By Jill Gosche, email@example.com
Two Heidelberg College trustees are helping transfer ownership of WTTF to the college, with the radio facility to be on campus within a year.
Donors Doug Stephan and Tony Paradiso are in the process of giving Tiffin's 500-watt AM station, 1600 WTTF, to Heidelberg, and at least 50 people gathered Friday afternoon in Herbster Chapel to hear about the gift.
"We love this place. We love Tiffin," Paradiso said. "We love the community."
David Weininger, Heidelberg's dean and vice president for academic affairs, said officials won't take their next steps until they are ready, and they are talking about the process taking three to five years before Heidelberg actually owns the station.
"It's going to have to look right and feel right," he said.
Officials are working with BAS Broadcasting in Fremont. After the press conference, Tom Klein, co-owner and chief executive officer of BAS Broadcasting, said his company purchased the station from Clear Channel Communications Inc. and immediately sold it to Stephan's company.
The Federal Communications Commission Web site lists a voluntary assignment of license from BAS Broadcasting Inc. to Tiffin Broadcasting LLC July 7.
Klein said his company has been running WTTF since February and will continue to run it with other stations in Ohio for the duration of the lease marketing agreement.
"Doug and BAS (have) had a long-standing relationship," he said.
Heidelberg was the first place where Stephan, who has a national talk radio show called "Doug Stephan's Good Day," was on the air.
Stephan said he came to Heidelberg in 1964 with a New England accent. He went to WHCR - known as "Heidelberg College Radio" - and learned he had to lose his accent.
Later, Stephan got a job working for WTTF for less than $2 an hour and had a country-western show. He said he didn't use his real name because he didn't want people to know he was the radio announcer. He said he was terrible.
"In those days, you could be terrible and learn and grow," he said.
Stephan said now, few places exist for people to do poorly.
Most on-air personalities worked hard to get where they are, but not many training experiences are available, he said.
Stephan said officials are trying to develop a curriculum that would teach students lessons they can get in only a few places around the country. A person could count on one hand the number of schools that offer broadcasting management and programming opportunities, he said.
"We want to get in on that," he said.
Stephan said the programming for the station hasn't been decided, although it will be more local than it is now. The college will own the station, but it will be identified as a community radio station, he said.
Weininger said the college has WHEI FM and Channel 10, and the current media major focuses on production. The station could bring the addition of a media management major and could mean new staff positions, he said.
"I think we need to think of this as a process we're involved in," he said.
Senior Cassie Klebowski said the acquisition of the station is a great opportunity for students wanting to get involved in the industry.
"I'm jealous already because we're graduating, and this is such a great opportunity," said Klebowski, a public relations major. "I would love to have this major."
Students said the radio station, 88.9 FM, allows them creative freedom and the ability to promote activities happening on campus, and the acquisition of the station is a great way for them to further market sports on campus.