Ball State University has announced it will retain operation of its public broadcasting station. The future of WIPB had been up in the air since the university began participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s voluntary spectrum auction in September 2015.
The auction is being held throughout the country in what the university says is an effort to acquire broadcast capabilities for mobile providers. Ball State says its board of trustees authorized preliminary participation in the auction to determine whether the university "could fulfill its commitment to quality public broadcasting, and fully achieve its academic mission, should the auction be completed."
"We have said all along that participation in the auction is only on the condition that it advance Ball State’s mission," said Phil Repp, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Ball State. "We determined that selling the spectrum at this time would not be in the best interest of the university."
The university says WIPB will continue to operate as normal, but will change its broadcast frequency, a move it says should not result in any notable changes in the station’s reach. WIPB has up to 20 months to complete the frequency change.
Ball State says the cost of the change has not yet been determined, however the FCC has set aside money for stations that would be required to change frequencies.