It is a beautiful day to drive down 202 South, windows open, hair blowing in the wind. A search for the perfect song on the radio begins. The search may be for something different or perhaps something familiar. Next time you find yourself in this position, stop your dial on 91.7FM, WCUR. Along with diverse radio shows, great programming, and valuable resources, WCUR has a rich history. The origins of West Chester University radio can be traced back to a closed-circuit AM station in the 1960’s. Though the station could only be heard in a very small, local area, WCUR’s beginnings were far from humble. According to www.wcur.fm, the College Music Journal rated WCUR as the number one college radio station on the East Coast in 1971. Success is sweet, but calls for greater achievement. In 1991, WCUR did just that when they received the station 91.7 FM. An FM station allowed more clarity and better sound coupled with a great broadcasting distance to reach more listeners. Now in 2006, WCUR is looking to achieve even more.
The woman leading the organization is General Manager Katie Hazzard. Take one part creativity, one part dedication and mix in two parts passion, and you have created the perfect recipe for “Hazzard,” as she is affectionately called. She supervises the entire station, including the other nine executive staff members and seven committees. “We have tons of fun at WCUR and are eager to bring WCUR and the community together,” she says, “not only do we offer opportunities for students to become a part of the station and have their own two-hour show; we also offer news, upcoming music, live sports and events.”
WCUR has two large-scale annual events. The first is the Open Mic Night series in the residence halls and the second is the Grand Ram Band Slam in the spring. The Open Mic Night program series affords budding WCU artists the opportunity to be heard on live radio from the comfort of their own residence hall lobby or basement. The programs begin in October and continue on a monthly basis. For those involved in actual bands, the Grand Ram Band Slam is a large-scale battle of the bands.
Last year WCUR received over 100 demos for a coveted spot in the competition. Eighteen bands made the cut, and from there it was WCU students’ vote. Last year “Back of the Bus” won first place, and the $1,000 cash prize. If you are a local band looking for a little extra promotion, WCUR also has a local music library where you can drop off your demo to be put in rotation.
WCUR has new programming ideas brewing for this year including a Block Party, a kickball competition fundraiser and bringing The Roots to WCU to broadcast live. They are also in the process of creating a new logo, so keep your eyes open for the new look of WCUR. In addition to their own programming, WCUR is looking to partner with other organizations. “We have a fully functional PA system that we can take almost anywhere,” Hazzard says. WCUR already does live broadcasts of WCU football games as well as men’s and women’s basketball games, so why not invite them to your organization’s event?
“In addition to programming, WCUR is a fully functioning radio station,” Hazzard comments. “WCUR broadcasts on the radio waves of 91.7 FM, but is also available in the form of a live stream on the web at www.wcur.fm, which is amazing. So anyone, no matter where they are, at any time, can listen to WCUR.” Along with listening to the radio, you can become an active participant by calling the request line [610.436.2478] or Instant Messaging the DJ [AIM buddy: WCUR917].
If you are interested in your own radio show, it is very easy to join. “Becoming a member of WCUR is simple, fast, and fun,” says WCUR Training Director, Adam Kaplan. He continues, “training employs a six week program, during which you’ll learn the necessary skills to run your very own radio show.” These training programs are held twice a semester and are open to any WCU student. Kaplan continues, “I want every last one of you to join this station, so I’ll do whatever I can to accommodate your schedule.” The first training program is in progress and halfway complete, and the second training program will be scheduled soon. For more information and updates, go to www.wcur.fm and click “join us.”
All members of WCUR are welcoming of new ideas and diversity, as evidenced by the variety of radio shows, including everything from metal to rap to country [the schedule is available at www.wcur.fm under “shows”]. The door is always open, and anyone is welcome to stop by the station and browse the enormous collection of albums. WCUR is currently in the process of digitalizing the entire collection, so that in the future anyone can do a search of their favorite band or artist. So whether you are looking for a venue to satisfy your musical tastes or a place to promote your band, WCUR is the place to be. “WE ARE THE WORLD’S GREATEST RADIO STATION!” Hazzard proudly boasts. So, check them out next time you are in your car searching for the perfect song.