WVKC is trying to rewrite the definition of radio and bring it to a younger audience. By broadcasting the shows on an online stream instead of the FM channels, the station sees an opportunity to expand its reach and bring the format back to life. Senior Kyle Hall and Senior Emma Lister think that with a newly established formula, this could all be possible.
To keep the radio relevant, the radio squad has a few goals this year. The most important thing on their mind is getting new students into the booth and having shows. However, these positions are not exclusive to the upperclassmen. “We want to have a constantly changing rotation of student DJs, specifically we want to go for the first years,” said Hall. “Emma and I are both seniors and one thing we know for sure is that we want a lot of incoming freshman as the DJS so we can make sure that it’s scaffolded and supported for next year.”
The first step in completing this task is getting the WVKC name out there. As it stands, the group is concerned they aren’t known on campus and want to change this outlook. The current plan is to try and couple with other areas of the campus, including student organizations and faculty. “I think we’d like to try collaborating with other media groups on campus like TKS or Catch to get WVKC involved,” said Hall. “If, for example, Catch is trying to do an audio portion or a mixtape, we’d like to get our DJs more involved with things like that. Another goal for the year, and I say this every year and every year it doesn’t materialize, but we want to be broadcasted in the Caf and in the Taylor lounge. I don’t think we’ll make it in the Gizmo, but those would be two huge things.”
When asked how WVKC planned to keep the radio alive and relevant, Hall responded, “We went off the air in 2012 when our FM signal was sold, because HD radio was said to be the future. Our listeners dropped when we went off the FM signal, but we were given full 24/7 online streaming. There was this divide that WVKC is not a real radio station, and the question we give to them is, ‘Who is actually listening to FM radio?’” Hall said.
“It’s the age we live in,” continued Lister. “It was totally different when you had to buy CDs, buy records, tune into the radio to listen for that DJ to come on and play all those songs that you love, but when you can stream it and just point and click to play any song you want. It is a challenge, but as Kyle said there are strengths in what we’re doing now.”
In order to understand some of the missteps the station has taken in recent years, Hall talked about the overly ambitious goals set by many members of the staff. “Every staff member has come in here, every general manager has come in here thinking, ‘I’m gonna save the radio station,’” said Hall. “Then they realize that that’s a task too large for one person,. It has to happen organically.”
Despite all the goals and determination, the current state of the station is still in question. The current number of listeners and hosts for the show is rising, but if the station is to remain afloat, it will have to push its limits. “I think we’re gonna do some awesome things this term,” said Hall. “I think people are already getting interested in having shows and we have a staff that’s fully committed to getting people up here.”
“There’s nowhere else on campus like this,” continued Lister. “I don’t know what they’re gonna decide to take away or give us next but, as speaking to the radio station as like a space, I think the space belongs to the students and that shouldn’t be taken away.”
As with any student organization on campus, the biggest challenge for longevity is keeping the club going once the already established members have left. In terms of WVKC, the group remains ever confident in the upcoming talent.
“There’s the two of us and Carmen, working on staff, but the other three students will be here for two more years at least, and they seem, at least what I gained from our meeting today, really fascinated with the possibilities of the radio station and their brainstorming ideas were things that I definitely wouldn’t have thought of,” continued Lister. “It’s definitely important to have new blood, and to keep them feeling that they can make a difference and to keep them feeling enthusiastic. But they’re all very capable. I’m very impressed.”