Letters to the editor

February 12, 2004

WJHU "history" leaves out broken promises

Megan Waitkoff's article about WJHU ("With new rockin' lineup, WJHU battles for listeners," Feb. 6) does a great job of capturing the ups and downs of student broadcasting. However, her "Remixed History" left a few key facts on the cutting room floor.

WJHU-FM was originally licensed as a 10-watt community radio station. However, the FCC deregulated low-power FM stations. At the insistence of students, the administration applied for a power boost to protect the frequency.

The FCC approved the University's application in 1982. In the spring of 1983, the station was forced off the air by the renovation of AMR II. Students were promised that the station would return in one year with new studios at the increased power.

In November 1984, students were asked to put the 10-watt station back on the air. We constructed make-shift studios in AMR II, and the station returned in February 1985.

The University had always assured students and community members that the high-power station would be student- and community-run, with the support of a professional management team.

In June 1985, the University hired a professional general manager and announced the creation of a professional public radio station. Students never had the opportunity to run the high-power station. Student radio at Hopkins remained dead until it was resurrected by WHAT/WHSR.

As for why the University sold WJHU-FM to the organization that runs WYPR, that decision was primarily economic. The University had been subsidizing the operation, and decided that they weren't getting a return on their investment.

Mark G. Margolin

Arts and Sciences, 1985

Theater reviewer not doing his homework

I'm writing in response to last week's review of the Barnstormers' production of Songs For A New World ("Barnstormers Intersession show is dreary as winter weather," Feb. 7). As a theater junkie, I take fairly seriously articles about upcoming shows. If a show is bad then I want to know about it; if it's good, all the better. I'm not complaining about the content of this (or any) review, but the consistency. There is no guarantee that the reviewer has any prior knowledge of the specific show they're writing about, or how it got put up, or even how it ends; it is rare for a review to come out before opening night in which someone actually stayed beyond act one. I'm aware that writers are hard pressed to meet their deadlines, but there has got to be an alternative to judging a performance based on 20 minutes of actually watching it. If we want publicity for our shows, then it is absolutely our responsibility to inform the writers as far in advance as we can. Similarly, it should be the writers' job to come prepared to make educated analyses even if it involves doing some homework in advance.

Leah Miller

President, The JHU Barnstormers

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