This week has a been a rough one for black-owned media outlets. Tuesday evening, news spread that after 71 years, Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and Jet magazine to Clear View Group. As if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, news broke Wednesday morning that the first and only black owned public tv station was up for grabs.
The Federal Communications Commission is allowing Howard University to sell off the airwaves of WHUT, Howard University Television. The sell, which could bring the university between $185 million to $500 million, would auction off channel 32 and the unused digital channel 32-2.
In a memo, Howard University’s President, Wayne A.I. Frederick, spoke on what the potential sell could mean for the university. “Howard University must consider the significant financial opportunity presented with the Spectrum Auction. At the same time, we will consider the value that WHUT adds to the experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty of our School of Communications and College of Engineering, and the program and public service opportunities we provide to WHUT through our loyal viewers,” he said.
All is not yet lost, as there are other options on the table. The university could still choose to not sell the station and just switch to a lower wavelength. With so many commercial broadcast tv stations in the country and only 10 belonging to blacks, we can only hope that Howard sees the value in keeping WHUT.