by Jacob Millay
Whitworth.fm has been a consistent part of Whitworth’s campus for many years. It originally started as a traditional radio studio, broadcasting at 90.3 under the name KWRS. However, in 2010 Whitworth.fm switched from a traditional broadcast to an online broadcast at www.whitworth.fm.
The station is entirely student led, from the general manager to the show hosts. This layout gives the station a lot of flexibility. Each year can have an entirely new staff, so the content can be varied from year to year.
This year, senior Danny Parker has taken over the helm as general manager of Whitworth.fm. He has already made a substantial number of changes to the station, and plans for more changes that are underway as the station grows and evolves.
“The station has been struggling since we went off the airwaves,” Parker said. “No one knew what a internet-only radio station really looked like at Whitworth.”
Parker said that in the past Whitworth.fm has tried to emulate what other college radio stations are doing, but it hasn’t yielded the same results.
So Parker and the rest of the Whitworth.fm team are trying to approach the station with a new direction. This year they have a new, revamped website designed by junior Alec Moore; improvements in the radio booth and they have even created a brand-new position this year called the Public Relations Manager, who is responsible for getting people involved and excited about the radio station. That position is held by sophomore Taylor Oddino.
Along with these structural changes, they have also created a new logo with the new direction for the studio. The logo features the stylized figure of a person with a radio for a head, superimposed over an out-of-focus background in neutral tones with hints of hot pink. “W.FM,” is emblazoned across the image.
“It is really just a re-imagining for the whole station to show that the student is the radio station,” Parker said about the new logo.
With this new ideal of students being more involved, Parker said that anyone who wants to help out at the station can. While the roles may be different than simply hosting a show, student involvement is key to the success of the show.
Students could help run events, make playlists for the air, suggest songs to the station, help in the public relations sphere, or even cohost show. A student who wants to host a show alone does have to be enrolled in the radio class, which meets on Tuesdays from 5-5:40 p.m. in the ABC Conference Room, upstairs in the HUB. Anyone can come to the class and participate, even without being enrolled in the class.
“Live shows are the lifeblood of Whitworth.fm,” Parker said, “but we need things to fill in the gaps, and prerecorded shows and music playlists help to make the station great to listen no matter what time it is.”
Another step that Whitworth.fm is trying to make is getting the radio into high traffic areas around campus. Mind & Hearth, the cafeteria and the Multi Purpose Room would be good fits for Whitworth.fm, Parker said.
“We have an audience that is right next to us that we cannot get to right now. Part of the beauty of radio is you never know who is listening to your show, and that was very present when the station was on the airwaves. But with internet radio, you can look over and see that you only have four people listening to your show,” Parker said.
“If we can broadcast around campus, suddenly you don’t know who is listening to you anymore, and that is very exciting,” Parker said.
On Wednesday, Sept. 24, ASWU granted Whitworth.fm the money required to make the station play in the cafeteria, the coffee shop and the MPR. There are also possible plans to try to broadcast the station in the lounges of the dorms around campus at certain times of the day as well.