Facing a $6.2-million deficit, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is readying a self-described real estate “fire sale” to bridge its budget gap, and it may throw its jazz radio station, WDCU (90.1 FM), onto the pyre. The first news of the station’s possible sale was reported in the May 20 Washington Post, and on May 21 Dan Logan started his group, Save Jazz 90.
“Our focus at this point is to find financial angels who will buy the station and preserve the jazz format,” Logan says. “First we were trying to have the university hold onto the station, because that’s really ideal. The jazz is not just a good fit for them. The station has been a voice for the African-American community and for the university.”
The University is trying to avert the station’s sale by selling other property first, but the D.C. financial control board, which is demanding that UDC balance its budget by the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30) or face closure, believes the station must be sold.
“We have tried to explore options with the university,” Logan says. “We’ve explored the possibility of meeting the deficit in other ways. We’ve asked the control board if they can find some way of forestalling the sale of the station. We’ve asked the university to make the sale of the station more publicto make the bids public,” but none of the proposed options look promising.
Logan, an investor and real estate developer who says he formed the group purely out of his love of jazz, now believes Save Jazz 90’s best bet is in forming a coalition with public broadcaster WETA, the only company out of seven confirmed bidders promising to continue the station with a jazz format. Currently, WETA’s bid is much lower than the leading offer made by an unnamed religious organization.
But Save Jazz 90 is running out of time. At the control board’s June 17 meeting, a decision will be made about the station’s future. “We don’t have time to do [fundraisers], and we’ve really narrowed our focus to finding big money,” Logan explains. “I regret to say that, because I prefer to do grass-roots work in the social activism that I do, but we have no choice.”Christopher Porter
Millionaire philanthropists and dirt-poor beatniks can reach Save Jazz 90 at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (703) 768-1234.