College radio station growing
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | April 30,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Disc jockeys and students who work on radio station WIUV, 91.3 FM at Castleton State College pose for a photo.
CASTLETON — Change is in the air, or rather, on the air at WIUV 91.3 FM.
The Castleton State College radio station — with its studio located in the Campus Center — has seen its live programming grow from 15 hours a week in August to a current programming schedule of 70 hours a week. All it took to kick off this radio renaissance was some grass-roots marketing, said Program Director Zach Scheffler.
“I was thinking about the station over winter break and how to get more people interested and I thought, ‘Let’s refresh the image,’” Scheffler said. “That’s all it took.”
With a new logo introduced this spring — an image of a transmitting antenna designed by Scheffler — and a public information campaign on campus and on the Internet, the station is meeting the mission on its website to help students “Discover your voice!”
Among the many students who have taken that challenge is freshman Liz Babcock, who goes by the D.J. handle Happy Bunny when she co-hosts “Happy Bunny & the Ginger,” which she started this spring semester.
“It’s kind of a girl’s-night theme of upbeat music,” Babcock said of her program, which airs from 10 p.m. to midnight Tuesday.
There has also been a move away from past perceptions of the station being a cliquish and exclusive club.
“The station became more casual and more approachable than it was in the past,” Scheffler said.
While recruiting on-air talent was one hurdle to overcome, reaching listeners is an entirely different challenge. The noncommercial station’s relatively weak signal doesn’t reach much of Rutland County.
Even where the signal comes through clearly, the station hasn’t reached many potential listeners, said Music Director R.J. Leite.
“A lot students here don’t even know we have a radio station, but things are getting better,” said Leite, who hosts an uplifting and Christian-themed music show from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturdays and “Sports Talk,” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Even when not hosted live, the station has automated playlists, giving listeners something to tune in to 24-7.
Not to be limited by the strength of the signal, the station is using the Internet to reach listeners, who can connect online at tunein.com. Smartphone users can download the Tune In application. The station is on Twitter, using the handle @WIUV913, and is on YouTube and Facebook under “WIUV Castleton.”
Online listenership has grown, with a high of 30 listeners during March 1 coverage of the men’s hockey playoff match against Norwich University. The quality of those broadcasts has also improved, thanks to new mobile broadcasting technology, said Lucas Hall, who called many hockey matches at Spartan Arena in Rutland this winter.
“You listen to recordings of the old signal and the new signal and there’s just no comparison. It’s like night and day,” Hall said.
The station is reaching out beyond the college to members of the larger community who might want to host a show.
“We’re open to anybody. We want people to know Castleton radio is not just a social club,” Hall said.
For more information, visit www.castleton.edu/campus/wiuv.