WHUT Sunday, November 1, 2015

Note: the commenting period has ended and is now closed (Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 8am)


Howard University Announces Public Comment Opportunity Regarding Its Future Decision on Whether to Participate In the FCC Broadcast Incentive Auction

Howard University is considering its options concerning the Broadcast Incentive Auction to be conducted in spring 2016, by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Please refer to the memorandum from President Frederick dated October 16, 2015, by clicking here.  

The FCC will conduct the auction as an opportunity for all television stations to consider. WHUT is not for sale but the University will consider all of its options and make a strategic business decision.

Please use this comment site to offer your opinion and comments as to whether the University should apply to participate in the auction.

The comment period will run from Monday, November 2, 2015, beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST and will close at 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday November 16, 2015.

Commenting Parameters

The University welcomes comments that represent a variety of points of view.  However, all comments will be screened and those that contain violations of the following rules will not be posted:

  1. Any comment that contains vulgar or obscene language.
  2. Any comment that contains language that is insensitive or insulting to any ethnic or racial origin, any class of people, or religion.
  3. Any comment that contains language that is libelous to any individual. 
  4. Any comment that is not on topic, that is, that digresses into a discussion of a topic or topics not related to the issue of whether Howard University should participate in the auction.
  5. Any comment that includes web links
  6. Any comment whose length exceeds 400 words.

The University will make every effort to post comments within 24 hours after receiving them.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of Howard University.


Marcus Waremarcusaware@gmail.comAlumni

I support the university participating in the auction. Opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, and the aggressive valuations have put the worth close to the point where - after being invested in our endowment - we would have close to a billion dollar nest egg.

Marcus Warejamal_maurice.pea@law.bison.howard.eduAlumni

I agree with Dr. Ware's sentiments. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity with tremendous financial gain.

Marcus Warejamal_maurice.pea@law.bison.howard.eduAlumni

I agree with Dr. Ware's sentiments. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity with tremendous financial gain.

Black-4-Life dcbro@yahoo.comAlumni

I truly think that Howard University should not even consider this as an option. This is the only black owned public television station in the United States. The rich history of more than 35 years is something that should not be taken lightly. Let us realize this station gives us as people of color control on what documentaries and shows to be aired on this station. The rich history of this station can be passed down from generation to generation. I would strong oppose any partnership or selling of this landmark station. If we are having some financial difficulties lets us work together as a community and find other means to raise money to support our university.


I agree that Howard should not participate in the auction. How about leasing to anyone who needs
such an entity. A favorable long term lease could provide long term income to the University amd allow it to retain a valuable asset that can be used as a training vehicle for students and a source of income. As a group we need to retain our ability to communicate our story.


This is the biggest sneek maneuver in communications, since 1934. No auction-sale-give away. We need to keep what we have for our students and for the Howard Community. Maybe in the year 2115.

Ihsan Rogersstillroyalty@yahoo.comAlumni

I agree. This is a very bad idea. We can find many ways to fund the university, but we have a responsibility to our student to show them what having an independent voice in media means. This is a short sighted decision. Everything should not be about money.

Imani OakleyImani.oakley@law.bison.howard.eduStudent

I agree with the sentiments above

Chrycka Harperchrycka.harper@gmail.com Student

My comment considers the impact of the success in the action. What will FCC'S control do to the student voice and broadcast in WHUT? How will it impact the other media outlets at Howard University? Will it change the culture at WHUT? What will be the FCC's expectations in productivity and output?

Theo Spencertheo.spencer@consultspencer.comAlumni

I don't think you understand what is going on here. The University is going to sell the spectrum it uses to broadcast WHUT, effectively ending the station. This has no impact on any other media outlets at the University.


There is no FCC control of the station if it's sold. The FCC is buying the spectrum, not the station. If they do so, the station disappears.

Beverly Oliverinfo@sojourntohonduras.comAlumni

If Howard collected $1 million from 200 of its most wealthy and influential alumni and supporters, would that be enough to keep WHUT from being auctioned off? And if WHUT hired influential and talented television and film producers and marketing professionals to create programming for WHUT, would that be enough to keep WHUT from being auctioned off? I'd like to think the answer is Yes to both questions. Visionaries, tenacious and talented visionaries, industry-accomplished visionaries and staff, I feel, will keep WHUT from being auctioned off. Jim Watkins built WHUT from scratch. Is he being auctioned off too? I pray not. Here are my suggestions for WHUT's longevity. Produce high quality, state of the art programming with industry professionals at the helm; Howard junior and seniors, as interns, working alongside these professionals. Interns could come from the School of Communications and Howard's University Relations office. Howard Magazine could become a high quality televised version on WHUT. The broadcast of a high quality HBCU newsmagazine could highlight not only happenings at Howard, but all HBCUs. The social scene in and around the Howard University community could be a program. Ancestry.com could be a sponsor of a television program about Howard's early years, looking at significant events, news, and people. Sponsorship of these programs is endless. School of Communications public relations majors (junior & senior interns), working with School of Business marketing majors, could help position WHUT programming as a valuable investment. Tenacity and great vision are required. One more suggestion. A soap opera about characters living in a fictitious DC community could include a staff of senior drama students, with a professional dramatist at the helm. The possibilities are endless. Let's not see WHUT go the way of Howard University Press. It saddens me that we no longer have a university publisher. It takes great vision and tenacity to save WHUT. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Good luck.

Beverly OliverJstew1000@aol.comAlumni

Excellent point! I am a 1991 graduate of the School of Communications, and it is important that we keep the station for generations to come. High quality original programming is what the station needs.

Brent A Hughesbahughes@gmail.comAlumni

I'm sure between the law, engineering and business schools (and alumni) a solution could be found to lease the spectrum if money is the object. Long term income as opposed to cash up front, if that is indeed an option.



I agree, don't participate but develop a lease agreement


I agree, don't participate but develop a lease agreement

Brandon Strongbrandond.strong@gmail.comAlumni

I'm completely on board with leasing the spectrum if that's an option. With our past history of fiscal management, we may never be able to get something this valuable back if ever we need it. Furthermore, selling off of assets in a reverse auction could be volatile. Selling off assets is never the way to go for that matter. But, if you go with the road frequently traveled, would you be able to set a baseline, because I'm sure our valuation is higher than the proposed minimum?

Melvin Footemfoote2420@aol.comHU Community member

I think the situation that Howard finds itself in with regards to WHUT, is very consistent with what is happening with the media generally. The digitalization process requires much less infrastructure than what currently exists, and many media houses are finding themselves in a bad shape financially. It is a good thing that Howard is now exploring various options. One option that Howard should consider is to merge or form a partnership with media houses in Africa and elsewhere in the Diaspora. Such a partnership could open the door to stronger content and a global audience.

James R. Morgan IIIjrmorgan919@aol.comAlumni

As a member of the Alumni community of now only Howard University but more specifically the School of Communications, I sincerely believe that we should not participate in this auction as the Spectrum which our beloved H.U. is currently in possession of is a resource that offers a unique experience and outlet to the students studying media production as well as to the University as a whole. As I explained to President Frederick a few short days ago in a one on one discussion, I believe that our participation in this auction will be yet another shot term solution to more systematic problems. We should retool the school but not at the expense of the things that make Howard the great institution it is known for and I believe that by auctioning off this piece of valuable real estate (as that's exactly what it is) that we will be in fact surrendering a great resource to emotional fiscal policy.

It seems to me that many who are voicing their support for selling this property do not understand that the spectrum space is something that we will lose forever. Some may say that the production departments should look at online production to which I ask "Would you sell your house and back yard so that you can have a barbecue in a public park?" That is exactly what we would be doing by killing one of the few outlets of this type that is owned by not only an HBCU but by any American university. It is my understanding that Stanford University (my brothers alma-mater) is the only other university in the country with a comparable asset. I wonder where the students interested in mass media will take their brain power and tuition funding in the future if Howard were to participate in this auction. One has to wonder....

James R. Morgan IIIjrmorgan919@aol.comAlumni

As a member of the Alumni community of not only Howard University but more specifically the School of Communications, I sincerely believe that we should not participate in this auction as the Spectrum which our beloved H.U. is currently in possession of is a resource that offers a unique experience and outlet to the students studying media production as well as to the University as a whole. As I explained to President Frederick a few short days ago in a one on one discussion, I believe that our participation in this auction will be yet another shot term solution to more systematic problems. We should retool the school but not at the expense of the things that make Howard the great institution it is known for and I believe that by auctioning off this piece of valuable real estate (as that's exactly what it is) that we will be in fact surrendering a great resource to emotional fiscal policy.

It seems to me that many who are voicing their support for selling this property do not understand that the spectrum space is something that we will lose forever. Some may say that the production departments should look at online production to which I ask "Would you sell your house and back yard so that you can have a barbecue in a public park?" That is exactly what we would be doing by killing one of the few outlets of this type that is owned by not only an HBCU but by any American university. It is my understanding that Stanford University (my brothers alma-mater) is the only other university in the country with a comparable asset. I wonder where the students interested in mass media will take their brain power and tuition funding in the future if Howard were to participate in this auction. One has to wonder....

