It has been years since a student-run radio station has broadcast from campus.
“A lot of great opportunities come from radio broadcasting, and I didn’t want Eastern University students to go without that,” sophomore James Laughlin said, explaining his efforts to give Eastern a radio station of its own.
Now, having won student government approval for the station, Laughlin hopes the University will see those opportunities become realities in the near future.
As a first-year student, Laughlin worked with Dr. Kevin Maness, a communications professor, to get some programming on the air. The process stalled because of insufficient funding, but that did not keep Maness and Laughlin from meeting on a weekly basis to complete “a lot of preliminary work,” Laughlin said.
This school year, first-year Matt Curcio joined the team.
“(He) seemed to be the missing piece in terms of getting this thing going,” Laughlin said.
With renewed determination and a fresh face in the mix, the project was back on track.
According to plan, the station, to be called WEUR, will feature music, sports and talk programming. Live broadcasts of sporting events at Eastern will likely be among the station’s earliest broadcasts.
Musicians will have a new venue for sharing their original music. Laughlin is in communication with theatre and writing majors interested in a drama club that would perform radio plays on a regular basis.
For actors, working in such a medium “really helps with voice acting and voice modulation,” Laughlin said.
Another highlight in the station’s potential programming is a show called “Faith, Reason and Justice,” which Laughlin intends to make a weekly production. The radio show will feature three half-hour segments in which professors will discuss issues related to each of Eastern’s ideals.
Funding is still an obstacle, as is finding a permanent location, though the station’s needs are within reach.
The station will reap financial and spatial benefits by broadcasting exclusively over the Internet, with the eventual goal of becoming licensed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
“All we’d need, essentially, is a closet-sized space,” Maness said in an e-mail. “But even that modest requirement is hard to come by on campus, where available spaces are pretty much maxed-out and even some faculty members are using offices that were broom closets a couple years ago.”
Laughlin, however, remains undaunted. “We are not going to be pushed back by the possibility of not having an official space,” he said.
As the group continues to search for a location, it is also looking into several fund-raising opportunities, including concerts, competitions and raffles. It has asked SIFE for financial help but has not been able to receive as much support as either organization had hoped.
The team is tentatively hoping to have some programming on the air by graduation in May.
“All we need to do is raise a couple hundred dollars and we can start broadcasting on a minimal scale,” Laughlin said. “If we got money this week, we could be broadcasting this week.”
Laughlin and Curcio are encouraged by SGA’s approval and are looking for students interested in being a part of this exciting new campus group.
“We want the station to represent Eastern’s diversity and great community,” Curcio said.