Radio Station's Proposed Move Is Turned Down

Posted: April 30, 1989

Glassboro State College has rejected a Vineland AM radio station's proposal to rent space for a new studio on campus, following objections from students and faculty.

Gus Cawley, owner of station WWBZ-AM - which closed before any agreement was reached - had asked to rent studio space at the college.

The closing, which was a surprise to the station's employees, and the move to relocate to the college raised questions at the college's campus radio station, WGLS-FM.

"We heard rumors about this," said WGLS program director Tadd Kozeniewski. "It just kind of makes us wonder that nobody told us about it. You'd think we would have had some input if another station was going to come in here."

Had it moved to Glassboro, WWBZ would have been Gloucester County's first commercial radio station.

Chris Dickerman, head of the college's community relations department, said on Monday that college president Herman James had decided last weekend to reject the station's request that the school rent studio room to WWBZ.

"We just didn't feel it was the right thing to do when we had our own station on campus," Dickerman said. "It would have been counterproductive to our academic program."

Dickerman said his office received unfavorable calls from students and faculty about the radio station's using campus space.

"Student and faculty members called to say they're concerned about this guy," Dickerman said. "There were concerns that we already have one station. We don't need another one. And some people think maybe (Cawley) is just looking for cheap labor from the students."

Kozeniewski, however, didn't express those concerns.

"We don't see any threat to us at all," he said. "We cater to high school and college kids with music. His format is talk shows and news.

"Yes, he might take students for hire; we're all volunteers here. But we welcome the competition. We feel we have a very good staff and a very good product."

Kozeniewski said WGLS was staffed with about 100 volunteers, many of whom earn class credit for working at the station.

WWBZ, a fixture in Vineland for 47 years, closed suddenly April 18, when co-anchors Charles Kramer and Mike Baldini were told after they had reported to work not to go on. Kramer and Baldini said they had been prepared to open with the morning news when they were told the station no longer was on the air. They said they were given no reason for the closing.

On April 13, five days before his station closed, Cawley met with Robert Collard, assistant vice president for administration at the college, and toured possible facilities for a new studio on campus. Collard said Cawley submitted a proposal to rent 2,000 square feet in Oak Hall, which now houses the admissions office. Collard said the proposal called for a one-year lease, at $500 per month.

Cawley had been planning to relocate his studio for some time, said several of his employees. In February, he advertised for workers to join the station before a planned move to Gloucester County. However, one employee, who asked not to be named, said: "He had trouble keeping employees. Four people left in (one month), and his sales force was down."

Cawley could not be reached for comment. His wife, Margaret, reached at her home in New York, said he was on business in Florida. She declined to comment about the radio station.

Cawley has owned the station for nearly three years and was planning the move to increase the station's coverage area, Kramer said.

On April 6, according to the FCC licensing division, he was granted FCC approval to increase his tower transmission to 5,000 watts. He was operating at 1,000 watts, according to station engineer David Schmidt. At 5,000 watts, Schmidt said, "it would be one of the biggest stations in the area." The station would have covered much of Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Atlantic, Cape May and Burlington Counties.

The station does not need FCC permission to close temporarily. FCC attorney Vicki McCauley said that a station may close for 30 days without notifying the FCC but that it needs permission to shut down longer than that, "if (the owner) ever wants to have a license again."

Cawley also would need FCC permission to relocate his studio to Glassboro. The FCC has not received an application for relocating the studio, a clerk at the division said.

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