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WNED to Buy WBFO for $4 Million

Guests were excused from the WNED Board meeting before the group adjourned into executive session. No reason given for the executive session, but Rich Products President and COO Bill Gisel, who is chair of the WNED Board, and Donald K. Boswell, who is WNED President and COO, confirmed that the executive session would include discussion and a vote on WNED’s plans for WBFO. They also told me they wouldn’t be adjourning out of executive session, even though new business is on the agenda after the executive session. That’s how they do it every meeting, I was told.

A little birdy tells me that WNED is purchasing WBFO for $4 million.

We’ll see if that little birdy was able to get the story straight, despite the wall of secrecy built up by the State University of New York at Buffalo and our local public broadcaster.

The staff at both stations are to be given details of the move at 2pm for WBFO, and 2:30pm for WNED.


UPDATE: Yes, the little birdy was right! Click here to read the press release just sent out by UB Media Relations.

  • Debbie Schifferle

    Merging WBFO and WNED makes sense. Together they can provide stronger programming for the people of Western New York and Southern Ontario and more effectively use available funding. It’s a great opportunity.

  • UB faculty member

    Hmmm, what’s that I smell? Marsha Henderson says “UB will use the proceeds of the sale to provide student scholarships and support for faculty research.” That kind of sounds like the UB Foundation gives for itself, when in fact it pays out much much MUCH more money to salary top-ups than to student scholarships: for instance, $134,200.78 p.a. to former UB VP Marsha Henderson.

    So who’s getting the money? Is it the UB Foundation? And if so, how much of this $4,000,000 will go to faculty research, how much to student scholarships, and how much to add just a little more stink to the stinking rich?

  • Peter A Reese

    I’ll wager that at least $200 of the $4 Mil goes for scholarships. Too bad we will never know for sure due to the Secrecy Wall.

  • Jim

    Where’d WNED get 4 million big ones? I thought they were in dire straights.

  • brian

    what a sad day for buffalo radio. with a history dating back for over fifty years,WBFO was a charter member of NPR. many NPR people learned their trade at WBFO. an award winning news department that is the best in heart goes out to the staff at wbfo. is this part of UB 20/20? what a short sighted move by the bean counters in ub admin. no more blues. TO THE PEOPLE THAT MADE THIS DECISION, YOU ARE IDIOTS.

  • Goldie’s ghost

    How do I get my $100 membership to WNED refunded after this misappropriation of my donation? These are bogus “not-for-profit” organizations and should get their IRS status’ revoked.

  • s q riel

    To John Simpson, Joe Brennon, Marsha Henderson, Satish Tripathi, Mark Vogelzang,
    what a great hatchet job to a fifty year tradition at UB. you should all be ashamed of yourselves. how do you sleep at night knowing that you are responsible for the loss of so many jobs affecting the lives of so many decent, hard working professionals. i guess with your 6 figure salaries, you can afford to be indifferent. it must be nice to be able to play games with peoples lives. i hope that the same thing happens to all of you!

  • Daniel Sack

    It is a sad day for the citizens of Buffalo and the University at Buffalo. WBFO’s excellence has diminished slowly for more than 20 years, though the quality is still higher than WNED-AM’s. Though both radio stations broadcast excellent national radio programming neither does as much local programming as WBFO did forty years ago. When I was a student working at WBFO from 1967-1971 (and a few more times subsequently as a contractor) students produced more local public affairs programming than today’s WBFO and WNED combined. Did I mention there were no fund drives? Music programming also was by students and community members. There were no play-lists, no consultants. Just people who loved and knew music.

    Unfortunately for the past 20 years the University has not understood the value of WBFO to the University, the community, and especially the value to students. I wrote to UB President Greiner in the 1990s trying to get him to understand the benefits of a WBFO where students were allowed to work; and how it fit better with the mission of the university than a radio station with no students working there. He wasn’t interested.

    WBFO’s manager, the board, and UB simply didn’t care to see the value of a radio station with substantial student input. I have been listening to WBFO since 1965. The only aspect of WBFO that was better from 1990 to the present, than the WBFO of around 1970, is the network public radio programming. The local programming has suffered enormously; just as local programming has suffered on most radio stations in this region and probably every other market.

    The mantra in media and other business is “economy of scale”. Great for the shareholders, not so great for the unemployed and the public who allegedly own the frequency spectrum. Sure, all the public is interested in national and global issues, but local issues on local public radio in Buffalo has been relegated to a distant last place. Yes, there is some decent coverage of local news on WBFO and WNED-AM, but compared to the important local issues that should be covered? WBFO did a better job forty years ago with students.