DePauw community jams to sound of student-run radio station

485

WGRE, DePauw’s student-run radio station, has been a fixture on campus since the late 1940s. In the over 60 years since its founding, it has inspired countless students to try their hand at the radio business. From talk shows to themed musical hours to programs highlighting up-and-coming artists, WGRE is filled with a variety of content that the DePauw community just can’t get enough of.

Students can apply to host their own show, taking over the airwaves for one or two hours at a time. These are either basic shows, where the DJs play the music from the WGRE song library, or specialty shows, which are either talk programs or music programs centered on a theme like musicals or hip-hop.

WGRE is a college alternative section, which means that they feature songs outside of the “top 50". The music directors work hard to discover new music and compile them for play. While listeners might not recognize all of the songs or artists today, catching artists on their way up can lead to some great stories down the road, said station manager Lauren Wigton.

“Three years ago, we were playing The Weeknd. Two years ago, we were playing Sam Smith," she said. "Both of those are huge artists now, but we played them before they were big."

And it’s not just students who have shows on WGRE. Thursday mornings from 10-11, two Greencastle residents, Dennis and Glen Furr, settle down in the booth and broadcast out some of their favorite tunes. Though they don’t fit the profile of the typical DJs, these two are still part of the WGRE culture that makes the station what it is.

DePauw faculty members can also serve as DJs. Wigton highlighted popular programs curated by faculty members: Rock Thoughtz, a rock-and-roll show by Jonathan Nichols-Pethick and Rich Martoglio, and a show by tennis coach Scott Riggle that Wigton said “everyone tunes in for.”

These DJs are just a fraction of the people that are involved with the operations of WGRE. There are three faculty advisors, 13 student directors and over 200 DJs whose hard work allows the station to broadcast to as far away as Plainfield 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This hard work has paid off for the staff. This year, they were recognized as the fourth-best college radio station by the Princeton Review; they have placed in the top ten of this list for several years in a row now.

DJs who have been involved with WGRE in the past were in for a surprise when they returned to the booth this year. The station has been outfitted with a new control board that Wigton said was much sleeker and more user-friendly than the previous one.

“Plus Greg (Stephan, the engineer for the station) added a cool blue light that gives it a nice ambience,” she said.

Each week, listeners can vote on their favorite DJ. This week, the winner was sophomore Lauren Stazinski, whose show airs Tuesdays from 6-8 a.m.

“I was very surprised because my DJ shift is so early in the morning; I didn't know people knew it existed!” Stazinski said.

She, along with many other DJs, call getting to talk on air their favorite part of the job.

“I basically get to think out loud on air,” she said.

The ladies of Afternoon Delight, which airs Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m., echo this feeling. Juniors Rachael Lenderman, Molly Rinehart and Kendall Weinert said they love that they can just riff on any topic, just like any other conversation the three friends would have outside of the booth.

DJs don’t need to have any prior experience before they are given their own show. At the moment, the schedule is full. However, a few slots will open up at the conclusion of football season, and the directors have a waiting list for those spots. They are also forming an interest list of potential DJs for next semester.

You can listen to WGRE on 91.5 FM. If you’re without a radio or are out of range, WGRE has a livestream of their broadcast on their website, wgre.org.