Student-Produced Radio Station Viable?


In the day and age of online music streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, sites that tailor music to the interests and tastes of the individual, there remains one question for the pocket-music moguls of our modern day: what about radio?

Some might become concerned for the medium, but a closer look at college campuses tells a different story.

Surrounding Wilson, there are close to thirty radio stations in operation by various colleges including Dickinson, Millersville and Shippensburg University.

“It’s practical. [Student radio] gives students the opportunity to go into a simulated environment but to actually use some of the technology they’re going to use when they get out in the real world,” notes Dr. JZ Long, Assistant Professor of Communications at Wilson. “It provides a college, especially a small one like this, a sense of community.”

In 1946, Wilson had a radio station that remained in operation until the late 70’s before a lack of interest and membership caused it to terminate.

Recently, with increasing enrollment, a revival could be imminent. A survey conducted by members of the Communications Department showed that of 111 respondents, 51% showed potential interest in hosting their own 1-hour radio show.

“A lot of communications students want to go into broadcasting. So to have the opportunity to work at a radio station would be huge,” says Kayla Vickers ‘17, a communications major and sophomore at Wilson. “I think having another media outlet would be a really big benefit the outside community would be able to hear.”

Of course, with the power of publicity comes responsibility, and the Federal Communications Commission maintains a list of regulations when it comes to radio broadcasting, some of which require expensive equipment. The Dickinson College station’s recent renovation costs a little under $34,000—enough to put another student on the roster for a year.

An internet radio station, however, might be the perfect solution.

“I think in the short term the internet technology has fewer regulations and is less of a learning curve. If it isn’t popular, if we find that not enough people are listening to it, it is easier to tweak,” Long points out.

Perhaps as the community grows and the strain on participation Wilson has experienced in the past lessens, the return to radio broadcasting maybe possible.


Leave a Reply