Citizens’ group forms to try to save LCC radio station

Trustees expected to vote tomorrow on defunding WLNZ

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SUNDAY, June 21 — A group of local citizens want to tell Lansing Community College: Don’t rush into closing the school station — we might be able to save it.

That was the message that emerged from a Zoom meeting today as LCC’s trustees prepare to vote tomorrow on a new budget that includes zero dollars for WLNZ, 89.7 FM. They meet virtually at 5:30 p.m.

“We have some very solid ideas for saving the station either within LCC or as a community station on its own,” said Dave Downing, WLNZ’s former station manager. The citizens’ group appointed Downing as its spokesman.

Downing said the group is seeking information on just what the school’s plan is for the station, other than it knows no dollars are in the new fiscal year budget for the station. The new budget takes effect July 1.

He said the group is hoping to find out more before the board votes tomorrow.  Some members of the citizens’ group plan to speak during public comment, but the budget vote is scheduled before public comment.

“Since the board will not hear from us until after its vote on the budget, it’s important that the word get to the trustees that an effort is under way to try to save the station,” Downing said. “Our initial meeting has generated a number of good ideas. We want to encourage the board to slow down this process, keep the lights on for a while longer and give us a chance to work out a plan that is in the best interests of the Lansing community.”

Downing said the station plays an important role in the community. He cited the weekday morning show “Coffee Break” as a prime example.

“We started that show in 2001 because there were many good fundraising efforts following 9/11, but the local media was not giving people advance notice of such events,” Downing said.

“We gave people the opportunity to come on the air and let everyone know the details of such fundraisers before they happened.”

Out of that has grown a program that gives more than 100 nonprofits a year an opportunity to come on the show to promote their events, he said.

“LCC performs an important service to this community through its commitment to public service and diversity,” added Downing, saying that the musical programming reaches many different audiences.

He also pointed out that the station is a source of national and world news through feeds from The Associated Press and National Public Radio.

“We completely understand the financial challenges the college is facing in light of the pandemic," Downing said.

“At the same time, WLNZ is a big plus for LCC. For many people in our community, it is the only contact they have with the school. WLNZ helps put LCC’s best foot forward. We hope the trustees will consider this and give us time to help the school come up with a plan that the public will like.”

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Merritt Sargent

WLNZ is valuable source of varied programming in the lansing community. It supports local musicians, local non-profits, and community issues. LCC should avoid short-term economizing and support long-term contributions to our community.

Monday, June 22

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