Impact radio station taking steps to receive student taxes
Journalism sophomore Jennifer Swanchara goes on air during her live disc jockey session, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at Impact 89FM in Holden Hall. Justin Wan/The State News
After a long, eventful fall semester, Impact 89FM management is taking the necessary steps to finally receive more than $300,000 in already-collected student taxes.
Impact 89FM radio still is waiting to receive both fall and spring semester student taxes collected for the radio station after COGS and ASMSU passed a bill requiring Impact 89FM to undergo an audit prior to receiving student taxes from the 2012-13 academic year.
The $3 tax each student pays with their semester tuition was frozen from Impact 89FM during summer 2012 after student government members raised questions about the station’s financial records and MSU Radio Board members skipped meetings for several years.
In its most recent bill, COGS required the MSU Radio Board to approve an audit for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.
COGS also issued a two-year probationary period where the station must provide the COGS Finance Committee full accounting of its fiscal situation on a quarterly basis.
ASMSU requested the MSU Radio Board to review and approve the audit in order to move forward in the process of receiving the student taxes.
The radio station is running on reserved emergency funds from student taxes collected in previous years.
An Impact 89FM compiled financial document from June 30, 2012 shows $984,203 was in the account as reserve funds. Impact 89FM General Manager Ed Glazer said these funds are saved as a safety net.
For the 2011-12 fiscal year, the station’s total operating expenses were $134,197, according to the station’s financial documents.
The largest expense was $36,496 for materials and supplies, according to the report. Other expenses including contracted services and rent each were more than $20,000.
Glazer said the radio station has hired a firm and the student government’s required audit is underway. He said he hopes the MSU Radio Board will meet sometime in late January or early February to review the audit.
“Once we have the audit reviewed it will be a major step forward,” Glazer said. “Hopefully, we can receive the student taxes shortly afterwords.”
Although the MSU Radio Board is taking recommendations by ASMSU and COGS seriously, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank makes final decisions regarding the future of the station’s funding, Fletcher said.
“Given the relationship based off what the student groups and the students have … and the level of responsibility she has to the students, it is hard to ignore what both groups are recommending,” COGS President Stefan Fletcher said.
Fletcher said the withheld taxes might be refunded to students if the station does not comply with the student governments’ demands.
“I remain cautiously optimistic with Impact (89FM) radio heading down a path that will make them comply with the conditions put in place with ASMSU and COGS,”Fletcher said. “But until that place is reached, I am supportive of Impact (89FM) currently using their reserve funds and not receiving the student taxes.”
Like Fletcher, physiology senior Max Winkler, who wasn’t aware of the $3 student tax, doesn’t believe the radio station deserves the money if they aren’t holding up their part of the job.
“Three dollars a semester doesn’t seem like a lot of money to me,” Winkler said. “In principle, I’d say have to stick with no, if they aren’t doing what they get paid to do.”
Glazer said Impact 89FM is hoping to receive the frozen funds by mid-semester, but he isn’t sure of the timeline as nothing like this has happened before.
Glazer said he optimistic about receiving the student taxes.
“We have a really great leadership team here,” Glazer said. “They’re excited to start the semester and have access to the funds that the students want us to haves.”