UNF radio station denied funding for FM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of North Florida's student-run radio station says plans to add a new station have been put on hold.

Spinnaker Radio requested nearly $40,000 from UNF's student government for construction of a low power FM (LPFM) radio station. The LPFM would allow the radio station to broadcast approximately in a 3.5 mile radius from the campus of UNF starting in September pending construction, according to Spinnaker Radio station manager Scott Young.

"Nobody can find an internet radio station by channel surfing or accident," says Young. "We consider UNF to be a commuter campus, we have a large portion of our students that drive to school. We want to tie everyone together."

UNF Student Government decided to not fund the request.

Students pays a fee which funds the student-run government, with no oversight from the university itself.

Related: Nothin' but static: SG tunes out Spinnaker broadcast equipment request

Student-run UNF organizations such as the Spinnaker Radio can make a special request to fund projects outside of their normal operating budget. The total operating budget of UNF student government is over $4.4 million. Spinnaker Radio's total operating budget is just under $50,000.

"It's frustrating and disappointing," says Young.

Student Body President Joseph Turner says it's a project he believes in, just not on the student's dime.

"It's something that doesn't have to be done on the backs of the students," says Turner.

Related: SG B&A committee refuses to vote on Spinnaker Radio fund request for required LPFM broadcast equipment

Turner took over in office in May of 2014 after previously serving as the student body treasurer. Turner and Young say previous administrations were in favor of Spinnaker Radio building an LPFM transmitter, but they were not faced with paying for the project. He says it was a great project to get behind for previous administrations, but the former leaders never had to sign off on the cost.

"This is a project that can be done. We are not prohibiting it from being done. It just says you can do it without our funding and we won't give you any funding," Turner said.

The process to obtain an LPFM license is lengthy. Young says the Spinnaker Radio and its previous predecessor, Osprey Radio, has waited since 2001 for the Federal Communications Commission to open the application process. An LPFM must be reserved for an educational and non-commercial use only. Once obtained it can never be sold for profit and if no longer desired, would return to the FCC.

"The community will get exposure to our student community and get music that's not currently available on the radio," says Young. "We will also be a resource for bands and community activist."

The university has no plans to help fund the project, according to university spokeswoman Sharon Ashton. Spinnaker Radio will seek funds in other ways, but Young isn't sure of any specifics yet.

Asked if he consider a fundraiser such as a community carwash, his response:

"I'm prepared to grab a rag and bucket and go to work."

For now, Spinnaker Radio is strictly a web based station.


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