By Christian Feuerstein ’94
The holiday season is a time for gifts, and a time when people believe in wonder. So it was only fitting that the announcement that Antioch College has plans to purchase WYSO from Antioch University was made in early December, when Hanukkah was in full swing and people were making holiday preparations.
“This news affirms my belief in miracles,” said Vick Mickunas, book reviewer for Cox Ohio newspapers, and host of Book Nook on WYSO. “WYSO will be a tremendous asset to Antioch College.”
Antioch College announced on December 10 that they were purchasing WYSO and the Charles Kettering Building for $8 million. The agreement must be approved by the Greene County (Ohio) Probate Court.
WYSO began broadcasting with ten watts of power on February 8, 1958, as a student-run radio station. Notable alumni of the station include Rod Serling, of the Twilight Zone. Currently, WYSO is a 50,000-watt station that broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In September 2009, when an alumni-led group purchased the College and most of its assets, WYSO remained with Antioch University, a decision that was not without controversy. Nancy Crow ’70, who was president of the Antioch College Alumni Board during that time, said today, “During the long and tortuous negotiations to save Antioch College, WYSO—the creation of Antioch College students and a refuge and springboard to many more—was temporarily left in Antioch University’s hands. I am delighted to see WYSO return home.”
The “homecoming” sentiment was echoed by other alumni.
“I have mentioned to several that I consider the reacquisition of WYSO as a step to truly restoring Antioch College to itself; making us closer to being whole again,” said former Alumni Board member and current Board of Trustees member Tendaji Ganges ’71. “It is surely emotional capital that we can feel and count in our very being.”
Sam Eckenrode ’83, owner of Sam & Eddie’s Open Books in downtown Yellow Springs, said, “I think for hundreds, or even thousands of people, this will feel like a restoration of ‘the way things ought to be.’”
Eckenrode continued, “In addition to the dozens of media notables who proudly attribute their career beginnings to their time spent at WYSO as Antioch College students, there are many more of us—myself included—who may not now work in media, but whose formative years were shaped by having hosted a regular show at the station. First sight of an actual press release? At WYSO. First exposure to the intricate planning involved in multifaceted scheduling concerns? At WYSO. First sense of responsibility to a listening public? At WYSO.”
Marc Masurovsky ’77 was also happy to hear the news, and reminisced about working at the station: “[I] worked in the news department of WYSO in 1974 and 1975. That experience mixed with the collegiality, the good humor, and the professionalism of the WYSO management create[d] a memorable experience for me.”
Reversion Clauses Eliminated
Besides the transfer of ownership of WYSO and the Kettering Building, alumni were also thrilled with the news that Antioch University was eliminating the so called “reverter clauses” from the 2009 asset purchase. Those clauses specified that all of the assets of the College would revert to the University under certain circumstances, including the failure of Antioch College to obtain accreditation by September 2016.
Joe Foley ’64, the current president of the Antioch College Alumni Board, said, “Now the future of Antioch College is entirely in our hands. The challenge and the responsibility for insuring Antioch’s success rests on all of us.”
Ganges echoed this statement: “The greater security has been achieved by the University release of the reversion clause…that act is tantamount to releasing the College to be what it wishes to and needs to become again.”
Foley said, “We need to redouble our efforts now to ensure Antioch’s future.”
The transfer will, most likely, take a minimum of 60 days due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory approval requirements. Once the transfer occurs, it is expected that the ten full-time and two part-time staff members at WYSO will cease being employees of Antioch University, and become employees of Antioch College.
Antiochians will be waiting eagerly, impatiently, and expectantly. Geoffrey L. Ruben ’75 summed up many alumni wishes and hopes when he said that WYSO “could once again become a beacon for the progress, and progressive thought, of the newly reborn College.”