Spokane Falls Community College may pull the plug on its 100 watts of rock.
KSFC-FM radio is one of 20 items on a list of budget cuts proposed by a campus committee.
Students who run the station are starting a campaign over the air to save KSFC, which has broadcast since 1968.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Dori Luzzo, a sophomore from Richland who came to Spokane to take the college’s two-year broadcast program. “They are looking at this as an easy cut.”
The college would save about $20,000 a year by eliminating the station. Overall, the college is looking to save nearly $500,000 with the proposed cuts.
Administrators have agreed to keep the station running for one more school year so freshmen can complete their broadcast studies. Currently, 29 freshmen and sophomores are enrolled in broadcasting.
SFCC President Vern Loland has final say on the budget-cutting recommendations of the 12-member President’s Council, which includes administrators, faculty and two students.
Loland said he is not likely to overrule the committee’s recommendation. About the only way the station could be saved is through an infusion of money, he said, but state support for colleges over the next two years is not expected to increase substantially.
Students who run the station say SFCC has the only two-year broadcasting program in Eastern Washington and its graduates frequently are hired in radio and television.
Aside from good training, the station keeps the campus informed about news, sports and special events, students said.
Joe Ficarola, a freshman from Spokane, said it’s a poor idea to cut such a strong communication program for the campus, especially with its ability to keep the campus informed about what’s going on.
KSFC-FM is a non-commercial station that broadcasts an album-oriented rock format targeted to men ages 18 to 24. The students call it “The Falls Rock.” It broadcasts from the basement of the college library.
It can be heard on 91.9 across much of northwest Spokane, into downtown and the lower reaches of the South Hill. The station also is carried on cable in North Idaho.
Mark Doerr, broadcast instructor, said he doesn’t think the decision to cut the station has been debated enough on campus. “This program is pretty good,” he said. “I hate to see it go down.”
If the program is cut, Doerr will continue to teach English. Another broadcasting instructor, Richi Caldwell, will teach other classes.
Loland said he will give a campus-wide presentation on the 20 budget cuts Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the student union lounge. The cuts are ranked by priority with the radio station being fourth on the list.
Loland said one of the problems with the radio station is its aging equipment. It would cost about $100,000 to update the transmitter and other electronics, he said.