*(Update: Tip of the PBRTV propeller beanie to the reader who noted WTGP also signed off in 2007.)
Another college station has gone dark. Bethany College’s WVBC-FM (88.1) is off-the-air and is now Internet-only, according to a campus newspaper.
Officials at the college, located about an hour west of Pittsburgh, say shutting down the 1,100-watt station represents an improvement in service, because the Internet stream is free from interference and terrain shadowing.
“Internet radio will expand the reach of WVBC to new audiences across the globe,” Dr. Darin Fields, vice president for academic affairs, told Bethany’s official newspaper, The Old Main Journal. “Our students have a wonderful opportunity in WVBC to experience first-hand the technology convergence the communications and media industry is experiencing as we see the boundaries of traditional media forms disappearing into multimodal approaches built on internet technology.”
Playing a typical college-style eclectic mix of rock, pop and country, WVBC could be heard in Steubenville, Wheeling and much of Washington County.
The station’s feed is now being streamed via Arizona-based Stretch Internet.
Nationally, several colleges and universities have in recent years sold off their student-run stations. In August, Texas’ Rice University announced plans to sell its student-run KTRU-FM to the University of Houston, which wants to turn it into the classical-music arm of its NPR affiliate, KUHF-FM.
But WVBC is the first Pittsburgh-area college station to go dark since WGEV-FM (88.3) at Geneva College in Beaver Falls* and WTGP-FM (88.1) at Thiel College in Greenville both turned in their licenses in 2007. Like WVBC, WGEV is now an Internet-only station. In January 2010, Thiel was granted a construction permit for a new station — WXTC-FM — on 88.1.
Grove City College’s student-run WSAJ (1340) signed off for good in 2006, though its programming moved to a sister station, WSAJ-FM (91.1), while Washington & Jefferson College’s WXJX-FM (92.1) disappeared in 2002, but was reborn as the more powerful WNJR-FM (91.7).