Casanova Quixotecasanova.quixote@yahoo.comHU Community member

Though the spectrum shortage is a problem that many wireless communication companies face, Howard University should not have relinquish one of its niches to make cell service clearer. The importance of the broadcast signal to a television station is only secondary to its cameras. FCC has concocted this half-baked auction only after Congress did not pass multiple bills to expand the list of usable frequencies for commercial entities. The reverse auction that the FCC is proposing is quite ridiculous. The FCC plans to use the market to drive down the price of the spectrum, but to what end? Once the FCC acquires new spectrum, it will just turn around and sale (or lease) the spectrum to wireless communication companies either to make a hefty profit or pass the discount onto multi-billion dollar companies. I may be cynical, but I choose to believe the latter; which is why I am even more skeptical about the auction.

I believe that WHUT nor its spectrum should not be for sale, but this is an imperfect decision. I know that at the end of the day Howard University is a business that has to pay its bills and the injected capital from this auction would be outstanding; but I also know that Howard University provides a crucial service to the African-American community and it should not deviate from its standard. Let's seek to add value to WHUT and the students associated with the station instead of seeking a quick pay day that could have a detrimental affect on future students. Unfortunately, we do not know how students and the operations of WHUT will be effected exactly from the memorandum from President Frederick. Therefore the options for going forward with the auction must be further expounded upon before an informed opinion can be rendered. How does forfeiting WHUT's noncommercial broadcast license affect its operations? Will it have to seek advertisement to stay on the air and if so is there a department that can handle that task? How will the switch from UHF to VHF affect the DTV broadcast signal? What is the expected costed to partner with another broadcast station? What is the estimated reduction of broadcast time if WHUT did partner with another station? What is the plan of action for WHUT, if Howard University does not participant in the auction? Those are just a few cursory questions that come to mind after reading the options for going through with the auction. And then there is the elephant in the room... What does Howard University plan to do with the revenue from the sale of WHUT's spectrum?

Casanova Quixotejaynellangel@gmail.comAlumni

I am in agreement with the above comment and have the same questions?

Leona D WillisLeona.Willis@gmail.comAlumni

The time has come for Howard to lead not follow. Create a different model. Lease. Do not sell. Quick fix cash flow is not the way to go for creating cash flow in perpetuity. I want to know the School of C is going to be in existence 200 years from now even in a different iteration. Communications is a field constantly evolving but critical to every industry. Treat your greatest asset like it has real value beyond the dollar bill.

Lance Williamslanceranwill@gmail.comAlumni

I do not support the sale of WHUT's spectrum. Wireless companies will ALWAYS be looking to add to their respective spectrum's as more people purchase more devices (mobile & tablet) each year. This idea that this is an opportunity that will never come around again is inaccurate. The price the FCC has set as the value of each participating broadcaster's spectrum is not the price that the spectrum will even sell for as this is a REVERSE AUCTION and the price will go down each round. Plus since the broadcaster would effectively be ceding control to the FCC, the FCC only has to give a PORTION of what the spectrum sells for to the broadcaster, so there is no guarantee what Howard University would even garner from this "sale". We can't post links in here, but just google "FCC Reverse Auction" and all the information is there. There is a very good chance this could all blow up in the FCC's face next year as some wireless companies are already on record saying that the FCC has overvalued how much those companies will pay for this spectrum.

Owning spectrum is the equivalent of being a distributor. There will ALWAYS be money in being a distributor. Once that is sold HU can no longer be a distributor in this capacity. Time to bring back some alum, and figure out a plan moving forward of how that spectrum (and the station) can be used to help bring HU into the new media & digital landscape.

Kellen Mooremoore.kellen@gmail.comAlumni

I am concerned that sale of the spectrum indicates that University officials intend to narrow the programmatic activities of the University. In my view this should only be done out of financial necessity, and I do not believe alumni and students have the information needed to assess what qualifies as a financial necessity for the University.

I commend the University for soliciting comments but it would be greatly appreciated if the University would formulate a proposal and provide a rationale for the proposed action and then allow University stakeholders to weigh-in on the proposal.

Tameka A Amadotamekaamado@gmail.comStudent

I don't not support even looking into options. The university has a responsibility in remaining the only black owned public television in the nation. Although the auction sounds beneficial for the university from a financial stand point, there is much to consider than a price.

We need to figure out a different plan instead of outsourcing every thing on this campus. Once it's sold, it is gone.

This is ridiculous.


Shall Howard Adminstration choose to auction off WHUT to the FCC, will come the continuous neglect of the university by those in charge. It amazes me, as a Howard University student who decided to attend the school as a way to connect with my African heritage historically and contemporarily, that the auctioning of WHUR is even being considered. Howard continues to sell its soul to those with more power in America. What message is this sending to us as students? Does President Frederick and his board even care about the fate of Howard and it's students? Each day, my colleagues and I feel the love and care for us as students disappearing - a feeling that makes most of us want to transfer.

Kenneth L. Howardkenneth.howard@dc.govAlumni

As both an alum and a former staff member of the University, I implore you not to consider such a sale. When I was the financial aid Director at the University of the District of Columbia, they sold their radio station. It was the worst decision ever. The University never fully recover from that sale.
The short term gain does not outweigh the long term loss of such an action.

James DeLeonjimmyde46@aol.comAlumni

If these Spectrums,that are going to be auctioned off,have a value that will only appreciate over time,why can't Howard University join the Auction as buyers,rather than sellers?I have seen no discussion to that end.

Daesha SmithJustdaesha@gmail.comStudent

Minority ownership is already a problem in the media. Even though WHUT isn't exactly for sale, I think participating in the auction is a step in the wrong direction. It is a part of black history and I think Howard University has an obligation to uphold that history.

Daesha SmithJustdaesha@gmail.comStudent

Minority ownership is already a problem in the media. Even though WHUT isn't exactly for sale, I think participating in the auction is a step in the wrong direction. It is a part of black history and I think Howard University has an obligation to uphold that history.

Sabrina Dames contactsabrina@sabrinadamesart.comAlumni

I admit I don't know what this auction process means and need to do more research. Although it's been stated WHUT TV is not for sale and the University is considering options my common sense tells me the University IS thinking about selling it because an auction is a sale. My gut tells me it is a done deal. Common sense also tells me if an auction will raise as much as projected it is a VALUABLE asset that should NOT be auctioned off, but used to generate money . Is there any way the station's status can be changed from public to commercial? Can the University ask the FCC which governs that type request to do that ? Would that free up the station to charge money for advertising, create more programming that would generate revenue etc. ? Has the University looked at what the station might be worth in the future if it does not auction it?

Theo Spencertheo.spencer@consultspencer.comAlumni

To answer you question, I don't think going commercial is viable option. Going commercial means the University would either be responsible for contracting with content producers or affiliating with content producers and distributors. HU simply doesn't have the infrastructure to do that. Let's face it, there are three public broadcasting stations in the same coverage area as WHUT. WHUT is only valuable in this limited market. The FCC licenses this market so its not like Howard can broker this deal outside of the FCC. Technology is changing media. We have an asset that is very valuable in this limited sense. We have to consider this very seriously.

Sabrina DamesContactsabrina@sabrinadamesart.comAlumni

Theo Spencer I did a little research and understand the issue a little better. I now feel the University should lease its spectrum not sell or auction it off.

Sabrina DamesContactsabrina@sabrinadamesart.comAlumni

LEASE IT. Did a little research. Spectrum is finite. There isn't anymore. So lease it to the big wireless companies and it will forever generate income. Some others have suggested leasing too. This article is a little old but cleared up a lot of things for me.


Leonard Edloeleonard.edloe@gmail.comAlumni

Howard University has two very unique assets. The hospital, the only black owned hospital in America and the TV station, the only Public TV station owned by a black university and one of only a few owned by a University in America. I understand the financial stress our university is under, however we should not operate under a business model that relies on the sale of precious assets. The Howard experience is a great one. I feel it is made even greater when the facilities providing our educational opportunities are owned by the University.

pamela marshallbarrelchild@gmail.com Alumni

I don't think HU should even consider an option. WHUT is one of the only Black owned TV STATIONS. All history will be forever gone. Let the students manage the TV station they will show you how to make a profit and make WHUT competitive. No to sale.


Keep the station at all costs... Even if it means becoming a commercial entity... See WHUR...

Chelsea Whittingtonclstalling@yahoo.comAlumni

While I recognize that the leadership at Howard University is looking for creative ways to raise capital, I am not in favor of the sale of WHUT spectrum in a public auction. I received my broadcast journalism training at WHUT more than 20 years ago, and it has always been my hope that the generations of HU alumni who follow me would also have full access to a University-owned and operated facility. We are among the last who can tout such a distinction. I understand that the station is not for sale, but it sure feels like it when we start selling spectrum. Who knows what's next! Please vote NO!

Candace Jacksoncjackson@cjamconsulting.comAlumni

It is appreciated that the university seeks to keep the HU community abreast of its strategic organizational decisions. But I quite frankly would like more information on the building blocks of this process. Is it possible, before the Dec. auction, to get a simple breakdown of pros and cons of such an endeavor? And should Howard decide to participate in the auction, does this mean that one of the three options articulated in President Frederick's Oct. 16th letter will be sought? Questions questions.

