Towson State's WCVT plans to change call letters, format

May 09, 1991|By Eric Siegel Z

WCVT-FM (89.7), the largely student-run station at Towson State University, has applied to the Federal Communications Commission for new call letters and is developing a new format to replace its current progressive rock programming.

The changes are designed to increase the listenership of the 10,000-watt public radio station and to provide a more professional environment for students with an interest in a career in broadcasting, according to university officials.

"We would like to see the station become more visible. We would like to broaden our audience and we would like our students to benefit as well," said Kathy Williams, TSU's director of public relations.

Ms. Williams said the station had the support of both the administration and the Student Government Association, which provides WCVT with $30,000 a year in operating funds.

The new format has not yet been decided on but could include some combination of folk, light jazz and new age instrumental music, she said.

Jim English, an adjunct professor in TSU's mass communications department who works part time as the station's general manager, said the new format would not include classical music, which makes up 95 percent of the programming of public station WBJC-FM (91.5) and a significant portion of that of WJHU-FM (88.1). The other local public radio station, WEAA-FM (88.9), airs jazz and some public affairs programming.

Mr. English said he hoped the FCC would accept the station's application to be called WTMD in four to five weeks, at which time he said the new format would be unveiled.

"It's time the station made a move," said Mr. English. "Nobody's listening."

According to the most recent Birch Radio figures, WCVT had a cumulative weekly audience of 22,800 people who listened to the station for at least five minutes. By contrast, WJHU, which has the same-sized signal, had nearly four times as many listeners.

The Towson State station, which came on the air in 1976, has just one full-time employee, program director Jim Armstrong, who came on board in September, Mr. English said.

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