Ethnic radio programs in jeopardy on Struthers station

By jeanne starmack


As the Struthers school board ponders whether to sell the license for its radio station, the fate of WKTL’s Saturday ethnic programs is hanging in the balance.

At the board’s meeting earlier this month, a license broker from Patrick Communications addressed it about searching for a buyer.

Schools superintendent Robert Rostan said Tuesday it appears as if the school district could make between $300,000 and $400,000 in the sale.

Rostan said the board does not yet know what it will do.

“We have to look into how it serves the school district,” he said, pointing out that the district no longer offers a class in radio since the recent retirement of the teacher who taught it.

As radio became an outdated technology, not as many students opted to take Struthers’ class.

Rostan said there are no longer instructors available.

But, he said, he’s gotten emails and calls from people who don’t want to give up their Saturday programs.

Beginning at 8 a.m. with the Big Band Show, programming continues all day. Shows featuring ethnic music and culture include the Irish Show, German Show, Souvenirs of Hungary, the Latino Show, the Italian Show, the Polka Jukebox, the Tamburitzan Show, the Ukrainian Show and the Slovak Show.

Tibor Check, who hosts Souvenirs of Hungary at noon, told The Vindicator he hopes there would be a way to save the programming if the license is sold.

“Could they write something into the contract to whoever buys it to let us have that time slot?” he said.

Rostan said he doesn’t know if that’s possible.

“My understanding is, you can request leaving the ethnic programming in, but that’s up to the buyer,” he said.

Air time is free on the station, and it has been an important publicity venue for the Youngstown area’s ethnic clubs and churches, Check said.

“It’s the only way they can get news out,” he said. “The station is serving an important purpose for the community.”

The Summit of Akron programs rock music on WKTL, which is 90.7 FM, during the week, Rostan said.

He said the Summit has expressed an interest in buying the license.

He also said there have been discussions with Youngstown State University.

“But we don’t know if there is serious interest,” he added.

He said that Patrick Communications, which is based in Maryland, would solicit bids for the license in a process that would take eight to 10 months. The company would receive a 10 percent commission.

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