WIDB would go off the air immediately and forever UNLESS SIU forked over the cash NOW and allowed WIDB to sell advertising.
That’s the threat WIDB General Manager Joel Preston fired off, ON THE AIR.
It was December, 1972, and the station was out of money. Joel had been GM for about a year and tried SO HARD to get $ for the station. He “schmoozed” Student Senate honchos during fee allocations and got the station $25,000, but this was eschewed by George Mace, Dean of Students, who decided WIDB would get $6002.37 instead. Joel tried to run commercials and was forced to cease and ask permission. In less than nine months, Joel had WIDB’s advertising proposal before the Board of Trustees in September and again for December.
People were leaving the station when advertising was not approved in September.
December was here, the $ had run out, it was time for a big move.
Senator Buzz Talbot, Joel, and WIDB Sales Manager Robbie Davis created “Students to Save WIDB” (supposedly a grassroots student uprising) and they took out ads in the Daily Egyptian.
The ads asked students to cut it out and send to the Board of Trustees. Just as all of this was happening with the Board of Trustees meeting in a few days, WIDB aired “My 2 cents Worth,” which was essentially an editorial. You can not only hear it, but also how it was aired during the Kevin J. Potts show. After you listen, read the epilogue below.
EPILOGUE: The Board of Trustees got over 1200 letters in support of WIDB, but did nothing for WIDB. The station did go off the air in December, as usual. Winter quarter started January 4, 1973, and there was no WIDB. The administration had called Joel’s bluff and he followed thru on his threat. The station was still open during the day but no one was on the air. There was a void in the Student Center. It felt weird to many. This got publicity, and lots of people were talking about Joel’s ballsy move. Suddenly Joel got a phone call that money had been “found” for WIDB. The station resumed programming last week of January.
In WIDB’s third year, the station had enough to make this power play. This led to the approval of the advertising proposal, but that took two more years.