Felix F. Etebomfimeh@verizon.netAlumni

I am a little bit confused if the station in participating in a process that is clearly stated will not bring the university the True value of the Station . Is it that the station is not financially viable to the University or is the University constantly losing money chronically because of the station performance. What is at the core of such participation?

Theo Spencertheo.spencer@consultspencer.comAlumni

The real decision HU needs to make is based on the future of television. Withing the next ten years, most people will download/stream content. The notion that people are sitting around waiting for WHUT is outdated. The bandwidth they are prepared to sell is not going to be worth more money than it is right now. I am leaning towards selling the bandwidth.


PLEASE DO NOT CONSIDER! I'm sorry, but it already feels like Howard is fading from being an HBCU. To even consider this option will actually make it a reality. WHUT has a history, a legacy; this cannot be an option. If it is auctioned, I'm sure the platform will change for the worse and no longer represent Howard University the HBCU, but just another university. Please, don't do it!


The university needs a $100 million. I understand the historic aspect but it is time to move on.

Ani MayoAnimmayo95@gmail.comStudent

WHUT provides Howard students with real job experience in the field of communications. It is just as important as the Howard Hospital is for medical students. There should not be any reason it is under consideration for an auction.

Robert Sweatrasweat@yahoo.comAlumni

I am in a H.U. Alum F.B. group and we have been discussing this for some time. My thoughts are what are the implications of keeping the spectrum vs Selling? What about going into a long term lease agreement with a major cell phone provider? Ownership is all we have as a community. Many here feel the school looses when it sells assets. If we sell what can the school obtain other than cash that will benefit the school in the long term?

Alexis Whiteahillwhite@gmail.comAlumni

WHUT offers unique and valuable program that provides a perspective found few other places on television. I would hate to see that perspective lost by giving up the stations spectrum space. Ideally, You would be able to continue to offer some programming while selling some portion of the space.


Howard University should not apply to participate in the auction because HUTV must continue to reach the entire community regardless of economic status or address. The number one reason for maintaining HUTV is deeply rooted in the university mission to educate the people beyond their immediate realities and understandings of the world. Howard University Television provides the community with "digital rays of hope via broadcast programming" that you can work hard and achieve all your professional goals at Howard University. Oh, Howard we love thee.


I have listened to Dr. Frederick's State of the University Address and other online status updates. These broadcast point to a dire financial situation. The auction of the WHUT broadcast spectrum can infuse the University with sorely needed funds (in the neighborhood of $186M-$461M).

My understanding is the Howard University will still maintain control of the actual TV station. Only the broadcast spectrum will be auctioned. Students will still be able to gain experience in various aspects of TV such as performing pre and post production tasks.


People are missing a very basic point. To say that the station is not for sale, is not saying that the station exists with or without the spectrum. It's simply to say that what's valued is the spectrum, not the station per se. But be clear, no spectrum means no way to broadcast the station.


In listening to Dr. Frederick's frequent updates on the State of the University, it should be clear that Howard is in dire financial difficulty. The auction of the WHUT broadcast spectrum is NOT the sell of the TV station. I wonder how many viewers tune into WHUT everyday?
Howard needs an infusion of cash and the auction presents the potential for $186M-$461M. Students are demonstrating and complaining about the state of dormitories, the band is refusing to perform due to lack of distribution financial aid/ scholarships.
This auction presents the potential for needed financial relief, which should be the #1 Priority!

Auction the Broadcast spectrum and let's move forward.

Sowande Tichawonna ceo@racemantell-a-pictures.comAlumni

You don't sell one of your most valuable assets for a quick pay day. Given the scenario you laid out, do you think any of the other two PBS affiliates would sell? Of course not, owning spectrum makes you a distributor! Would you sell your house to pay a bill? Distribution is power in this industry. WHUT can lease it's spectrum to the wireless companies and maintain control of it's station. That's the power of ownership. This can also help the university rebound financially. By the way, the $186-461 million is the estimated value of the spectrum. It is NOT what the university would receive in the sale. This is a reverse auction which means the price decreases with each round. A wireless company could grab this valuable "property" for next to nothing and the university could see as little as $5-10 million. Which is a highly likely scenario. The university can make this much leasing the spectrum!

Charmion KinderCharmion.N.Kinder@gmail.comAlumni

Thank you for this post. Is there an opportunity to retain the spectrum through the establishment and maintenance of a model like PBS? What are options available so that Howard University can maintain control of WHUT and the spectrum? I do not support the auction of our spectrum in any way, shape or form, but I do understand the need to alternative options. Information on thinking around other approaches would be helpful for alumni to organize around. Thank you.

James Whitfieldjrwhitfield@verizon.netAlumni

I want to thank the university for giving us the opportunity to comment on this proposed action. I feel that the university should not consider the auction. To my knowledge, Howard is the only Black university with a television station. While it is clear that Howard, like all HBCUs, needs additional funding, giving up the television station is not the answer. This is an extremely valuable asset which we would not be able to easily regain, if we give it up. There must be other ways to handle the financial needs of the university without losing this vital tool of communication and training for future broadcast communication professionals.
To my knowledge the university has not conveyed to the alumni and the wider Howard community, the financial situation that the university is currently facing. If we were all aware of the situation, perhaps other solutions could be found other than this auction, which to me should only be even considered as a last resort.

WN Middletonwnmiddleton@yahoo.comAlumni

I believe it is important for Howard to consider how to remain in ownership of the station. I concur with sentiments expressed about the value of owning a station and having power over our narratives and a platform that reflects our collective and diverse experiences. Further, the station is an invaluable resource for students and served as a deciding factor when I discerned which communication program I wanted to attend as an incoming freshman. What is the state of the station and what measures can we take as a community to maintain ownership and keep this invaluable jewel in our school, community and larger network of mass communications Black owned, Howard owned and successful? I pray we will not sell WHUT or participate in an auction that will remove Howard as its owner. We've already lost so much in the communities surrounding HU due to gentrification. Let us fight to keep our stations--television and radio and other entities that remain. Thanks.

Gale Stanfordstanfordconsultants@yahoo.comAlumni

I am in disagreement with Howard University's participation in this auction. There are some things that money should not be able to buy such as the history, excellence, and integrity of WUHT. If it is money we need, come on alumni, let's step up to the plate!

Jasmine Brockjmbrock03@gmail.comAlumni

I completely disagree with the decision to even look into selling any part of anything, including WHUT, that Howard University owns. We can do better than to sell off part of what makes our University so unique. Yes, we need to raise money, but this cannot be the solution. Ownership, control, of what we broadcast is so important in media these days. We see that Black people cannot rely on mainstream media for an honest representation of what is happening and we need stations like WHUT to get our perspectives out there. We should look into ways to keep the station up-to-date but selling it is the last thing that we should do. We have to focus on long-term consequences versus a short term financial gain. We have to remember what our University means to our community and to society as a whole. We cannot pretend like Howard University is a Georgetown or American, because we are not and that is a good thing. Keep complete ownership of the station!!!

Leah Henryleah.henry@bison.howard.eduStudent

As a communications student this would affect me directly. We use WHUT not only as a learning facility but a platform to show case our work that we spend our four years at Howard perfecting. Howard's journalism program was ranked # 17 in the country by USA Today this year. As journalism major the fact that we are able to walk over to a functioning television studio and practice what will we be doing in the next few years helps shape us into the media professionals of tomorrow.We are literally stripping Howard University of everything that sets us apart from any other school. The way that money has been mismanaged in this past I honestly don't know if the students will see the direct benefit of selling WHUT. I see a lot of alumni saying selling it will help get Howard back on track financially but most alumni don't give back because they don't know where the money would be going. I see the direct benefit of having WHUT at my disposer in it's current state. I am against Howard selling, "auctioning" or getting rid of WHUT.

Maxine Moffettmaxinemoffett@gmail.comAlumni

Howard University should maintain its television network since it is a viable resource. Collectively Howard can partner with its alumni and media consultants as to find avenues to make the network profitable. The network has great potential and should not be sold.


It is important that Howard retain ownership of the station and broadcasting. Do not participate in the auction.

Merriel M Chasemerrielchase@gmail.comAlumni

I feel Howard University should not participate in the Incentive Auction. If Howard University has no control over or cannot influence the actual proceeds from auctioning WHUT off, there should be no participation in the auction.

Richard E Wesleyrwheavydrama@gmail.comAlumni

I cannot pretend to know much about the technical aspects of tis discussion. I am much more into creative content than the delivery systems by which that content is disseminated. However, I have now lived through the loss of black-owned/ black-oriented radio stations, the deterioration of the black-owned press, the sale of BET, the sale of Motown, the loss of Solar Records and Philadelphia International Records, the diminution of Johnson Publications, just to name a few. These losses come at a time when mass communications and the ability to process and disseminate information throughout nations and the world have not only reached heights undreamed of, but have gained a measure of importance not only monetarily but also in terms of political power and social uplift. Howard University is in possession of one of the most important assets any entity in our democracy can have: the ability to speak with its own voice, unbought and uncontrolled. There is no need to sell it away, and why would Howard do so? Even the President has admitted in his letter that the stated full value of the spectrum probably would not be realized. At the end of the day, the University should not feel compelled to sell anything. If this is about money, then lease the spectrum for a period of years, but DO NOT SELL. EVER.


