LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Radio now has programming on Lansing Community College's radio station.
The new collaboration launched today, and officials with LCC say they believe it will bring more listeners to the station.
The fate of the college's radio station, WLNZ, has been in question since LCC announced it was defunding the station in the summer of 2020. After public outcry, college officials agreed to defer the decision.
“It’s good to finally get to the point, where we want to be and I’m excited about it,” said LCC Broadcast Services Manager Daedalian Lowery.
The change allows Michigan Radio to provide programming like BBC News and Stateside on the station, which broadcasts at 89.7 FM.
“We provided a proposal that we thought would be interesting for them and they responded in kind, said Michigan Radio’s Executive Director Steve Schram. “It allows Michigan Radio to have a stronger signal in Lansing.”
LCC will still have the opportunity to produce four hours of local programming on the weekends beginning in January.
“We will be launching something called LCC Connect, which provides LCC stories on the weekends a long with Michigan Radio,” said LCC President Steve Robinson.
In the past, LCC Has set aside around $360,000 in their budget to keep WLNZ running. That amount should drop substantially, though college officials did not provide a precise figure.
“We take care of all of the operating expenses of the transmitter facility. We will also provide them a schedule of announcements that they can air on Michigan Radio about LCC and those are provided monthly throughout the course of the relationship we have with them,” Schram said.
City Pulse Editor and Publisher Berl Schwartz was one of the people who pushed to keep the station alive but said he's disappointed with the new arrangement because "I think you can get Michigan Radio and other NPR stations in most of the Lansing market."
Schwartz said the deal takes away local programming that people in Lansing really care about.
“This is a new president and I’m not sure he understands the true need for a community-based radio system,” Schwartz said. “I also think more people would have listened to WLNZ if it was local content 24 hours out of the day.”
In the future, LCC and Michigan Radio say they want to grow WLNZ make it accessible on all platforms.
“Where ever people’s ears are, whether it’s in their car radio or streaming in their ear buds from on demand platforms,” Robinson said.