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WUSF-TV goes dark October 15

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

WUSF-TV was put on death row earlier this year, but the execution date had remained unknown — until today.

WUSF Public Media announced Friday that it will end broadcasting its television channel at the end of Sunday, October 15. The announcement comes six months after the university announced that it had sold the station’s license for $18.7 million as part of the Federal Communication Commissions’s spectrum auction.

As part of its Broadcast Incentive Auction, the federal government is buying signals from broadcasters around the country to sell to wireless network providers.

“WUSF TV’s high-quality programming will continue through the final sign-off date,” said WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky. “Going forward, our focus will be on providing greater opportunities for USF students to engage with media and technology in the WUSF studios, and on our highly successful radio stations that are attracting record audiences. There is a clear demand for accurate news and quality entertainment, and we will continue to provide that for the community and the University of South Florida.”

The proceeds from the sale of WUSF TV are to “further advance USF’s initiatives,” according to a statement issued out by its public relations firm, Tucker/Hall.

News that the university’s board of trustees was contemplating selling its license was first reported in the fall of 2015, and it did not go over well with some university supporters at the time.

The station had been a financial drain, however. The Tampa Tribune’s Anastasia Dawson reported in 2015 that the station had reported financial losses of $279,659 in the 2015 fiscal year, $182,564 in the 2014 fiscal year, and $224, 921 in the 2013 fiscal year. The radio station, however, made money during the same period.

USF officials say that the on-air television studios will continue to be used for student education and production.

The sale is only for WUSF TV and its four channels. WUSF 89.7 FM and Classical WSMR will remain on the air.

 

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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