By Michael Battista
Over my four years here at the College, I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to The Signal by holding multiple positions within the newspaper, ranging from a beat writer to an editor of the sports section. I notice how much my work is appreciated when I walk by the large stacks of newspapers around campus and see other students holding a physical copy of the newspaper, reading my stories. Now that I’ve become more involved with other media-based groups on campus, I’ve realized more how The Signal gets such a good deal when it comes to student visibility.
As a newly licensed DJ at WTSR 91.3FM, the College’s student radio station serving Mercer and Bucks counties, I’m faced with a single overbearing dilemma — not many people are actually listening. No matter what music I play or how well I do my part, I feel like people around campus will never get the chance to hear my work, nor the work of our radio station’s amazing executive board and general staff. Usually, I have to inform members of my family and friends through social media that I’ll be on air. Sometimes, I really feel like the sound of leaves blowing in the wind — you can faintly hear me in the background, but most of the time I go unnoticed.
Radio isn’t the king of media and it hasn’t been since 1979 when The Buggles sang, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Most people will say that they just listen to the music they downloaded on their personal devices or Spotify, and I can’t change that. I can’t even say that I would listen to WTSR over my own music half the time. However, maybe students at the College can change this.
There are so many ways to incorporate the College’s very own radio station into the lives of its students. One way of doing this, is playing the WTSR more in the different buildings across campus. Eickhoff Hall is constantly playing music, and a lot of the time it’s tuned into a Philadelphia top 40 station that plays a lot of the same music over and over again. In Eickhoff Hall, I listened to The Weeknd so much my sophomore year that every time I walked into the cafeteria I almost couldn’t “Feel My Face” from annoyance.
WTSR has a lot of freedom when it comes to the music it plays, and its backlog of music is massive with tons of genres. The only thing it avoids is top 40 songs, better known as the songs that have high awareness. If WTSR exposes students to a lot of local bands, new genres and even allows students to hear their friends and classmates live on the air when they do updates or specialty shows.
In the Brower Student Center, we have a beautiful, newly renovated lounge area with tons of games and activities. Why not just have some “Sympathy for The Devil,” as sung by the Rolling Stones, and place a radio set-up there so students can hear their own fellow students and music from their own college’s radio station play?
There are some flaws in what I’m suggesting. Using the wise words of Bruce Springsteen, WTSR is “Born to Run” in a way that goes against many top 40 radio stations, and does have specialty shows that may not be appropriate to play over a loudspeaker in public areas. Things such as gospel radio, sports talk or hardcore grunge music wouldn’t sound right being played in Eickhoff Hall. I suppose whoever is controlling the radio station in Eickhoff Hall could just switch the station when these shows come on, and then tune back into WTSR once those programs end.
Even though I know, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” — as sung by the Rolling Stones — I still think it’s important to try. The WTSR has so much talent, and it does so much for this campus that I feel as though the campus should give something back. The recent WTSR Underground session — a two-day event where WTSR and Lions Television hosted multiple bands to record their sets — was a lot of fun and free for all students.
If the College increases visibility of WTSR and plays it in buildings on campus where more people can hear it, not only would the popularity of the radio station increase, but more students might get more involved with it as well.