Judge clears way for St. Olaf to use some WCAL donations

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Rice County Judge Gerald Wolf has lifted some, but not all, of the restrictions on donations given originally to fund St. Olaf College's radio station WCAL, which the college sold to Minnesota Public Radio in 2004.

The sale angered some donors, who objected to the college using money donated for the radio station.

In his order, the judge outlined how the college could use the donations.

Under the order, according to St. Olaf's Steve Blodgett, the school can still use many of the funds for similar programming on the Web, including live Web broadcasts of daily chapel and worship services and recording and producing the "Sing for Joy" program.

While the judge acknowledged in his report that the sale of WCAL was not at issue in this case, he issued a sharp rebuke of the attorney general's office for not trying to block the sale.

Blodgett says the school just wants to move on.

"His discussion of that was not, as the judge himself pointed out, pertinent to the petition at hand," Blodgett said. "So in that sense we choose to focus on his actual ruling, which was to go ahead and begin to allow St. Olaf to apply the funds for a very productive purpose."

After purchasing the station, Minnesota Public Radio reformatted the station into The Current. MPR was not a party to the case, and some legal sources say it is highly unlikely that a court would consider reversing a good faith sale that occurred four years ago.