-November in Lewes, and elsewhere since hundreds turned out for public meetings  where they learned about plans for Salisbury University (owners of the DPR frequencies licenses) to either switch to “canned” satellite programming with no local content or to discontinue broadcasting altogether.

At these meetings the citizens who have invested heavily in support of the stations for more than 25 years expressed deep discontent with the university’s plans for these local stations which have meant so much to them, and the communities developed and fostered by the stations. An advocacy group, Friends of Delmarva Public Radio, was formed with representation on the board from both Delaware and Maryland.

The board prepared and presented to University President Dr. Janet  Dudly Eshbach and her administrative staff a plan involving commitments of both community and  university that would maintain current program format and local content. To date, no definitive answer has been forthcoming from Dr. Eshbach.

Follow-up contact was made by the board, urgently requesting a timely answer to their specific proposal. The university had already indicated the building housing the stations would be replaced by a new library complex with construction beginning no later than May, and no plans were included for further housing of the stations on campus.  No specific response has been received  to the follow-up except that “decisions surrounding DPR are significant and will not be rushed; as we want to make sure that every possible option is on the table.

Our goal is that future direction and plan is determined by the end of the month” (meaning January 31). Nearly three of the seven months have already passed. The clock is runnin The university has offered no assurance to Delmarva community, who has provided loyal support to the stations for 25 years, other than the proposal is “on the table” with other options for consideration.

The bad news is no decision has been made, unless it is to let the clock run down until it is too late to fulfill a negotiated settlement. The “good” news is no decision appears to have been made and those of us who have interest still can take action before it is too late! I urge all DPR underwriters, members and listeners to express support for the university’s stewardship of our valuable university/community asset! Delmarva will not be the same without the locally owned and operated stations of Delmarva Public Radio.

Letters should be addressed to: President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Ave., Salisbury, MD 21801.

Richard F. Kauffman

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