As a graduate of the School of Communications (2011), I was able to learn hands on experience at WHUR. I definitely think it is crucial to the broadcast journalism experience to keep the station as an entity of Howard University. Aside from this, this is the only public television station owned by a Black university - that is astounding and noteworthy. Money should not solely motivate this decision.

Shirley Coxcoxsh@msn.comAlumni

It saddens/concerns me to learn that WHUT may be put up for auction.
It is unfortunate the University is not able to make WHUT a financially viable entity of its communications program. There used to be a local children's hour in which my daughter was able to participate many years ago hosted by Bernie McCain.
The station has a lot of potential unfortunately those in charge don't seem to have the vision to make it financially viable.
No doubt just like BET changed when it was sold, WHUT if sold, will change also
Howard ought to be at the forefront leading the charge for other HBCU's to find innovative and profitable ways to improve services to the community. In my opinion, putting WHUT on the auction block is not one of them.

Patsy Burkinspatsyburkins@bellsouth.netAlumni

As a School of Communications graduate, I truly believe Howard has a unique role to play in producing top communicators with a purpose. But as a nonprofit leader tasked with paying bills and making payroll, I'm clear the best programs mean nothing if you don't have the money to keep them going. They've already said the plan is to keep WHUT and sell off the extra bandwidth. On the flip side, it does no good to keep the bandwidth if the university itself is slowly going down in financial flames.

So I say go for the third way--similar to what they did with the hospital--to maintain ownership of the core services and keep the overall purpose, while making sound financial decisions for the benefit of all HU. It ain't pretty or sexy, but it really is all about keeping the infrastructure you rarely hear about or see strong.

Sowande Tichawonna ceo@racemantell-a-pictures.comAlumni

First of all, the FCC is not obligated to grant spectrum to the wireless companies just because they want it. WHUT is the ONLY African-American owned and operated PBS affiliate in the country. My internship at this station (then WHMM) gave me a competitive edge in securing employment in broadcast television. The presence of WHUT in the nation's capital means that we can exercise true freedom of speech by producing and discussing shows that speak to issues important to our community that corporate mainstream media chooses to ignore. I'm calling on all of our alumni and everyone who benefits from the First Amendment, to support preserving our unique voice and perspective in public discourse.

Tony Umraniaumrani@aol.comAlumni

I'm a graduate of Howard University class of 1985, School of Communications. My first professional training was at WHUT, them WHMM. It was a valuable training experience and an opportunity to work with professionals who had a vested interest in training young African Americans for a future in the industry. I'm a 30 years veteran in television news and I owe much of that longevity to my internships at WHUT.


I do not think the university should sell the station. I believe successful former students, such as Kathy Hughes, benefited from having a successful station owned by the university to pursue their studies. I have a concern that the students freedom of expression and ideas will be impeded if the station is owned by a business entity that may not have the students' best interests in mind. If Howard reached out to it's alumni they will support the station's future.

Attorney Roy Carleton Howellprofessorhowell1954@yahoo.comAlumni

WHUT should not be sold. I am among several Howard Law School graduates hired by the Carter Administration as the first Black lawyers in what was then the Private Radio Bureau and the Broadcast Bureau at the FCC. President Carter took affirmative action to hire Black lawyers for the predominately white FCC, and it was very hard for us at the Commission and the telecommunications industry then. The first Black Commissioner Hooks had just left the FCC to head the NAACP, and many whites at the FCC resented the presence of Black lawyers. The FCC and telecommunications industry was a very hostile and racist place for Black lawyers. When President Reagan came into office the new FCC management began to remove Black professionals by creating a very hostile work environment. I filed a Title VII Civil Rights law suit against the FCC based upon race discrimination in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and lost. As Black people we must not give up spectrum and the ability to communicate. Today, other Public Television Stations totally ignore Black History Month in February. For years other Public Television Stations have totally ignored programs which are relevant to Black people. The ability for WHUT to communicate with Black people and inform "others" is important, and worth far more than the "short term gain" of some millions today. Fifty years from today WHUT spectrum will be worth perhaps billions because of it location, importance, and future technological innovation. The sale of WHUT today is "small minded." WHUT must not be sold.

Floyd Rancefloydrance@gmail.comAlumni

I say NO...It sounds like a "all hands on deck situation" and those in charge should strategically consult with all concerned and all those that care before making a trajectory changing decision.

Shelton Dardenshelton_d@yahoo.comAlumni

You should never trade a lifetime of monetary and cultural returns for a one time benefit. A capital campaign can raise cash, but you may never be able to recover what you have lost once it's gone

Karla A. Edwardinfo@KarlaWithaK.netAlumni

We are in the midst of a historic time of a Communications Technology evolution, so it's important to think about this carefully and not react to pressure, fear or greed. As a 1982 Sch. of Communications grad, I was taught about the facsimile machine, a concept I didn't quite understand, initially, but 2 years later, I owned one. That's how quickly communications technology has changed/evolved! BUT, it is still present! In a bigger way and it will not go away!

WHUT is a facility that has antiquated tools and infrastructure, but it can be rehabbed, updated & unwired, like an old house, to become a SMART STUDIO for future communicators as they learn, grow and evolve through time, as does the technology and infrastructure. We don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, here!

There is more potential and advantage to keeping the property and updating the facility, as it relates to HU legacy, HU media ownership, control of content creation, generating revenue, and learning to evolve in a changing world, than to sell it for one payday! As a dyed in the wool 20th cent. educated, former radio employee, but 21st cent. trained, Internet Multimedia Marketing entrepreneur, I am hyper-conscious of moves like this. Auction is a REACTION to a concern, rather than a long term SOLUTION for creating opportunities we've never had or seen before.

I advocate updating WHUT into a state-of-the-art STUDIO, capable of producing professional, commercial voice over, musical and other audio recordings. Use it as a LAB to test the commercial application of apps and new media for educational, civic and social purposes. With new social media apps and devices being created on a regular basis, the sky is the limit, with how WHUT can be where students create programming and content. It can be a partnership hub where HU alumni and students from other universities or high schools can come to create/strategize/promote new media projects and continue to educate past, current and future HU students.

Karla A. Edwardinfo@KarlaWithaK.netAlumni

I spoke about making WHUT into a state-of-the-art studio for audio recordings, but I should have included video specifically and multimedia in general, considering the evolving nature of media, across all formats, channels and devices. Look at a company I work with, Studio Center, Virginia Beach, VA, as an example of what is possible, when you have the correct infrastructure for all media production on one campus. That is power. The rest of my argument remains, as is.


I'm deeply saddened, frustrated and concerned that Howard University ("the Mecca") is in such financial distress. While I understand HU leadership is working to fill this gap in ways it believes best, I must echo the sentiment of so many others who warn about participating in the auction as it indicates yet another (though possibly not immediate) inevitable GREAT loss of Black controlled voice and images in US public media. As our leaders seek options to regain its financial strength and to continue to be the training ground for so many of our pioneers in various fields, it has to look beyond the obvious and immediate options and do what it has taught so many of its own students to do, create your own and work mightily and furiously to maintain it.
There are so many great minds in the HU community, I cannot believe that we can't find a way to address and resolve the underlying root cause of this problem, not just the symptom.

Brent HughesBahughes@gmail.comAlumni

By leasing the spectrum there would be a steady stream of long term income on a "property" that will most likely increase in value.

There is info on the FCC site if anyone is curious.

Between business, engineering and communication I'm sure we can find a solution.

Mark Spradley mark.spradley@mazao.comAlumni

The decision to transfer the WHUT license is a litmus test of fiduciary responsibility. As good stewards of the University's assets, it is imperative that the Administration in unison with the Board of Trustees, ensures that Howard has the financial resources to successfully execute its mission.

While the reality may prove to be more nuanced, the Rule of 72 gives the best insight to the long term justification for transferring the license. Even in a Dutch Auction, it's extremely likely that Howard could net in excess of one hundred million dollars. If $100 million was transferred to the University's endowment, with an assumed annualized rate of return of ten percent, the proceeds from the transfer would double in approximately seven years. By the year 2030, the original $100 million could grow to over $400 million.

The central argument, that needs a more robust debate is, can a billion dollar perpetual pool of assets, ensure that future generations of Howard students, administrators and trustees are less encumbered?

Regarding the student experience, it will be enhanced, starting with the dissipation of the natural tension between students, WHUT management and employees. A mere allocation of ten percent of the proceeds, would allow Howard to pivot the respective programs to new media strategies. In fact, all Howard students could have access to the new facilities, to pursue interdisciplinary interests in developing content for social media, film festivals, cable television and industrial films.

