Making waves: behind the scenes at WTSR

The WTSR station is located in Kendall Hall. (Sara Stammer / Columnist)

By Sara Stammer
Columnist

If I were to ask you where the WTSR Station is located on campus, would you know?

To be completely honest, before this past Tuesday I had no idea myself. I spent a good deal of time asking around, keeping an eye out for any sign of it and only succeeded in my task of locating the station by soliciting the help of a member. I know you have heard of Kendall Hall, and many of us pass it on a daily basis, so next time you go by, keep in mind there is a radio station in the basement.

WTSR originally stood for Trenton State Radio. However, when the school changed its name to The College of New Jersey in June of 1996, the acronym was changed to stand for The College of New Jersey Student Radio.

I want to shed light on organizations at the College, and here is one dealing with something as fundamental in our lives as music, and has been operating at the College since 1958 (later receiving its FCC license in 1966).

Whether we are tapping beats out on the side of our desk, riding the elevator, pitching a product in a commercial, attending Bamboozle or flipping through a playlist on the way to class, music surrounds us. Entering the door to the station was like taking a visit down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland,” — for once you entered, you were in a whole other world.

WTSR boasts active participation in almost all of the 100 members they currently have, meaning those who sign up show up. From Welcome Week to Senior Week and everywhere in between, WTSR is a force to be reckoned with, providing entertainment at a variety of events.

One event is Battle of the Bands, which station manager Alli Wentling, junior communication studies major, is aiming to do once again this year. Being a part of the N.J. College Radio Day is “a big honor” to Wentling and the rest of the WTSR staff because WTSR is the point person and helps coordinate the event. This year the event is going to be held on Oct. 2, and already is expected to have about 17 stations in attendance from all over the state.

Wentling believes WTSR is somewhere anyone can find a niche. It was during her sophomore year of high school that she was shown the station by an ambassador after a tour at the College.

She has come to grow with the station, and remarks that the “community of the station has pulled (her) in” and shown her a variety of new genres she previously would not have thought to listen to. It is her responsibility to make sure everything at the station is running smoothly, subsequently making every day for Wentling a WTSR day, something she does not mind even as she informs me that this translates to about 30 hours a week.

After interviewing Wentling, I hung around for the interest session and was able to speak with Andrea Lurski, a sophomore elementary education and English double major who claims that she “really likes music a lot” and is interested in being a DJ for WTSR. Lurski added that one day she hopes to have her own radio show.

By all means this is a great place for her to start. The atmosphere in the station is bubbling with personality. In addition to the executive board, general members were also in attendance to answer questions and welcome prospective members. It is this same atmosphere and “friendly and welcoming community feel” that first pulled in Wentling.

Think 100 members is a lot? Well, there is still a lot of work to be done, and room for people to do that work. Whether it is news and journalism, reviewing new CDs, interviewing bands, reporting school sports or automation, there is room for you. Just keep in mind, however, in order to receive your license to become a DJ or fulfill another role, it takes dedication. First you will have to complete three weeks of training and shadowing, a.k.a. “classes,” before your written test.

After the test you have three more weeks of one-on-one shadowing and then a practical assessment where all of your skills are put to the test. Don’t let this scare you though — every member at the meeting reassures that the training is all complete and total fun.

Don’t want to join WTSR? Tune in instead. WTSR has 800,000 potential listeners so, as the slogan says, “open your mind.” Don’t have a radio? Not a problem, you can go online to WTSR.org and listen live, so don’t miss out!