Longtime campus radio station WYBC has found a new home at 142 Temple St. across from the Omni New Haven Hotel and will likely move by next fall, WYBC board members said.
The station is currently deep into negotiations for a 10-year lease in the privately owned building, which once housed the headquarters for Fusco Corp. and now houses a law firm. The move and new facility will be costly, and WYBC — which is one of the country’s few commercial college stations — has yet to determine where the money will come from.
“We’ve lived rent-free for 55 years, so this is going to be a burden,” board member Matthew Louchheim ’04 said. “It was a luxury being rent-free.”
Although WYBC has reimbursed the University for custodial and other services, the station has never paid rent for its space in Hendrie Hall.
WYBC board members said while they hoped the station could move in July, they said the relocation was more likely to occur next October. The University decided last summer to convert all of Hendrie Hall into a School of Music facility.
Yale’s decision to boot the station came at a time when the radio station boasts its largest membership in a decade as well as an AM and FM station, said Ken Devoe, chairman of the station’s board of governors. He described the impending move as a “little bump in the road.”
Yale could not offer any other space to the station, dean of student affairs Betty Trachtenberg said.
“We do not have the space to give them,” she said. “They have the money to be able to rent space.”
But Devoe said under its current budget the group can’t afford the new space.
WYBC receives all of its money through a deal with Cox Broadcasting, which sells advertisements for WYBC. But the amount of income WYBC traditionally receives just covers its expenses now, Devoe said. The station is a non-profit organization run mostly by volunteers.
WYBC will have to either raise funds or renegotiate its contract with Cox.
The radio board looked at University Properties offerings — including a space on Chapel Street past the new Holcombe T. Green Hall art facility — but found none close enough.
The space on Temple seems perfect for the station’s needs, WYBC general manager Katherine Kunz ’03 said. It was recently renovated and does not have loud air conditioners or heaters that would disturb radio shows.
The owners of the building have agreed to add a surveillance system and contract renovators for the space, Kunz said.
The deal will fall through only if the owners rescind their offers or raise the price, she added.
The move presents the station with an opportunity to improve their operations. Many stations are currently converting switching to the digital music format, so WYBC will buy new equipment to follow the trend. WYBC will custom-design the space.
“Anytime you have a chance to wire from scratch, there are certain advantages,” Devoe said. “There’s an opportunity there but there’s also an expense.”