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The Quad

Five reasons to join WCUR FM

College's hidden gem offers incredible opportunities

Alexandra Leff, Special to the Quad

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A radio station is a place where everybody can feel like they belong. It doesn’t matter what genre of music or artist you listen to because there’s a chance you will find another person who listens to the same thing.

It’s a peaceful place music lovers dream of where the anxiety and stress of classes magically melt away the second you walk through the door, a place where new music and friends await those who wish to join.

1. Meeting New People

Meeting new people is hard. Meeting new people who have the same taste in music can be even harder. Not everyone listens to the same artist or genre of music nor do they have the same level of appreciation for it as you do. Working for the radio station allows you to meet new people who have the same or similar tastes in music.

With artists coming out with new singles and albums all the time having friends who are interested in the same music opens up the space for dialogue and to have in-depth conversations where personal thoughts and opinions can be shared. Just one common thread is all you need to a start a new friendship. With that friendship you both are bound to discover new artists and genres that neither of you thought you would enjoy.

2. Discovering New Music

Part of being in college is about discovering and trying new things. Being a part of the radio station allows you to listen to different types of music and expand your musical horizons.

Discoveries in music can be made based off of the recommendations of our friends. These recommendations may consist of a band you’ve never heard of within the same genre you enjoy. This has the potential to form both a new friendship in addition to the discovery of brand new music.

If you are constantly on the lookout for new artists to listen to, most radio stations have a subscription to the “College Music Journal” where they receive demo albums of all different genres to have DJs play on air. These albums are then listened to and reviewed by different members on the station for the use of any language that the Federal Communications Commission deems inappropriate. While part of your job is to make sure songs are considered FCC clean, this is a great way to discover new bands that are similar to what you may already listen to or uncover a new favorite.

Stations also usually have a recommendation page on their website of recently reviewed albums. Some of these reviews are the newest singles or albums from more popular artists while others are lesser-known artists sent to the station from the “College Music Journal” and listened to by the station members. This allows other DJs and fellow students alike to have access to the thoughts and opinions of an album as heard and reviewed by the DJ.

Often times, another way of discovering new music is by listening to the other station members’ shows. The exciting thing about finding new music is finding it by accident.

Turning on your local station and hearing a song you’ve heard thousands of times before but for the life of you, you don’t know the name of is like fate stepping in and helping you find something new.

It is also common that other station members are in bands or solo artists themselves. They may participate in live sets at local coffeehouses or the university open mic nights. If it sounds like something you may be interested in, you may decide to go and take a further look at some of the other music they’ve written.

Whether it’s new artists in a genre you already listen to or a new genre completely, there is something to be found for everyone.

3. Leadership Opportunities

Every position on college radio stations, with the exception of club advisors, is 100 percent student-run. Positions such as general manager, programming director, events and promotions, etc. are all filled by students. This gives everyone the opportunity to lead the station in a new direction.

Having these opportunities is one of many ways for students to gain experience of being in a role with responsibility and being part of a team. In addition to building and creating the future of the radio station these students also are in charge of leading and overseeing a committee or other responsibilities to help the station run smoothly.

For example, the programming director is responsible for creating and enforcing the showtime schedule, keeping track of attendance at staff meetings and making sure station rules are enforced. They are also in charge of handing out disciplinary actions to members who break the station’s rules.

Even though there are a limited number of elected executive board positions available, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any leadership roles available for others. There are plenty of chances to become involved within the organization. Whether it’s being the assistant to the training director or working closely with events and promotions, there are plenty of opportunities to gain leadership skills and possibly fill the position in the future.

4. Career Opportunities

In addition to leadership opportunities the radio station is also a great place to find careers after graduating from college. The argument that being on the radio station will only benefit you if you decide to go into radio broadcasting or television is false. Yes it will give you material to build a portfolio if you decide to go into broadcasting, but there are plenty of positions outside of the communication spectrum that the radio station will prepare you for.

One example might be if a student is going into the field of marketing and advertising. Working with the events and promotions committee is a great way to garner experience in spreading the word about a campus event or organization. Even though it could just be seen as playing music, it will draw attention and curiosity which therefore will attract people. Interviewing bands and artists who aren’t as popular and are trying to get their foot in the door of the entertainment industry is a way to help promote their album and get their name out there. If a band can get just one college student to purchase or listen to their album it will cause a chain reaction leading to recommendations to friends and family.

Another example might be if a student was interested in the accounting or finance fields. Working as the station’s business representative gives students the experience of balancing and preparing a budget. Their job is to make sure that the station is staying within their annual budget when purchasing new equipment or co-sponsoring events with other organizations on campus. They also are in charge of pulling together and requesting a budget for the next school year.

No matter what field you are interested in going into, the station is a great opportunity to obtain networking skills. You are learning to communicate with others as well as making connections that could lead to a career.

5. Fun!

My final reason to join your college’s radio station is because it’s fun. What could be better than being on air? It allows you to take a break from adulthood and the responsibility of having a job, figuring out a career and the pressure of school.

You can discover new music, spend time with people who are just as passionate about music as you are and make new friends. When you immerse yourself in the world of music you will find yourself enjoying genres and artists you would have never heard otherwise. I’ve been a part of WCUR for five years and joining is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. Being part of the radio station has made me more aware of different kinds of music.

Alexandra Leff is a student at West Chester University.

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
Five reasons to join WCUR FM