Supporters of the rock radio station at Spokane Falls Community College argued Wednesday against cutting it from the budget, but won no promises.
Last month, a 12-member council proposed pulling the plug on KSFC-FM next year as part of $500,000 in budget cuts at the college.
A 2-year program in radio broadcasting would go too, but only after freshmen are given another year to finish their studies.
Students said SFCC offers the only radio program of its kind in the region, and radio stations are eager to hire students even before they complete the program.
“They (radio station managers) tell you to go here because this is where you learn the most,” said Susan Beaman, a freshman who moved to Spokane from Denver just to take radio broadcasting.
Beaman and others criticized the proposed cuts during a public meeting with SFCC President Vern Loland, who will make the final decisions.
Other proposed budget cuts included reductions of administrative staff, counseling, travel, student services and part-time faculty.
Many of the cuts would be made through reassignments and retirements. Only one faculty member would be laid off.
Eliminating radio would save about $20,000 in the first year and more in subsequent years.
Administrators said it would cost about $100,000 to upgrade the station’s equipment, which hasn’t been replaced since 1976.
But Mark Doerr, an instructor in the radio program, said the station could be kept running with $37,000.
Doerr also said a president’s council, which proposed the cuts, did not interview anyone directly involved in the radio program.
“Nobody talked to us about it,” Doerr said.
He said it was wrong for the council to meet behind closed doors to make its decisions.
Loland said the committee met privately so it could avoid pressure from people opposed to specific cuts.
Students said they can’t understand why the radio program is being cut at the same time a new program is being added. The administration plans to offer a program for certification as physical therapy assistants.
Vice President Ron Johns said there is high demand in physical therapy, and students are likely to do better in that career than in radio broadcasting.
Students from the radio program said they expect to earn about $7.50 an hour if they land a job with a station.
The college has to change its program offerings to keep up with trends in the economy, Johns said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: At issue Cutting radio would save $20,000 the first year and more in subsequent years.