Southern Vermont College to Sell Radio Station to Local Nonprofit Consortium

May 19, 2008

(BENNINGTON, Vt.) -- Southern Vermont College has accepted an offer from Shires Media Partnership, a local nonprofit consortium, to purchase WBTN-1370 AM for $100,000.

            The sale was ratified Friday by the College’s Board of Trustees. Operation of the station is expected to transfer to Shires Media Partnership by June 30.

            “We are pleased, truly pleased, that such a wonderful local group has come forward to become stewards of this important and long-standing community media resource,” said SVC President Karen Gross. “Our criteria for the sale were that the radio station remain the voice of the Bennington community and that students – from SVC and elsewhere – can participate at the station to enrich their educational experience.  The Shires Partnership shares our commitment to these important goals, and this sale is demonstrable evidence of the ways local organizations can work together to reach mutually satisfactory results.”

            Joann Erenhouse, director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Shires Partnership, also expressed satisfaction  that WBTN would be kept in local hands.

            “We’d like to thank the College for both considering and accepting our offer. We appreciate that the College kept the station alive and available to the community and students for the past six years, and SVC deserves credit for shouldering the costs of this effort,” she said. “We’re reviewing our business plan and getting ready to take over management of the station, but  we’re going to keep the station’s local programming format and expand it. We’ll be doing a lot of reaching out to the community, including getting many new advertisers to support our efforts.”

            In February, the College announced that it needed to focus its resources on its main mission of developing academic initiatives, and was seeking a new operator for the commercial AM station. The College said it would consider a wide range of possible solutions. The deal struck with Shires Media Partnership is an outright sale. The organization will acquire the property, station equipment and broadcast license.