Dr Robinsonhearsayus@hearsayservices.comAlumni

I am in agreement with the university's stance

Dr. Kay T. Paynekpayne@howard.eduFaculty

Auctioning WHUT is a good idea. I am a triple alumna and current faculty at Howard in the School of Communications. Over the years, attempts to recover its financial shortfall have been to the detriment of the University and have failed. These attempts have primarily involved employees. We have endured: (1) reductions to our pension, (2) furloughs, (3) pay reductions, (4) forfeiture of COL raises, (5) at least four rounds of RIFs, (6) reduction of benefits, (7) hiring freezes, (8) spending freezes, (9) forced vacations, (10) phased retirement, (11) enormous tuition increases, etc., etc. The university now operates with a skeleton crew which DOES affect the academic enterprise, as well as employee morale. In effect, the university is starving while sitting on a gold mine! WHUT was a gift to Howard, and is not central to its mission. It is a PBS station that does not generate advertising revenues but must be supported by fundraising efforts. Student internships can be a term of the negotiation. So that's not a strong argument in opposition to the auction.
The bottom line is the University is in dire financial straits. It can no longer bear the budget on the shoulders of employees. We need to put sentimentality aside. If the University goes under, so does WHUT.

Michael Lyle, Jr. Michael.Lyle@quinnipiac.eduAlumni

It is very disappointing to learn that Howard University would even consider engaging in such business. WHUT-TV has been a staple not just in the Greater Washington metropolitan area for decades, but it has served as a place where future journalists can learn the ins and outs of the television industry. I for one got my start with WHUT-TV as an intern, assisting with production on shows such as "Evening Exchange" and a few others. I truly believe the administration should seriously take into consideration the academic aspect of this situation. By taking WHUT-TV off the air simply for financial gain (which to this day befuddles me that a prestigious, private institution of Howard's caliber is undergoing financial difficulties), they would not only be leaving a void in a predominant African-American community in which WHUT-TV has served as a voice, but it would do a disservice to the countless students who have aspirations to become future journalists yet have no TV station of their own to assist them in their pursuits or which they can learn from.

Giselle Johnsonkgisellejohnson@yahoo.comStudent

As not only a student but a School of Communications student, I am disheartened that this is even a discussion. It should be an immediate "no". As many have stated, WHUT is the only black owned public television station in the US. Why would we give that up for money? Yes, Howard is in a financial struggle but I do not believe selling such a renowned piece of property is the way to handle the issue. WHUT has many a time allowed me to film in the space for projects to compete for Student Emmy competitions or hold meetings. I have friends who diligently working to put original shows on air. But, there is some powers above us that is making that impossible. Faculty needs to work with the students. If they were to support our ideas, this "auction" would not even be a debate. Let this be a warning that it is time to listen to the students.


Keep WHUT! We need to keep our legacy ours!


I'm not in favor of HU's participation in the spectrum auction. Free speech has never come easy to African Americans in this country and is becoming a limited resource for all Americans. We should hold to our independence and continue to lift our voices. We should support net neutrality. Giving more spectrum to large wireless companies will sound the death gong for open access to the internet and fair pricing of that access.

Debbie Allenqueen_kong50@yahoo.comAlumni

I am so thankful that our president is a man who engages in full disclosure and and open mic to our
Howard Family. As a board member who is successful in the business of Film and Television, I have
been preaching for years that this is one of our most valuable assets that is sitting like a parked vintage car that everyone loves but nobody drives. I have and will continue to offer my experience
and resources to turn on the engine. If we had the kind of programming that could so uniquely be
created from WHUT we wouldn't be having this conversation. In this age of whirling technology, content is King. Our pointe of view for programming of Documentaries,Talk SHows, Daytime soaps, Hour Dramas and Half hour comedies is a deep well of riches we need to explore.
Yes the technical facility is archaic and yes we need management and yes we need money but we have a diaspora of creative, respected and working professionals actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, lawyers…………we need to galvanize.
Example Phylicia Rashad and I offered over three years ago to host a talk show Night and Day
that would explore politics, cooking, entertainment and gossip. We would come and shoot
right there in the studio. Do a test run of 10 shows and watch it pop. Between us we could attract
interviewees with very high profiles in all walks of like. The answer that came back
"no money to produce it." I offered to produce a telethon that would raise money for student tuitions just needed to hire a local producer, 4K, to secure the talent for a 16 hour marathon to get started. We could shoot form the newly renovated Howard Theater... answer "Silence of the Lambs". Campus life, the Hospital, D.C. " low hanging fruit" for developing programming.
Where are our young newscasters serving up fresh gritty opinions and news about President Obama, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, The Pope, The Middle East, Beyonce……...
All this to say we need to get in the race. WHUT should be a station with programming that speaks a language with global appeal from our POV. Let's not let this possibility slip away.

Shani Mooreshanirm@hotmail.comAlumni

Thank you for your continued support and leadership.

Joyce Broadwaterjoybh20@aol.comAlumni

I am a graduate of the School of Business and I have read thru many of the comments and several of the suggestions. Many of the suggestions could bring about resolution. As the faculty member so earnestly stated, the financial situation is "real." I think the option to lease is a viable option. Also, I think all the Alums need to consider pledging and sending cash to the university to help stop the financial bleeding. How about starting a "crowd funding campaign?" At the end of the day, we have to think outside the box and participate with giving endowment funds, life insurance proceeds to an institution we all love dearly.
With that said, I do not think the university should participate in the FCC's reverse auction, but look into leasing the spectrum.

Will McKinleywillmckinley3@gmail.comHU Community member

WHUT is a great resource for the black community waiting to b uncorked again. I recently won WHUT's My Big Show contest allowing me to air 3 episodes of a series I am producing called "The District" highlighting current affairs in DC via 7 minute documentaries. For a young filmmaker, this was a dream come true. I hope to be the spark this station needs to provide outstanding programming that can educate and change lives. Howard is historically bad at handling money overall (well documented) and changes have to be made in spending and budgeting. Employees need to be held accountable and bad workers need to be let go (HBCUs are famous for ineffective workers, I went to Morgan, my mother was a manager at Hampton). The extra money will not save the University from its financial problems, it will only allow those who are reckless and lazy more time to do more damage.

Beau Whiteedaddy@hotmail.comAlumni

This is what happens when administration begins to dip into the endowment. The president is so-called forced to sell off the campus. They are selling the dorm on Girard Street to pay for the research building on Georgia Avenue and the two new dorms they built last summer. However, the university will not invest in the athletic department but they hire an athletic director who has no prior athletic director experience. It really doesn't make a difference what we think. The president is following protocol. He will sell the campus TV station like its yesterdays newspaper. Why doesn't the university who has the largest African-American art collection besides Hampton a do a valuation on this assets in the basement of the Fine Art Department. The collects is worth $500 million or more.

Danielredbirdproductions.da@gmail.comHU Community member


M'Shai S. Dashmshai.dash@gmail.comHU Community member

After reading through the comments I can see that people on both sides of this issue are passionate about it. I do feel that the university and any entity associated with it, including its hospital and radio station, provide unique platforms for the talented young people who attend or have attended the school. Selling WHUT means, as it often does with selling anything, that the university will likely lose control of a valuable asset in furthering the careers of a portion of its graduates without offering them many alternatives. Perhaps the alumni and others associated with the university can push this issue further along in the press, as there are many Howard graduates who are now public figures.

DJSneakydogsneakydog@sneakydoginc.comHU Community member

Seems like there tying or already selling everything HU..... The Hospital , theatre, dorms the list goes on... How can the board and high up alumni sit by and allow this to happen? Oh I guess there all getting a piece of the sales... #SadState


I do not believe that Howard should sell off WHUT either. As mentioned in an earlier comment, this is one of the only, if not the only, black-owned public TV station. Having WHUT on campus allows School of Communications students to get very valuable training. This training makes them more prepared when going out into the workforce. I myself, did my internship at WHUT. I am pleased to say that I have been blessed to have been able to work in the Communication field for the past 30 yrs.
If leasing is an option, I believe that would be the way to go. Also, if Howard is that cash-tight, they should try to go after our well-off alumni to help with setting up fundraisers for the school.

Mark Spradley mark.spradley@mazao.comAlumni

Howard can eliminate the periodic capital expenditures of operating WMUT and sell programing. For example, Al Jazeera America which nearly two years since its launch is still plagued with low ratings — around 30,000 viewers a night. It needs rebranding. HU could strike a very favorable deal to provide content that rebrands the cable network and expands its viewership.

Easton L Mooreeaston.moore@gmail.comAlumni

Whut on The Selling Block is a shame . This Balck Owned media Should not be sold. What next are we going to sell?. Black folks needsto own our own media. We as black folks have become consumers.. Prior to Integration black folks own the means of production. Selling the Media wont fix HU financial Problems. 1The fix is to be better stewards of our resources. 2. Alumn Contrubuting to Hu on a consistent basis.How long will Half a Billion last? What next ? Sell The Medical School to get More Funds? We must all get together As Alumn and fix the Problem. I cound have gone to any University however I choos Howard for its Legacy and What it Stood for, However, latey what Howard Stand for seems to be on the reverse.We need leaders with Vision, innovation to get this University out of the Financial rut its in. If we continue down this path soon the University will also go on the selling block. What Next ? What is happening in DC will ahppens to Howard too. Folks that owned property In DC sold the property or just walked away and here comes these devolpers buying up the properties building apartments etc and now black folks cant afford to even live in choclate city anymore. I visted the Washington DC recently and was amazed although sad for our folks

Michon Bostonmichon@michonbostongroup.comHU Community member

The options presented in the President's letter are limited and short sighted. The spectrum obviously has value -- real value, otherwise these auctions (yes, there's been more than one) wouldn't happen. We're just beginning to scratch the surface of possibilities in the digital era. What Howard needs is a solid business strategy to produce a steady revenue stream that would benefit both the college and WHUT. After doing a background search, I found a 1994 NY Times article about HU's financial crisis. I found another published in 2014. Same story. If this is HU's on-going saga for 20 years, the solution obviously is not to be found in selling WHUT's spectrum in the reverse auction appraised and sponsored by the FCC. There's no guarantee HU will get the money it's seeking. And no guarantee this will fill the fiscal crater for the university. Put the brakes on this. Get some people in who know the real value of WHUT and have the vision to craft a long-term sustainable business solution.

