DMX and Nelly fans won’t be turning to 94.3 FM much longer. Within the next few months, the station will no longer air rap or hip-hop.
As WYBC loses its use of University facilities this summer, Yale’s longtime radio station has had to modify the focus of its FM station to fund a new facility. Because Yale has asked WYBC to move, it will relocate this summer to a rented space on Trumbull Street, significantly raising the station’s costs. But the new facility will give the station a chance to upgrade equipment.
WYBC does not receive significant funding from the University, so to fund the move to the new space, the station renegotiated its contract with Cox Broadcasting, the company that sells advertisements for WYBC. The new agreement states that the FM station, which is WYBC’s commercial channel, must play strictly contemporary urban music — which station general manager Katherine Kunz ’03 said generally appeals to a female audience — in order to broaden the station’s listener base outside of New Haven. The FM station, 94.3, will no longer to play rap and hip-hop, which it now often does.
WYBC plans to sign a 10-year lease for the new space during reading week and hopes to inhabit it by the start of next year. Renovations for the Trumbull Street building will begin within the month.
With the move, WYBC is planning to buy new equipment, such as new compact disc players and a system to fully digitize the FM station.
Kunz said WYBC will be fine financially for the next few years. The station will launch an alumni fund raising campaign soon to save up money to possibly purchase its own space in ten years.
WYBC manages the broadcasting of an AM and an FM station. The group bought the AM station in the fall of 1998 to provide more air time for student shows. Most student shows now air on the AM station, which broadcasts at 1340 kilohertz.
The recent tightening on the FM station’s output makes the AM station even more important as an outlet for student creativity, Kunz said.
“A lot of the appeal of being able to broadcast is being able to broadcast whatever you want,” Kunz said.
Mike Corwin ’99 SOM ’01, who was involved in WYBC’s purchase of the AM station, said the group bought 1340 precisely to give students freedom in their broadcasting.
Corwin said the station has known for years that Yale would evict WYBC from Hendrie Hall. The University is planning to renovate the building to give University music programs more space.
Corwin is a senior writer for the Yale Daily News.
Some students have complained that Yale should provide the station with space, but administrators say WYBC is a commercial entity that can pay for its own space.
Kunz said the station has accepted responsibility for the cost of the move and now is focusing on making it happen.
The move has been both time consuming and costly, Kunz said. This year the station decided to decrease the scope of its annual MusicFest, in part because of lack of funds.
And radio show disc jockeys said the station’s equipment is deteriorating in the meantime. Kunz said the station has had problems with theft of turn-table needles, headsets and microphones. She said she hopes DJs will better respect the station’s equipment next year in the new space, which she said will be a much nicer facility than Hendrie Hall.