Dartmouth will sell its commercial radio license for WFRD 99.3 FM (99Rock). WFRD is part of Dartmouth Broadcasting, which also includes the student-run online station WDCR (Dartmouth College Radio). Dartmouth Broadcasting and WDCR are not part of the sale and will continue to operate as a student organization under the Office of Student Life.
Proceeds from the sale of the WFRD broadcast license will be used to support Dartmouth Broadcasting and WDCR. The student station, which is not commercial, began broadcasting as an AM station in 1958. Programming transitioned to an online format in 2010. Students host live or taped radio shows through the station.
“WDCR has had very active student engagement over the years,” says Eric Ramsey, associate dean for student life. “Providing an opportunity for students to learn how to broadcast is important. We are committed to ensuring that students continue to have the opportunity to participate in, and lead, this vibrant online station.”
WDCR will continue to operate from its third-floor radio studio in Robinson Hall. The online station, which is run entirely by students, will remain as a co-curricular activity that provides educational and experiential opportunities in broadcasting.
Students will continue to be able to broadcast shows, learn about the technical components of radio work, and be involved in the management of the station. In addition, Student Life will work with Alumni Relations to connect interested students with alumni in the radio industry for outside internship opportunities. Anna Hall, senior assistant dean for student life, will serve as the interim adviser to Dartmouth Broadcasting/WDCR.
The change will mean the loss of one staff position.
The station has been operating at a financial loss for a number of years. In addition, student involvement in the commercial station has waned.
Dartmouth will work with a broker who specializes in media sales to sell the broadcast license. The sale process, which involves the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to take six months to a year. In addition to the license, the sale may include the transmitter and other equipment, depending on interest from a potential buyer.