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The Lookout | February 26, 2021

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Funding cut from LCC radio and TV

Funding cut from LCC radio and TV

By Maddy Warren
Editor in Chief

The LCC Board of Trustees recently announced budget cuts to several departments and furloughed 120 employees, to address the $10 million deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the virus and the aftermath,” LCC President Dr. Brent Knight said,” it was necessary to reduce expenditures considerably for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020.”

The college’s radio and TV stations were among the departments affected by the cuts.

“The primary mission of the college (is) teaching, learning and student success,” Knight said. “Although worthwhile, the radio station was not thought to be essential to college operations.”

According to a statement from Knight on June 25, the college is eliminating financial support for the LCC radio and TV stations for the 2020-21 school year, saving $259,000.

“Since the radio station was in the news, interested parties have expressed an interest in partnering with LCC,” Knight said.

Radio station WLNZ remains on the air for now as supporters seek alternative funding for both the TV and radio stations.

“The college and the Board of Trustees had to make some very tough decisions,” LCC General Manager of Broadcast Services Daedalian Lowry said. “LCC radio and TV wasn’t the only department to be affected by the budget cuts. We just happen to be one of the most visible and engrained within the community.

“My heart goes out to others at LCC that were affected by the world’s current situation. With every challenge, new opportunities are born and I believe that as things progress, LCC will have some opportunities to make some great improvements, I’m hopeful that will include LCC radio and TV as well.”

The LCC radio station remains on the air in a limited capacity, Lowry said.

“LCC radio is airing its daytime AAA format on a 24/7 basis,” Lowry said. “AAA stands for ‘Adult Album Alternative.’

“Normally, the station features a variety of specialized programs beyond AAA. Those have been on hiatus since the stay-at-home was put into place.”

AAA plays a variety of music including blues, soul, rock, indie, electronica, country, hip hop, R&B, jazz and world beat. Its playlists contain songs from many decades.

Lowry said when running at full capacity, it takes many people to operate WLNZ radio.

“The station usually employees three to five students per semester,” Lowry said. “But it also utilizes between 30 to 40 volunteers per semester comprised of LCC students, LCC staff and members of the Lansing community.”

As of July 7, LCC-TV is airing prerecorded programs due to some technical issues.

“Once the issues have been resolved, the station will resume airing ‘NASA Television,’ ‘Democracy Now,’ and the ‘U of M Caucus,’” Lowry said. “However, localized programming like the ‘Coffee Break Morning Show’ and the ‘Grand River Studio Sessions’ will not be available at this time.”

Lowry said most, if not all of the shows, could resume if the stay-at-home order is lifted and volunteers/staff are allowed to enter the TLC building.

He said the difficulty of continuing with the shows from home would be a lot to ask of the individuals and volunteers, so LCC radio opted to run its AAA format on a 24/7 basis.

“There are likely a few volunteers that could create a show from home, but as volunteers, they do their shows out of passion and don’t get paid,” Lowry said. “Creating a show from home can take a great amount of extra time and requires specialized knowledge, skillsets, equipment and software.”

Lowry said he appreciates the rally of support received from listeners and viewers.

For now, “Adult Album Alternative Music” can be heard on 89.7 FM.