Sakita H.sakita.holley@hos-pr.comAlumni

I understand the immediate upside to participating in the spectrum auction but due to the historical significance of WHUT, not only to the University but for the country as a whole, I think other fundraising methods/actions should be taken.

Because the spectrum owned by the University is so valuable, why not find ways to leverage WHUT's services more broadly. Someone mentioned leasing it out, which could be a good/lucrative long-term strategy.

Selling off assets can't continue to be the way forward.

Robert J. Woodruffwoodlanham@gmail.comHU Community member

WHUT is a community treasure both in its radio and TV manifestations that is really not the possession of the Howard University trustees. If its nominal ownership is to change it should be in the direction of really "public" broadcasting, shifting the ownership to the city of Washington, D.C. on the premise that it will be overseen by an independent board some of whose members are chosen directly by the wide WHUT community (including one Maryland and Virginia representative) that benefits from the broadcasts.
Just parenthetically, the city has many properties that might be of use to Howard University and could be discussed as a quid pro quo for this transfer.
Woody Woodruff
Lanham, Md.

Tsovinar Nazaryantsovinar.nazaryan@gmail.comAlumni

Howard University stands tall amidst mainstream thought, including education and media flows. It was at Howard University that I learned to think critically and to see how the voices of minorities are hardly reflected in the mainstream media flows mostly controlled by couple of mega corporations. It was at Howard that I learned about the empowering value of alternative fora for undermined groups. If Howard gives up its critical standpoint (this will definitely happen if participating in the auction) who else will be there to give voice to minorities and to resist mainstream propaganda?!
I saw in comments someone saying this is a unique chance to sell the spectrum. Just the opposite! This is a unique chance to protect alternative voices against commercial storms!


I am a two time graduate of Howard. Was planning on sending my daughter there for communications, primarily because of the hands on experience she would have gained at WHUT. Losing WHUT will be a historic and irreplaceable loss to Howard, the viewing community and future students in the field of communications. Howard should not sell its assets. It should LEVERAGE its assets to GROW not dissolve. Everyone knows we are woefully under-represented in this country in the media. We - Howard University and the entire country - need a place to continue to train and develop media content producers.


I would hate to have this historical radio station removed from the public airwaves. Please exercise other options that do not include the auction of this radio station . Is there a capital campaign that could be considered?

Mabel Gilbert Wellsm.wells1@att.netAlumni

I believe that our Historically black University should hold on to precious and hard-earned entities which distinguish us from the ordinary. WHUT stands as a famous and well-managed communication community icon, but more than that, has served our media students well. Yes, that is a mind-blowing amount of money, but not worth giving up a legacy which has served the University and the community well. Anybody can have money, which gets used up in the end. WHUT is a sign of our progress and ability to have something of our own. We won't have the opportunity to get it all back again. Mabel Gilbert Wells, B.A., 1955, MSW 1957

Frank Luncheonfluncheon@yahoo.comAlumni

Our comments are limited because of the complex financial and structural analysis that surrounds Howard’s challenges and this potential opportunity. Examining the benefits of the sale of the spectrum is a worthwhile exercise. This is probably one of the toughest decisions that Howard University will have to make in the short term. Regardless of the decision, it is essential that WHUT, in some form, survive and flourish.
During the spring of 2015, one of the headlines screamed that Sweet Briar College is to close because of insurmountable financial challenges. Howard’s destiny is in our hands. The choices are neither many nor pleasant and many are inherently speculative because of the unknowns.
Nielsen’s Total Audience Report from December 2014 shows that fewer than 3% of US households are exclusively broadband viewers. So there’s a vast majority of the market that still watches TV. Both CBS and HBO will deploy their broadband apps, but strategically will not give up on TV as yet. The point is that WHUT’s viewership will shrink if the spectrum is sold and broadband becomes the only available portal. Netflix is a broadband success but it has a different business model than Howard. Switching the broadcast from UHF to VHF is another option offered through the auction. Will there be sufficient excess cash from the auction to provide for the deployment of WHUT on the VHF band? Equipment will have to be acquired because from what I understand some UHF equipment is not interchangeable with VHF. Also related is the question of whether the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will allow WHUT to keep the digital conversion equipment if WHUT transitions to VHF (and within the reversionary period).
The government as an intermediary between Howard and the private sector does not bode well for obtaining the maximum return.
Some of my other questions if the spectrum is auctioned:
Will there be a specific commitment of resources for the transition to and operations of WHUT in a broadband and/or VHF portal?
Will there be a specific commitment of resources for equivalent instructional opportunities for the School of Communications?
We can only hope that this is not a stop-gap measure but one that will create a long-term fiscal foundation essential to success of the University. At some point there won’t be enough family jewels left to cover continuous deficits.

Frank Luncheonjaynellangel@gmail.comAlumni

More excellent points and questions!!!


Applying the reverse of real options
Main Idea Sale Decisions on WHUT can be treated as an exercise of options. If Howard has an option to sell it need not exercise the option when made available—can wait for a better profit/university benefit. If sale is irreversible there must be an opportunity to determine lost benefit/profit with respect to Howard as a research teaching university. WHUT loss (value of WHUT to the university) can be very large. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the valve of the option must be and the greater the incentive to keep the option open. I would like to see a strategic approach to this potential event
I sure would have the Business School do some work on this activity
Remember we have an endowment: US Government
The Negro people of America... have cut our forests, tilled our fields, built our railroads, fought our battles, and in all of their trials they have manifested a simple faith, a grateful heart, a cheerful spirit, and an undivided loyalty .
Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

Mark Spradley mark.spradley@mazao.comAlumni

The true cost of WHUT nostalgia is quantifiable. The unanswered question is, will it be a $100 million, $200 million or $300 million missed opportunity.

Current and future HU students will benefit more if the license is transferred than if WHUT continues to operate underfunded in a challenging environment.

Osama Amadamadosama@aol.comHU Community member

I urge the university not to sell the TV license. It is a unique progressive station offering serious and meaningful public prospective that is not tarnished by special interest. Please preserve it.

Davynte Pannelld.pannell.contact@gmail.comAlumni

Do Not Participate in the Auction

Demaree J. Barnesgodbewy@gmail.comAlumni

The use and control of the spectrum far out weighs its current value under the FCC Auction Incentive Program. A strategy to sell only means Howard is desperate for money and not looking at a broader and more financially secure action plan. If $461 million is offered and Howard was in the position to receive the bid what is the plan for the funds. Is Howard going to pay-off debt, continue investment in capital projects, invest the funds into the principal portion of its portfolio or a bit of both. Looking at th history of government agencies such as the FCC, one should consider that lightning will strike twice and this opportunity will show itself again as demonstrated by the ever growing global wireless demand.

The Spectrum is worth much more considering the amount of money to use it if not owned by the university and even worse if shared with a partner. To attain massive wealth, one must wait for the right time to buy or sell assets it posses doing so from a position of strength. This opportunity is viable for Howard, but one the university would be engage in from a position of weakness. With the growth of student body, Howard's excellent academic brand and the already impressive focus on building and refurbishing the campus why sell off such a valuable asset now? One day, yes consideration can be made to sell the Spectrum but first a comprehensive strategy for the University must be created that considers all possible revenue streams and of course cost reduction initiatives that in fact as a whole should be in-progress with clear and measurable outcomes. Howard has to be in a long-term strategy mindset and not give away the kitchen sink for a short-term gain. Notwithstanding, maintaining WHUR's broadcasting independence, given the politics of today, means that owning your broadcasting infrastructure is priceless. In case your not sure, my vote is no for Howard to participate in the auction.

Ayanna MackinsAyannamackins@gmail.comAlumni

I think HU should consider selling while the market is high. Technology advances may lead to the spectrum eventually being obsolete or valued less anyway.

Sell, pay off debt, and have a nest egg that's not dependent upon our congressional appropriation.


Wow, these comments are all over the place. This auction potentially provides maximum value for an asset that is likely to diminish in value over time. Assuming for arguments sake that this spectrum would not diminish in value over time, the sale of broadband through an auction still provides a better opportunity to extract value as opposed to selling individually. Said another way, even if the spectrum became more valuable over time, it is unlikely HU selling individually would be able to extract the same value. The cost/benefit analysis becomes even easier if you consider that the station has been operating at a significant loss. Because WHUT will be retained, alternatives for distribution of its content can be explored.

