On the air

Renee Rosenow

It’s been called the “Voice of the University,” but are you listening?

“The biggest message I want to present is that there is a wealth of art and music in the community,” junior Scott Morfitt said. “The creativity in the community is amazing.”

Morfitt is the host of his own show, “Local Independence,” and is also the student producer for UW-Eau Claire’s radio station, WUEC. This is Morfitt’s second year on staff and was a volunteer the previous year.

Senior Chris Malina started working for the station this semester and also hosts and produces his own program, “Blugold Performance of the Air,” which features students and faculty involved in the music department at Eau Claire.

“Basically, every week I do a different themed show,” Malina said. “I collect music from a concert we have, select tracks and find out information.” Malina will also try to have an interview with a performer or director of the recording.

In addition to regular broadcast at the station, Morfitt also has a podcast on Volume One’s Web site.

“It’s a weekly podcast of interviews I’ve done,” he said. Morfitt’s show features all local artists in several musical genres, such as rock, hip/hop and indie. Also included on his program is poetry and spoken word.

“It’s a very important addition to the program,” Morfitt said. “We have a wealth of great writers in the community. (Words) have a bit more strength than just seeing it . and I like to focus on the great writing being done in the community.”

If students are interested in submitting some of their work, it’s as simple as e-mailing Morfitt.

WUEC hopes to try out something new for Malina’s show. They plan on renting out the Cabin to record an A cappela show and use it in program at the beginning of next semester.

“With the showcase, it’s going to promote the bands and at the same time promote the station,” he said.

Hearing Malina talk about the showcase, one can see how excited he is about the station.

And manager of student programming, Dean Kallenbach, can see this as well.

“I’m just really excited about the staff we have right now,” he said. “They meet regularly to try to make the student programming excellent and also vital. It’s really exciting working with people who are really into making radio.”

One focus for the university station is to stay local.

“Radio is at its best when it’s live and local,” Kallenbach said. “It’s something you’re not going to hear in Wausau, Milwaukee or Washington D.C.”

Another focus for the station is to be as unique as possible.

“Student programming is there to try to provide what commercial stations aren’t doing,” Kallenbach said. “It’s trying to provide excellent programming, it’s not what you’re going to hear on commercial programming.”

Morfitt agrees that the programming of the university station is very different than the Eau Claire community stations.

“Our shows are specific to student and faculty collaboration to produce the best possible programming,” he said. “Our broadcast range is much stronger. Their range is five miles, ours is about 60 miles.”

While Kallenbach is there to help the students at the station and to represent the voice of Wisconsin Public Radio, he lets them run with it.

“My main job is to sort of help them do good radio, be there to answer questions but let them manage the station,” he said. Kallenbach has been involved with the station since 2004 but has been a part of WPR since 1986.

Malina hopes to get more listeners because of the work the station puts into their programming, as well as the actual performers.

“We have the greatest music program in the state,” Malina said. “My goal is to put those performances out there and get people to say ‘Wow this is really cool, maybe it’s something I want to check out.’ We’re really student focused.”

Malina also said how the station, his program in particular, is great publicity for the music department here.

Also, Kallenbach thinks the station is really good with working with other groups on campus, such as the music department, forensics and NOTA.

Morfitt thinks most students can appreciate the program “Jazz and Beyond,” even if they haven’t ever really listened before.

“It’s a really good educational tool for those learning about jazz and it’s very entertaining,” he said.

For people who have never listened to the university station, Malina thinks they can find something that appeals to them.

“We feature the best of student performances that you don’t really hear,” Malina said. “It’s very unique. It’s all produced by students which is something you don’t really hear on the dial so I think that is something that will definitely get people’s attention.”