[JPL] Cuts threaten MTSU jazz station

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Thu Jan 8 22:43:13 EST 2009


     January 8, 2009

Cuts threaten MTSU jazz station
/
BY COLBY SLEDGE
GANNETT TENNESSEE/

One of Middle Tennessee's premier jazz voices could soon find itself off 
the dial thanks to state budget cuts.

WMOT 89.5-FM, operated at Middle Tennessee State University, could be on 
the chopping block as a result of a proposed 15 percent cut to state 
higher education next year.

In a report to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission filed this 
week, MTSU lists the station among programs that could be closed as part 
of a $19.3 million reduction in the school's budget.

"We have not given up hope," said John Egly, WMOT director of 
broadcasting. "We've been told nothing is set in stone."

WMOT is the main voice of traditional, mainstream jazz for the Nashville 
area, covering Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson counties.

The nonprofit, public radio station has a staff of seven employees and 
uses students as part-time talent, according to its Web site. It has 
been on the air since 1969.

WMOT was budgeted to receive $534,726 from MTSU during the 2008-09 
fiscal year. WMOT receives some funds from grants, underwriting fees and 
pledge drives, but state money typically makes up about two-thirds of 
the station's budget.

Administrators in the MTSU College of Mass Communication, which WMOT is 
part of, are looking into the proposed cuts, Egly said.

The station is crucial to the jazz scene in Nashville, said Sharon Kay, 
general manager of WFSK 88.1-FM. The Fisk University jazz station plays 
more contemporary, smooth jazz than the standards usually heard on WMOT, 
Kay said.

"It takes both of us to get it done," Kay said. "They cover so many of 
the legends and so many of the ones that paved the way for the newer 
style and sound of jazz. To me it would be devastating."

-- 
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