To me WHUT's value is based on the opportunity for learning it provides for students. This value need not be lost. I have not seen viewership numbers, but I suspect that arguments that WHUT is a medium by which pro-black messaging must be disseminated would likely be undercut by lack of viewership. Moreover, WHUT could still have the potential to reach its viewership through alternative means. Honestly, distribution through alternative methods could reintroduce the station to a new generation of viewers.

Unfortunately, most alumni don't look at HU's financial troubles as the existential threat that they are. Howard is far from the fate of some of our fallen sister HBCU's, but financial troubles threaten accreditation which directly impacts the viability of the university. If you think I'm exaggerating, see Morris Brown. This is an opportunity for the University to adapt and to turn a financial drain into a significant resource. I suspect this administration will be hard pressed to pass up on this opportunity. I just hope that as alumni we will understand that our alma mater is adapting out of necessity, and that we support the administration during the process.

Wanda B. Rasheedwbrasheed1@gmail.comAlumni

I do not agree with HU participating in the auction. Yes, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, money should not be the determining factor when considering this important decision. The voice of Howard and the local community needs to continue to be heard.

Mark Spradley mark.spradley@mazao.comAlumni

You have raised an important issue that needs to be address. In fact, transferring the license is the best way to ensure that voices from the African American community are heard. While there's little argument that, "content is king", it takes money to produce the content.

Since its launch, far to few students produced content that was aired on WHUT. If HU uses some of the proceeds to finance quality programing, it can be distributed around the world. Since, our stories appeal to global audiences.

Calvin L. Shinglercshinglerumbrella2@yahoo.comAlumni

It is not the time for Howard University "to fall asleep at the wheel" of destiny. Communication has always been the success behind ideas. Communication streams/spectrums today are more important than ever. Who control corporate and most local communication media/ streams/spectrums? Analyze African Americans' past and current dilemna, "BLACK LIVES MATTER". Who is controlling these messages and perceptions? If we sell the streams permanently I feel it will be an African American global debacle in commuication. This mode of communication should continue to be an avenue for Howard University and affliates perspective messaging. Howard must continue to train professionals, communicate our percepts and concepts in this world of ideas in a 24 hour news cycle.
President Frederick final paragraph explains Howard University's mission unilaterally. Financial stability is very important. Financal forcasting and planning by Howard expert teams must also understand the "story behind the budget/fisical mananement numbers" in their financial perceptions. Howard University School of business is ranked amongst universities on the Forbes top 20 Entrepreneurial Research Universities. Howard Hospital serves the least of them as well as the best in emergencies. We should be creative at Howard University Hospital too and it's deficit spending [another dilemma], are we selling? Who/what is MEDSTAR? Howard University's historical missions are stories behind finances and are essential to our legacy. Howard University has access to many of the best minds globally because Howard has been fatihful to its mission.
Howard has one good investment potential amongst others in their "arsenal"; well planned athletic programs in an athletic competive arena. There are Howardians and others that understands this potential resource and exposure. Howard University Bison Express should be ultra-relevant. These people understand both Howard's dilemma in finances and athletics. And Howard has a 2016 Rhodes Scholar Finalist candidate and athlete whose major is Legal Communication, WOW!
Lastly, Howard must "Do the Right Thing" and "Keep Hope Alive"! The global educational markets are waiting for us to take the lead in the 21 century but we need the right tools, people, risk taker, multi-level decision maker, "out of the box" thinker, reverse auction strategist etc. However, I recognize Howard must think pragmatically; government oversight, market place compettition, deficit spending , reverse auction outcomes, etc. as it relates to financial solvency but faith is not pragmatic it is eternal. Howard has to make an analytical decision. Please include babies not born for they are the leaders of tomorrow!
Finally, The Washington Post newspaper Outlook section, Sunday November 8, 2015, front page and other related articles on the "Baby Boomers" tells a historical, present day and future dilemmas in decision making that must be made to determine solutions. I believe it is a must read for all as we eternalize our course of action in this matter.

Kenya Sumnerkenyamarie.farmer@gmail.comAlumni

HU must operate from a position of power on this. From my understanding, selling the spectrum would give away the power we have to control our media. Utilize the power of WHUT to make it the mecca of original programming on the African American experience. There are a thousand ways to increase funding and this should not be it. Having a strategic focus on increasing alumni donations is far more an important and in the long run, tool to increase revenue.

Robyn Hutsonlondon3w6@yahoo.comStudent

I agree with Ms. Beverly Oliver 100%. There is so much that we can do with the station to produce quality programming. It saddens me that this university is more interested in outsiders investing in us rather than investing in ourselves. There is a shameful disconnect between the administration and the general Howard community. One is submitting to the gentrification of our properties and the other is trying to combat it. Property lasts longer than money and it is more than possible for a university with such talented students and alumni to revamp WHUT into a major source of revenue. There is an entire School of Communications next to the station with bright students and alumni who would be willing to contribute if the administration would make a greater effort to invest in what we already own. It seems as if the Howard administration is more concerned about money than legacy; investors than investing; the temporary than the permanent. And if that is our attitude, in a community that is rapidly being gentrified by people waving big bucks, I am terrified to see what this university will look like in the next several years. Please keep the station. Once it is gone, we won't be able to get it back.

Savant Musasavant.army@gmail.comStudent

Do not sell WHUT. The only option should be to generate long term wealth from WHUT(i.e. leasing spectrum, original programming, etc.), not a short term gain. We must become fiscally responsible. The university needs to do a better job with Alumni relations. That is where we have an untapped pot of wealth that desires to give back to a university. WHUT is just a test to see if you are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain what Howard still owns and can use to help students to become leaders in their field. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Senior history major who graduates May 2016. I will be an alumni who gives back to my beloved institution.

Lyndsae' Peelelpeele2012@yahoo.comStudent

I seriously disagree with considering the auction. WHUT is apart of Howard's legacy. Too much of our history and too many of our traditions have already been compromised for money from poor decision making. Howard has a substantial amount of revenue and it bothers me that we don't know why we are in the predicament that we are currently in. Keep our spectrum, keep our university!

Paul Holstonpaul.holston@bison.howard.eduStudent

I am requesting on behalf of many students in the School Of Communications for President Frederick to schedule an OPEN-forum Town Hall as soon as possible in light of this announcement so that the Howard community can not only understand what has been outlined more easily, but as well as being able to express thoughts, opinions, and further actions affecting the decision for him and his administration to report to Howard University's Board of Trustees. Personally, this consideration should be off the table and the valuable spectrum should stay as Howard property as it is truly the ONLY HBCU licensed public television station in the WORLD (as outlined in WHUTTV website).


Lease....black ownership is key. Howard university is sitting on a gold mine. Lease , don't sell.

Antoinette H. SchoolerAschoo6818@aol.comAlumni

WHUT is one of the most valuable assets of the University. As such, any decisions must be carefully weighed in terms of the University, it's faculty, it's community, and it's students. Please consider an rental or lease agreement that includes as a condition the inclusion of some staff, both working and advisory, of the School of Communication and the inclusion of active training of students where they might learn and express creativity that would result in community and university service. Some part of a university station should be preserved as it is rare that an HBCU be placed In such an advantageous position to teach, provide experience for its staff and students and receive some monetary gain as well as serve the community. I ask that you consult with honorable alumni in areas related to this matter in a forum, also that financial expertise from alumni be requested to protect whatever proceeds result from this action to ensure its being utilized to its best advantage.

Shani Mooreshanirm@hotmail.comAlumni

A more important issue relates to values. Today HUTV provided free broadcast content. If auctioned, those who rely on this free content will lose it. We also lose an important venue to share the African American experience to a broad audience. HUTV provides free quality media content in an age of debauchery.
I believe this is a unique opportunity to make an investment in HUTV by bringing it into the modern age and giving the students and HU community valuable hands on experience during the transformation which will enhance the resumes and future careers of those that participate in the project.
I disagree with comments that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Wireless companies want to purchase spectrum and the appetite will only grow in the near term.

Ean Garrett, J.D.eanmgarrett@yahoo.comAlumni

As a Howard School of Communications Alumni I express deep concern for the vitality of my dear Alma mater. My comments concern the proposed spectrum lease for the Howard University WHUT Radio Station. I have come to my decision after diligent research on the matter. I disagree with the leasing of the WHUT spectrum for a number of reasons. The obvious reason against such action is the historical significance of an independent communications outlet at the premier Black institution of higher learning in America, and in such an important hub for Black thought as Washington, DC. The additional reason is because the valuation of up to $461 million dollars for the Ultra High Frequencies (UHF) that Howard owns, is being dramatically undervalued by any reasonable estimate of its true worth. For example, Sprint's 163 MHz they are considering leasing has been estimated to be worth $20 Billion dollars. Howard University's WHUT has 96 MHz, which is a little over half the amount of Sprints. Add in the fact that the WHUT UHF's are located in one of the most densely populated cities in the country, it is easy to see why the valuation should be much closer to at least $10 Billion dollars and not the $461 Million they are proposing. Also, please consider that the average spectrum lease is 30-years. As a result, I recommend not participating in the auction. If you do participate you risk losing control and being grossly undervalued, and then having to wade in the unsavory result for the next 30 years.

