Black-owned broadcast stations have been endangered and on the brink of extinction for so long that many of us may have let it slip our minds. For 35 years, Howard University’s WHUT station has been the last remaining. But the Federal Communications Commission has announced plans to auction off the property for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rolling Out reports that the bidding could result in a purchase of $180 – $500 million, which would definitely help sustain Howard, which many consider to be the beacon of historically black institutions. The local channel 32 spot could be highly coveted if placed int he right marker and offer the institution a boost in income that would surely go appreciated.
“Howard University must consider the significant financial opportunity presented with the Spectrum Auction,” said Howard’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick. “At the same time, we will consider the value that WHUT adds to the experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty of our School of Communications and College of Engineering, and the program and public service opportunities we provide to WHUT through our loyal viewers.”
Some of the options that Howard has in handling the future of WHUT include selling the station or keeping it and transitioning it to a lower wavelength spectrum.
This news comes days after it was announced that Johnson Publishing would be selling Ebony and Jet for an undisclosed amount to a private equity firm in Austin, TX after owning the publications for more than 70 years. Hopefully, these decisions will prove to help the black media industry flourish and evolve as time goes on rather than be seen as last ditch efforts to remain sound.
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