Nashville, TN - June 2, 2012 -Today, attorneys Michael Couzens and Alan Korn, acting on behalf of WRVU Friends & Family (WRVUFF), filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the renewal of license WRVU Nashville. With this bold move, WRVUFF begins the next stage in its fight to block the sale of WRVU, return WRVU 91.1 FM to independent, student run programming, and protect and promote broadcast localism, diversity, and the public interest.

WRVUFF's petition insists that the FCC hold Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) accountable for VSC's ultra vires actions (actions in excess of legal authority) in initiating the sale agreement with WPLN. The petition implores the FCC to take seriously its legal obligation to consider the public interest when making a license renewal determination. It also demonstrates that recent actions by VSC compel a finding that renewal, at this time, is not in the public interest. In short, our petition shows:

  • VSC's corporate charter and bylaws do not grant VSC the authority to sell and/or relinquish control of WRVU, and, in fact, prohibit VSC from doing so. VSC's utter disregard for its own foundational documents casts serious doubts as to its fitness as a licensee.
  • The VSC board that voted to sell WRVU repeatedly, willfully, and deliberately violated FCC Rules and Regulations. Specifically, VSC underwent series of substantial and abrupt changes to its board's voting majority membership, of which it repeatedly failed to notify or get approval from the FCC. As a result of its infractions, the VSC board that entered into the Asset Purchase Agreement and Management and Programming Agreement currently in place with WPLN had no authority to do so.
  • The terms of the agreements between VSC and WPLN evince a clear and deliberate attempt by both parties to circumvent FCC Rules and Regulations prohibiting the sale of airtime.
  • Under the Management and Programming Agreement, VSC has relinquished all control of the license's management, programming, operation and financing, which is now solely entrusted to WPLN. This agreement constitutes a de facto grant of control over the license without Commission approval, a serious violation of the Communications Act.
  • The FCC cannot make the necessary determination as to whether renewal of VSC's license is in the public interest when WPLN is the entity in control of that license, and VSC is but a zombie licensee that will provide no public service in the renewal term, but will simply collect its bargained-for cash price.

WRVUFF demands that the FCC not turn a blind eye to VSC's willful and ongoing noncompliance. Nor should the FCC reward such behavior by granting a renewal license that VSC intends only to flip at the first opportunity for profit. Renewal under these circumstances is simply not in the public interest.

WRVUFF is first and foremost focused on preserving the independent voice that WRVU has provided to the Nashville community for 59 years. WRVUFF is but one of many other concerned groups who ardently support independent radio stations across the nation and which have been shocked and dismayed by the consolidation and thinly veiled commercialization of public radio by Public Radio Capital. Since WRVU began fighting for survival in 2010, a number of college stations including KTRU at Rice University, WDUQ at Duquesne University, and KUSF at The University of San Francisco have been liquidated to public radio outlets despite the outcry of the students and the communities they served. Our petition raises this concerning trend and demands that the FCC take strong action now to prevent not just the sale of WRVU, but the evisceration of educational radio nationwide.

We are confident that the FCC will give due consideration to the issues we raise and will ultimately reject VSC renewal application while the agreements with WPLN are in place. Until it does, we will continue our fight to save WRVU. To do so, we need your help. Now is the time to rally and pledge support.

¡Viva WRVU!, the Front Line in the War on Independent Radio!

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The WRVU Friends & Family organization has received nonprofit designation from the State of Tennessee. The organization is a 501(c)3 organization under the U.S. IRS code. Donations are fully tax-deductible.

100% of the funds collected by WRVU Friends & Family will be used in the campaign to revive WRVU 91.1 FM.

WRVU Friends & Family at: wrvu@nolo.tv