Howard Could Sell Nation’s Only Black-Owned Public Broadcasting Station

WASHINGTON — There is only one black-owned Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) in America, and it could soon be sold.

Howard University Television, or WHUT, is reportedly part of a possible auction courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission. If the University decides to sell, the station and an unused affiliate station are expected to fetch somewhere between $185 million and $500 million.

University president Wayne A.I. Frederick issued a statement on the possible sale, per Rollingout.

“Howard University must consider the significant financial opportunity presented with the Spectrum Auction. At the same time, we will consider the value that WHUT adds to the experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty of our School of Communications and College of Engineering, and the program and public service opportunities we provide to WHUT through our loyal viewers.”

The station, which is channel 32, has been the nation’s only black-owned PBS in the country for more than 35 years, Rollingout says, and it reaches more than 2 million households in the Washington area. It went on air on Nov. 17, 1980 as WHMM and received considerable attention as the only PBS licensed to a predominantly African-American institution.

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