The Howard Media Group (HMG) is elated with Howard University’s decision to continue ownership of its television station, WHUT-TV. On February 16, 2017 the university officially announced that it has withdrawn from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Broadcast Incentive Auction.
HMG spoke vigorously against the planned auction and, instead, suggested other options. In the withdrawal letter, the President of Howard University, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick acknowledged to the Howard University community: “…it became clear that the auction would result in a relatively low yield for Howard University.” This was a prospect that HMG had warned more than a year ago.
HMG is elated that the university “. . .voluntarily withdrew from the auction when it became apparent that the relatively low yield would not justify relinquishing the university’s rights to broadcast WHUT-TV.” Importantly, while HMG supports Howard University’s commitment to seek funds and other resources to support its programs, it notes that the decision by the university preserves important access by a large number of WHUT-TV audience that rely on over-the-air broadcast. This preservation is hugely important to the community that has increasingly found itself precluded from access to local media. WHUT-TV remains the only African-American-owned public television station in the United States. The station’s programming responds to the unique needs of the diverse audience that it serves in the Greater Washington DC Metro area.
Ultimately, the university’s decision is a victory to the community and HMG is proud of the university’s decision while it fights for meaningful and important public access.
Members of the Howard Media Group, February 17, 2017