On February 8, Central Michigan University outlined plans for its five public television and eight radio stations following the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark broadcast spectrum auction, which was conducted to gain spectrum for the nation’s cellular and digital services.
CMU Public Broadcasting will continue to operate its radio stations
and four TV stations across central and northern Michigan while selling its Flint station (WCMZ-TV) for $14 million. Nearly all Flint station viewers — 99 percent — live in areas also served by other public broadcasting stations. Additionally, CMU will encourage cable and satellite companies serving the region to continue to carry its programming.
“This was a difficult decision,” President George E. Ross said. “Two facts, however, greatly influenced our conversation. First, nearly all viewers will continue to have access to PBS through other sources. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t have participated in the auction.
“Second, our students are our core mission. Our mandate. We must focus our resources on their success. This decision was made to benefit Michigan families, including those in Flint.”
The CMU Board of Trustees will discuss and determine how the auction revenue will be invested, Ross said.
The Flint station consists of a transmission tower and small building. No employees work there, and no jobs will be lost as a result of the auction. Broadcasting from the tower will end in about three months.
CMU purchased the station in 2009 from the University of Michigan for $1 million. The university invests more than $3 million a year in its public broadcasting system.