WKDI stuck on SA rollercoaster again

When the wrong people are empowered to make certain decisions, the results can be disastrous. When poor reasoning is behind those decisions, the results can be even worse. Such is the case with WKDI, currently on a down-swing of its ride on the Student Association Senate’s budget rollercoaster.

As recently as last summer there was strong support in the SA to call for a special student fee to foot the $250,000 bill for WKDI to go on the air. Now, only one semester later, WKDI has been refused $5,000 for a news wire service.

A main problem is that WKDI is a continuing operation with carryover policies and personnel—and the SA is not. Consequently, WKDI is at the financial mercy of a new group of senators every year.

The SA has compounded the difference by trying to be both accountant and manager for WKDI. By deciding it is all right to receive funds for one thing—going on the air—but not others—a wire service—the SA Senate is, in effect, attempting to manage the station—something it is unqualified to do.

Faculty adviser Michael Lazar presumably was hired with the notion that he knew something about radio stations. It is his job to give direction to the students running WKDI. However, it is nearly impossible for him to do his job if his advice and decisions can be thwarted by a different group of non-experts every year.

The SA’s shortcomings can be summed up in the current SA senators’ expressed opinion that $5,000 is too much to spend on one organization. The fact remains that WKDI is not just another organization. It is a university entity that provides a service.

The quality and quantity of that service is directly related to the station’s prestige. However, WKDI cannot increase its services due to a lack of prestige. It’s too bad WKDI is caught in a Catch-22, when a consistent policy would at least let station personnel know where they stand.

The past several years the SA has been reducing WKDI’s budget more and more. If the SA wants WKDI to become a skeleton crew operation, which it unfortunately has the budgetary power to do, then it should stop beating around the bush and say so. It should not mislead those at the station into thinking they can improve WKDI and then pull the rug out from under them.