The number is 468-1377. These digits were once plastered all over campus. Call this number now and you’ll receive a short static noise followed by the phone disconnecting. And upon tuning to 91.3, you’ll hear the same recording of music that was being played over the air last year.So what’s the deal? Has what was once such a popular media outlet for students now become the past?
At one point in the ’80s, students were filling the airwaves and a well-known magazine called “Boston Rock” ranked IUV the fourth best independent station in the northeast, positioned right behind Yale, Lafayette, and EQX, former station advisor Bob Gershon explains.
So why are we listening to recorded programs now? Sources say there are a couple factors currently working against WIUV.
First of all, there is the environmental factor. The basement of Haskell (home of WIUV), flooded this past summer, so students can’t get to the grimy old station for new shows yet, and due to renovations at the new station in the Campus Center, the ribbon has yet to be cut.
Tammy Lattuca, club program advisor, explains that the station kick-off is currently being held-up by an engineer who needs to come and move the old transmitter cable from Haskell to the Campus Center.
“We’re trying to get everything up and running by the week of the (Sept.) 28th, but that’s not 100 percent, that’s what we hope,” she said last week.
Thus far, the Student Government Association has poured big money into the new project to the tune of $22,000. The college has also contributed funds for the new radio station.
Upgrades have been made to the electronics and the new station now consists of an office, studio and production room. Lattuca hopes this clean, upbeat environment will entice more students to get involved.
Once open, students will have access to these rooms 24 hours a day and a radio production class will be run from the station.
Another contributing factor to the inactivity is the issue of who is in charge and what exactly their role at IUV is. Despite being chair of the communication department, professor Bob Gershon knows little about the station’s status. Why? WIUV is supposed to be a student run entity, funded by the Student Association. Gershon has been the station advisor for the past 30 years and has seen IUV booming. He has seen alums get their start at IUV and go on to great broadcasting jobs including even announcing NASCAR.
“Currently, this is the first time in 30 years a student hasn’t come forward and wanted to be the station manager,” Gershon said.
A college radio station can solely be run to pump out music that students see fit, or it can be run similar to hit stations running for profit, Gershon explains. One thing is for sure, WIUV has help on its side.
Gershon said that music companies want to hear from the station to know college students’ likes and dislikes. This helps out in the content department and in the personnel department, local radio personality Jack Healey has been tabbed as the new advisor.
The role of advising is part of his “rent.” Healey is currently running an Internet sports talk show every weekday out of the Campus Center from 7-9 a.m.
“I’ll be willing to do the programming if that’s what the students want to do, I’m just not really clear on what my role is,” Healey said.
The only issue that both Gershon and Healey have with IUV, is that nothing seems to really be spelled out for the advisors on what the role is for the station.
However, Gershon is convinced that “once we get started again, the new facility, which is so visible and put together nicely, will entice students to join. Unfortunately, it might be too late for the arriving students this year.”
After interviewing a handful of students, the general consensus was optimistic. Students want the station to host or promote more concerts and get on a schedule for playing music that satisfies all likes.
“Most importantly, I just want hits to start pumping out of the Campus Center,” Catherine Dow, a CSC junior explains.
SGA President Justin Garritt is pleading for volunteers.
“We need dedicated and enthusiastic leaders that would be willing to step up to the plate and run the radio station. We have numerous managerial positions that need to be filled and we need students . it would be fun, a great resume builder, and overall a great experience,” he said in an e-mail response.