Saddled by a debt of several hundred dollars, the Crimson Network apparently has only one plausible opportunity for expanding its facilities and improving its programs--advertising. Advertising revenues could buy new equipment, extend transmission to the Yard, and link Harvard's airwaves with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. Through the IBS, Harvard could exchange the best of its Glee Club, Debating Council, Guardian Forums and similar organizational programs for those of other Eastern Colleges.
Harvard's over-all ten per cent budget cut closes the door on any possible grant from the University itself, such as the Dartmouth and Columbia radio stations have received. The possibility of finding an airwave "angel" who would be willing to produce some ready cash has proved equally remote. Therefore, the only likely alternative source of funds appears to be advertising.
As originally set up, the Network was to have no sponsored programs, but like other stations established with the same ideal (WQXR, for example), the necessity for paying operating costs triumphed over the primary motive. The University originally disapproved of advertising for several reasons. It feared possible taxation by the City of Cambridge because of the commercialization of University facilities. Such an argument has not been borne out by the experiences of other colleges. Furthermore, the Network, not the University, would receive the income from advertising contracts, and the University, of course, should not be taxed for funds it never received.
Traditionally, Harvard has opposed the use of its name for private profit of any kind. Yet this stand is inconsistent, for Harvard publications have always been permitted to support themselves on advertising revenue. Also, the H.A.A. now has its eye out for a sponsor for next year's football game broadcasts--something new under the Harvard sun.
Finally, it is argued that advertising blurbs on the Network would spoil its unique appeal, that "The Nine O'clock Jump" would develop into as nauseating a session as the 920 Club. But it can be assumed that the Network would limit its advertising doses to accord with Harvard tastes.
At the present time, Harvard and Swarthmore are the only stations out of 18 in the East without advertising. The Crimson Network today has an excellent transmission system, limited only by lack of funds. It would be necessary for the Network to accept only enough advertisements to pay its debts and operating expenses, which would amount to only a fraction of its broadcasting time. Already a considerable number of national advertisers are known to be cager to pay for programs on Harvard's station. The only thing that is needed, then, is a green light from the Administration.