President Simon discusses future decision of possible WKAR-TV auction
With the future of WKAR-TV up in the air, affiliates of the station are considering the fallout of the station potentially being sold.
From the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to the WKAR-TV station, the decision has many considering how key the station is to locals and students.
At the Dec. 18 Board of Trustees meeting, the board passed a resolution granting President Lou Anna K. Simon full authority to file an application for the auction of WKAR-TV with the Federal Communications Commission. Whether or not she will file an application remains to be seen. Her decision is due by Jan. 12.
Simon recently sat down with WKAR’s Constant Contact to discuss her upcoming decision, her only discussion on her decision as she was notably absent from the first public forum regarding the potential sale.
“It’s important for the community, for our students, to have the opportunity to always participate in those new technologies that we know are on the rise,” Simon said.
Simon said the decision to pursue the auction will not set in stone the future of WKAR-TV because MSU will be exploring many options, including potentially not selling the station.
“Either option of selling or keeping it are still both very much open,” she said.
WKAR-TV employs several journalists and the news outlet connects with MSU students through internships. If the station is sold, students may be denied the hands-on work the station currently offers. Simon said WKAR-TV has been preparing student’s for future jobs.
“And that involves developing content and learning how to organize and make that content the most dramatic visually as well as audio compelling for various audiences, whether it’s streaming on phones or on big screen television,” Simon said.
Locally, if the spectrum is sold, the community will see dramatic changes in programming. Specifically, television owners without antennas would not be able to view PBS unless another station picks it up.
Following the Jan. 12 decision, the conversation about the FCC auction will go silent because of legal processes.
The choice to file an application will continue MSU’s process to sell, however it would not guarantee the spectrum will be sold.
“The decision on Jan. 12 is simply whether we continue in the process, because at any time we can we can decide to pull out of auction,” Simon said.