The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Student radio means air time

Let’s face it, student radio at UW-Eau Claire is hardly worthy of being called student radio. Our FM station, WUEC (89.7), plays Wisconsin Public Radio nearly all of the time, with only seven students helping with the actual programming and organization.

WSRI, run by the Student Radio Initiative organization, is broadcasted via the Internet. It has much more student involvement, but most people don’t even realize that it exists.

Both stations claim to be the voice of the students, but neither has accomplished it alone.

WUEC is owned by the UW System Board of Regents and is run by the communication and journalism department.

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Since WUEC’s program director, Ken Loomis, left three years ago, it has been plagued by problems of low student involvement. Last year, it dwindled to the lowest it has been in a long time.

This year, WUEC is under the new leadership of Dean Kallenbach, who promises to get more students involved, which is exactly what we want.

The problem is that the CJ department and the student body have different ideas of what “student involvement” means. We want air time, period.

It’s great that the CJ department has started to have more student input in their programming and school-related broadcasts, though student voices are not all we want to hear.

We’d also like to hear some music that the average college student listens to every day.

The CJ department needs to have faith in students. I agree that we are not able to be completely fiscally responsible for a radio station, but we’re not going to learn anything about radio if all we ever do is develop station ads and do behind-the-scenes technical work.

I’d always be willing to help with the management, but what really gets me excited about radio is the thrill of being on the air.

If you really want students to get involved, then they need an incentive.

This year it is likely we are going to pay WUEC $20,000 out of our own student segregated fees, if that’s the number Student Senate finalizes.

While the Board of Regents may own the Federal Communications Commission license for WUEC, that doesn’t mean the station should only serve the Board’s needs.

The students pay to keep it running. Shouldn’t we get some say?

We are not the only college that has gone through a transition like this.

Some colleges broadcast public radio with a few programs about the campus. But it is easy to see that other colleges have stepped up to say they want a student-run radio station.

We need to look to Madison’s WSUM, River Falls’ WRFW and Minnesota’s KUOM as role models in our struggle.

These stations are completely student run. All students are welcome to sign up for airtime and play the music they want.

The good news is that change might be on the horizon, if we as a student body can prove that we are serious about a revolution of our campus radio stations.

A petition is circulating among students, led by members of WSRI, to get more involvement in WUEC. It has hundreds of student signatures already, including a few prominent professors.

At 9 a.m. Friday, there will be a meeting of the campus Media Advisory Committee in room 202 of Schofield Hall.

WUEC’s mission statement will be discussed, and hopefully this is the starting point at which a radical change of student radio can come about.

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