E. G.
Class of 2008

M. Kellykellyathu@yahoo.comAlumni

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I think that a combination of counter-offering to lease the spectrum for a finite number of years and offering "bonds" to alumni for purchase for a number of years might accomplish two sources of revenue for Howard University and a sense of pride and ownership in our alumni. I would be willing to invest in such a venture to maintain the integrity of such a valuable Howard University asset as the spectrum. I imagine that other alumni would as well. On another point, our alumni are many and each could be invited to contribute to a $461 million "WHUT reserve fund" over several years and in doing so enjoy tax benefits. Those in our school of business might draw up some financial options and configurations to present to alumni for consideration. That way Howard would have alumni participation, lease income, and additional alumni income in the "reserve fund" all within Federal guidelines. My thoughts. Kelly

M.Paulette Jones Bell- Imaanmpjonesimaan@gmail.comAlumni

In an age when the media has been co-opted by major corporations and special interest groups, it is more important than ever that Howard University retains control of WHUT public television station. It is a voice that the community trusts. It provides high quality, professional programing which gives the viewer a plethora of relevant information about the world in which we live and most importantly it provides the students the opportunity to get professional experience in all aspects of media production. Howard University has an obligation both to the community and to its students to retain control of the station.


I think WHUT should keep its programs running and expand to create an international channel. My bid is in to start the first Pan African English network based out of Howard University. Let Us Be Creative and Use Our Media Power to Impact the World.

Eboni Priceeboni_price@yahoo.comAlumni

I absolutely disagree with any effort to participate in this auction. As the Mecca of Black institutions in an age of gentrification we must not allow ourselves to be swayed with what seems like an easy way to solve any monetary issues. WHUT is the ONLY Black owned TV station in this country and that is something we need to be proud of and hold onto. Even selling a piece of our pie allows for problems further down the road. We must teach the children of our institution that Black ownership MATTERS. To even think to give away part of our legacy is deplorable and a decision we should not be proud of. If money is the issue alumni outreach and giveback is what efforts need to be put into. After selling the bookstore, to participate in this auction would send the message that we are for sale, that our history is for sale. And that is not a message we can afford to portray.


As some commenters have already remarked, the sale of WHUT should not even be considered for sale. One thing that those who have graduated, or will soon graduate, from an HBCU like Howard University should know is this: Propriety is paramount. Centuries ago, this country was founded on principles, like propriety, which only catered to a certain people (more or less the same standard to this day). Back then, other peoples were either exterminated or enslaved. The enslaved ones had to fight extremely hard for freedom and rights, sick and tired of being "employed" as wage-less minions who laid down America's infrastructure without any acknowledgement. Education was one of those rights that they yearned for, a dream that was deferred/denied ad nauseam. Then, during a post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction, many HBCUs were founded. Howard, established in 1867, has always been a beacon of light during that era and in the subsequent decades. Only recently has gentrification predominated areas that were once part of or closely associated with HU during HU's halcyon days. With this brief-yet-important history lesson broached above, why should we give away a part of our property, our legacy, our vital communications stalwart to the masses, something we fought so hard to get in the first place? Former President James Cheek would be rolling over in his grave the day that his brain child vanished... Our athletic department has been reeling for quite some time. Why don't we get our richer alumni, especially "Dr. Diddy," to donate more of their entertainment money so that we can build a new football and basketball stadium, generate revenue via athletics? Maybe the hemorrhaging hospital should be addressed first, since a large, school-run medical facility is always hard to maintain without additional backing? Who knows. But what I do know is that if we give up WHUT without a fight, what's next, WHUR? Or...will plots of Howard property around campus be deeded to build more condo units instead of more university-centric buildings, dorms? I reiterate: No WHUT auction. No how. No way. Thank you.

Jeff Bjbarn100@yahoo.comAlumni

Although, I have enjoyed the spirited discussion on selling or leasing the WHUT spectrum, I think people are missing the larger point here. Howard needs the money from this auction. We need to remove sentiment and emotion from the discussion. This is not about running Howard as a business; it’s about survival for a school that could cease to be in existence if changes are not made soon. Howard’s number one problem is not mismanagement, or attitudes in the ‘A’ building. It is the fact that Howard is too big and does not have the resources to support 13 schools and colleges, a hospital and a TV station. When I attended Howard in the early 90s, the direct Federal appropriation was about 40 percent of our total budget; today it’s about 25 percent of a budget of around $800 million. Do the math, Howard is dramatically underfunded. Consider that George Washington University has 10 schools and colleges with a much larger budget in excess of $1 billion. Therefore, I strongly back the sale of the spectrum, considering options to partner with another station, and/or moving from UHF to VHF. It’s better for HU to accept 'good' medicine now, rather than wind up in an “academic ER” later.


I support Dr. Frederick's decision, whatever it may be.

Juliet M. Beverlyjuliet.beverly@gmail.comAlumni

I find it highly distressing that Howard University would consider selling valuable spectrum during this crucial time period in technological and societal development in a geographical area that is loosing the context of it's history to tragic stories of gentrification. This is a time when ownership -- from our properties to our frequencies -- will be pivotal in maintaining our legacy and telling our stories through our eyes. Do not give up our bands for money bands. We are creators and innovators. We can find other means of funding.

Johari Rashadjmrashad@verizon.netAlumni

Howard is one of the only universities in Washington, D.C. with its own television station. Working on it has helped hundreds of minority men and women learn the tools of the TV trade. Where would they have ever had that opportunity without WHUT? Where will they get it if the University sells its spectrum? Yes, the money from a sale would help the University--if it's invested safely and wisely this time (unlike our huge loss after a record-breaking endowment fundraising effort several years ago). However, would the money from the sale benefit students majoring in radio, TV and film? Will it hire more faculty? Will it improve infrastructure? Will it pay off all of the University's debt? Are the long-term benefits of not having the station going to cost the school and students in the long term? As much as I know that the University needs money, I don't think the sale of the spectrum is the best way to raise it.

Sheryl RossSheryl.johnsonross@howard.eduFaculty

WHUT is an important part of Howard University's legacy. It's imperative that we save this valuable resource. WHUT has prepared and is preparing some of the most dynamic future leaders and entrepreneurs in the media industry. Let's join together and save this vital resource at Howard University.

Gilbert Browngil_brown@hotmail.comAlumni

Absolutely NOT. The money sure looks Great. But, think about what your losing.
1.) Your voice and perspective. Your and our view on social subjects that still are controlled by those with the power of the media. Television is the easiest means of receiving and disseminating information. Be it true or false. And up until now, the true part of it has not been on our side... Ever. Who else is going to promote our historical perspective on issues about Black Matters if they haven't lived it? No one. Some have tried but the results were tepid. I abhor the recent violent attacks in Paris. But it seems to rise, in part, from racial tensions that exist around the world between the haves and have not. Those with media control and those who can only watch what's given them. Those who say they speak the truth and those without a voice. We can not give up the power and opportunity that the tv spectrum offers. Because it is the opportunity to reach that goal of balancing truth and justice. That ever elusive even playing field.
2.) TV spectrum is a voice to dispel the many myths about a nation. Myths perpetuated by the media. "Birth of a Nation" didn't do it.
3.) HU could bring in other local colleges like Galludet, etc. to channel-share our tv broadcast programming to mitigate operating costs.
4.) At any rate, HU should identify the competing bidders and learn what they have to gain. Note, our PBS signal lies directly between WETA the flagship and production headquarters in Arlington, VA and MPT in Owings Mill, MD. That's a straight line connection!!!
5.) If participating, the Reverse bid process reduces the price each time it is bid on. Down to what? Be able to get out.
6.) Lets not put a price on our continual struggle to gain parity, which we know we already have...and more. WHUT is still the first and only PBS member station that is licensed and operated by an Afro American institution. Lets keep that beacon shining bright for all to see.

Vincent S Williamsvincent.s.williams@gmail.comAlumni

Selling the spectrum would be the single worst decision that could be made with regards to the television station and the University as a whole. a two-time alone of the School of Communications and a professional in the media and entertainment industry, I feel like they are only two possible options for University. The first option is to is to develop the coursework of the film/television program(s) to create content for WHUT and to partner with content creators for programming to generate revenue through the station. The second option is to lease part of the spectrum to a wireless provider for consistent revenue to the University. Or do a mixture of both. But selling this asset on a market where it will ultimately decrease its value with each continuing round is fiscally irresponsible. Many other commentators have said as much in their comments.

Wireless companies will always need more bandwidth. Leasing the spectrum can help both University and any particular wireless company while maintaining the value of said spectrum as an asset to the University. Selling it will only be a short term fix. Why sell a property when its rental will consistently be in high demand? However the greatest value of the station is that is a portal to many different means of generating revenue from content creation. WHUT is, effectively, a distributor with a connection to a national distribution network and the ability to partner with other distribution outlets and, therefore, create multiple streams of revenue generation. The sale of the spectrum could generate revenue for the University. Yet once that asset is gone, holding onto the station has very little value because the University will need to partner with a distributor as opposed to being a distributor that can have greater equity with any potential partners. Ultimately there's more to gain from holding on to the station and, at worst, leasing its spectrum than to sell any or all of it. It has value that has yet to be fully realized. And once it's gone, nothing of its kind will or can replace it. - VSW