Sarasota's Own Community Radio

Studio: (941) 954-8636
Office: (941) 894-6469
Tickets (24/7): (800) 838-3006

WSLR History

In 2000, five non-profit groups filed applications for low power frequency 96.5 during the FCC’s four day window.

In 2003, Bo Bentele and Sarah Kell, acting on behalf of the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) negotiated a settlement agreement with David Beaton, acting on behalf of the Gulf Coast Sanctuary. In this agreement, the Gulf Coast Sanctuary agreed to withdraw their application in exchange for creation of a governing Board that would consist of community members and student representatives. This settlement agreement allowed the NCSA application to prevail.

In February 2004, the NCSA was awarded a construction permit for a low power station.

An interim board was established consisting of community representatives David Beaton, Robert Salzberg, Darlene Sparks, Jason Boehk and Arlene Sweeting and New College representatives Bo Bentele, Sarah Kell, Rebecca Nelson (NCF) and David Bryant (head of Alumni Assn). It was agreed that we would form a new 501c3 organization, WSLR, and that the WSLR board would be the governing board for the station.

The board met for a year and a half establishing bylaws and procedures by which the station would be governed and raising money to get the station on the air. The bylaws approved on 10/20/2004 called for a simple majority of the Board seats to be reserved for New College affiliates – students, alumni, faculty or staff.

WSLR applied for and received 501c3 status in June 2005. Until we were formally recognized as a 501c3, the New College Foundation set up a Radio Fund where people could make tax-deductible contributions to the station.

Bo Bentele formed a Radio Club on campus to generate interest in the station. The relationship of New College Radio Club and the station continued to be discussed. At no time was anyone officially connected with the NCSA on the governing board. The NCSA was approached and did fund several purchases for the New College Studio. These purchases have since been reclaimed for use by student bands.

At the end of July 2005, Prometheus Radio sent three technical people down from Philadelphia to help us get the station on the air. With the help of 20 volunteers, the studio and the transmission site were constructed in one weekend.

In August 2005, WSLR tested their first live broadcast and filed for a license to cover.

From August 2005 – May 2006, we ran two studios – one at New College and one at Royal Palm. Due to technical issues and lack of consistency and New College concerns with community members coming on campus late at night, this studio was shut down and New College students became one with community members in operating out of the same studio. We also eliminated specific slots for New College students in the programming schedule; opening up any slot for them. Because of the elimination of the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mindset, the requirement that a majority of the Board be New College Representatives was also dropped.

October 2009 – The New College student body voted to transfer the station license to WSLR, Inc. An ‘unofficial’ license transfer ceremony was held at New College to complete the paperwork and the application was filed online with the FCC. An agreement was reached between the station and the New College students, whereby students would retain a seat on the WSLR Board and on the programming committee; the station would continue to offer student internships; and the station would remain in geographical proximity to the college. The FCC approved the license transfer in February 2011.

In October 2011 WSLR moved into its new digs at 525 Kumquat Court in downtown Sarasota.