WMUC isn’t going anywhere

Campus radio station WMUC 88.1 FM is not down for the count. Monday’s cover story outlined the challenges we face, but Tuesday’s editorial cartoon, showing agents marked “WYPR” and “RIAA” trampling WMUC, suggested we have already given up.

It could not have been more wrong, and on several counts. First, WYPR is a National Public Radio affiliate, and NPR is one of the strongest opposing voices against the Recording Industry Association of America’s webcasting royalties proposal. Read the press release at www.npr.org. Second, the battle over the proposed rate increases is far from over, and what impact it would have on smaller, non-commercial webcasters such as WMUC is still unclear. Lastly, WYPR’s proposed signal boost will not obliterate WMUC. Again, it might shrink our coverage, but it will not blow us off the air.

Yes, WMUC is part of a dying breed and is the last station of its kind in the Washington area. It is indeed a true college FM radio station – student-run, free-form and non-commercial – and we are fighting to keep it that way. We are not about to let it simply sign off and go quietly into the night.

We invite you all to tune in and check out firsthand what we are fighting for: The music you do not hear on corporate radio, the sports you will not see on ESPN and the best personalities you will find anywhere on the campus.

Drop by the station and see what we are about: We have dance parties Monday nights, live music in our studio Sundays and programming throughout the week that caters to nearly every taste. Forget NPR and the commercial networks – this is what real freeform college radio sounds like.

So take pride, Maryland, because your campus radio station never sold out, faded out or bottomed out, and it stayed true to its spirit all along. WMUC has been on the air and going strong since 1937, and we are not going away.

Scott MaxwellOperation managerWMUC

The efforts of American publishers

Your March 28 article, “Legislation lowering book prices slow to pass,” failed to point out what publishers are already doing to address student concerns about the cost of textbooks.

Contrary to the article, publishers are not opposed to transparency in the industry. Information on changes between editions is listed in the preface of textbooks and, increasingly, online at publishers’ websites. Pricing information is also readily available to faculty through the Internet or a publisher’s marketing representative.

Additionally, publishers understand that the cost of college is an issue. That’s why they provide a range of learning materials from which faculty can choose. For example, there are 216 introductory psychology titles currently on sale in college bookstores around the country at retail prices ranging from about $25 to $120. Also, publishers offer a variety of lower-cost options including split editions, electronic books, black-and-white editions, custom books and abbreviated editions. These alternatives and a new and expanding range of technologies are helping more students pass their courses, stay in school and graduate sooner, saving students time and money while improving their success rates.

Textbook costs account for an average of less than 5 percent of direct higher education costs. According to the independent research service Student Monitor, the average college student spent $644 on textbooks during the 2005-2006 academic year, a cost that has remained generally steady for the past three years.

As the cost of higher education continues to escalate, today’s college textbooks may be among the best long-term investments a student can make.

Stacy SkellyAssociate director for higher educationAssociation of American Publishers

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