COMMENTARY: Herald editorial about CAB unfair

Cecelia Satterly

As concert chair for WKU’s Campus Activities Board, I would like to correct a few things about the October 5 editorial titled “Pump up the Volume: Student input should help decide choices for campus concerts.”

For starters, CAB has always valued student input. Students are welcome to join CAB, which meets every other Tuesday on the fourth floor of DUC at 7:30 p.m., to share their ideas.

The argument that CAB should bring artists, such as Justin Bieber, because “preteens from all over the state would rush to see him,” was a senseless comment. While we do appreciate non-students coming to our events, we will never put on a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar event to serve preteens from around the state; we aim to serve WKU students because they are the ones funding our events, much like events sponsored by other student organizations.

While we understand that artists such as Usher and Beyonce would be huge hits because they “transcend genres,” we simply cannot afford artists of this caliber at this time.

Teaming up with SGA and the Alumni Association would not help CAB get anywhere near the booking price of these types of artists. CAB has explored similar avenues.

I would also like to address the fact that CAB was not responsible for the Montgomery Gentry, Eve or Lloyd concerts, as was implied. Also, in response to comments about bringing particular artists, CAB hosted Jason Mraz on campus in 2007, an event that was poorly attended due to lack of advertising under a different leadership team and adviser.

Our current vice president of public relations has definitely surpassed old standards by extending advertising into more popular media such as radio and TV.

Since becoming concert chair last September, I have aimed to diversify concerts to appeal to multiple audiences within our student body. Last year’s Homecoming concert featured Day 26 and Keri Hilson. At MASTER Plan this year, CAB teamed up with Housing and Residence Life to bring the a cappella group, Sonos, and the rock band, SafetySuit.

This year’s Homecoming concert will feature two country artists: Josh Turner and Brantley Gilbert. We are also currently working on a multi-genre event for Christmas.

While I recognize that the majority of Homecoming concerts have been country, there is something I feel students should know.

Concerts are the biggest portion of CAB’s budget. If a concert doesn’t have a decent return in ticket sales, programming in multicultural events, special events, film, lecture, late-night novelty and concerts take a dramatic cut. This is a major reason why CAB’s most expensive concert of the year is usually country; it does exceptionally better than other genres.

The planning of a Homecoming concert comes down to what sells and what does not. Gambling with student money, especially when some concerts cost about one-third of CAB’s budget, is not something that CAB, the CAB adviser, Kenneth Johnson, or myself take lightly.

This commentary doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Herald or the university.