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WGTS Radio: College Board Votes No to Sale

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November 17, 1997

Silver Spring, Md., USA ... [ANN] The Board of Columbia Union College (CUC) voted November 13, not to accept the offer from Salem Communications to purchase the radio station WGTS for $10 million. The station broadcasts from the campus of CUC but operates as a separate organization, relying on contributions for most of its funding.

The decision comes after considerable discussion in the Adventist community of thestation’s role and function for outreach and communication of the church’s beliefs. A number of open meetings were called by Columbia Union, the church’s administrative body covering the eastern Maryland, USA, as a mechanism to permit the airing of views and to facilitate reaction to the proposed sale.

"We are very pleased that CUC and WGTS are moving into a new era of cooperative ministry to the people of the Washington, D.C. area. The music, talk, concerts and other activities of the radio station can do much to augment the effectiveness of Adventist outreach in this area," says Dick Duerksen, vice president for Creative Ministry.

"WGTS has an irreplaceable presence in the capital of this nation. The mission potential of this communication presence should never be underestimated," says Ray Dabrowski, director of Communication for the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters. "One of the most significant outcomes of the debate is that the Adventist Community is now motivated to make a far better use of our own media in the city where we should have more to contribute."

The financial needs of CUC, which led to the proposal being considered, remain a major issue for the College administration. Funding is needed to raise salaries to the denominational policy level, as well as to provide ongoing operational costs. The decision not to sell WGTS means that these challenges still need to be addressed.

The station changed from classical programming to a "contemporary Christian" format in August. Five worship services are broadcast each week with consistently high listener levels.[Jonathan Gallagher]

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