Fall fund-raising boosts WJHU, but station's fate still in limbo

December 04, 1990|By Eric Siegel

A high-ranking Johns Hopkins University official says the university is "very pleased" with the fall fund-raising efforts of WJHU-FM but said a decision on the future of the public radio station would not be made until next year.

Eugene S. Sunshine, Hopkins' senior vice president for administration, said last week that the university currently has no plans to seek a buyer for the station's license or to revive a controversial plan rejected last year by the General Assembly to give the license and facilities to the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission.

"We're concentrating on trying to make ends meet at the station," Mr. Sunshine said.

In the recently completed on-air "quiet drive," WJHU received $168,000 in pledges from listeners, $8,000 more than its goal, according to acting general manager Dennis Kita. The station has also received $80,000 in corporate underwriting for programs, more than half of the $150,000 it needs to raise by the endof June, Mr. Kita said.

Johns Hopkins launched WJHU as a full-service public radio station a little over four years ago. Last year, however, it decided it no longer wanted to subsidize the 10,000-watt facility, which was running an annual deficit of several hundred thousand dollars. But after the legislature rejected the proposed state takeover last April, the university reversed itself and announced it would run the station through June 1991 on a break-even budget of just under $1 million.

WJHU then made major programming changes over the summer, greatly increasing its National Public Radio and jazz broadcasts and reducing the number of hours devoted to classical music.

Mr. Sunshine said the university had "high hopes" that WJHU's fund-raising success would continue but added that officials wanted to get more information before making a decision on the station's fate.

"Hopefully, we'll make that decision by no later than mid-March," he said.

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