On Tuesday, Aug. 28, representatives from the Athletic’s Department, WXOU student radio station, the Oakland University Student Congress, and the university administration met to discuss potential solutions to the issue of the radio station’s current broadcast location.
“We just want to move forward, find a solution and make sure that in the future there’s a better working relationship,” OUSC President Samantha Wolf said.
Tensions began when WXOU was moved from its usual courtside location at the operations table to the top level of the O’Rena last year.
According to the Athletic’s Department, the station was moved as a result of university growth. Starting this season, all media outlets — university and otherwise — will also be moved off of press row.
“This year, we will move to extract the media off of the operations table … The (Oakland) Post will be moved, The Detroit News will be moved, The Oakland Press will be moved,” Athletic’s Director Tracy Huth said. “They’re not going to be happy with it, but we don’t have a choice.”
Sean Varicalli, WXOU General Manager, has been displeased with the station’s current location.
“We gave our reasons as to why we don’t want to be up there, and we feel that they are appropriate and accurate and factual and we feel that we can work together on something and figure out some sort of agreement,” Varicalli said.
Huth blames the issues on a lack of communication.
“All I keep hearing is about this working relationship and whatever the issues are … it would be helpful for me, as the Athletic’s Director, to know what these issues are. No one’s ever told me,” Huth said.
The group also discussed previous incidents of miscommunication. Huth denied any knowledge of the issue.
“There might be some small communication issues and email exchanges, maybe even misunderstandings that have occurred … but otherwise, I think that the relationship has been fantastic,” Christine Stover, WXOU’s faculty adviser, said. “The seating issue is our primary concern.”
Three potential solutions were proposed. The options are leaving current contested broadcast location as is, building a press row behind the operations table and a potential Pepsi sponsorship that would fund two seats near the operations table.
Building a press row behind the operations table would remove approximately 12 permanent seats.
“The press row behind the operations table is the number one option (as) it would be ideal for everyone,” said Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh.
The location issue remains unresolved, but the group agreed to meet again mid-September. The Oakland Post will provide more information as it becomes available.
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