ou may or may not realize it, but Elizabethtown College has its own radio station, “WWEC 88.3. The Sound of Elizabethtown.” Students have radio shows throughout the week in which they can play different kinds of music, and talk about a variety of topics. It’s a pretty cool privilege that students at Etown can have their own show regardless of major. So, why isn’t the station given more coverage?
I understand that most people don’t tune into the radio these days as online music streaming becomes more popular, but there are places where everyone listens to the radio, like the Blue Bean, the Jay’s Nest and the Marketplace. The fact that Etown’s own radio station isn’t being played in The Marketplace or the Blue Bean just doesn’t make sense.
It is my belief and the belief of many others that we should be supporting our students, especially when many of them take the time to put on a show that few people hear. I would think that students would be more interested in hearing the music and discussions from their own peers, rather than re-runs of songs from the 90s and the Billboard 100. The student-run radio station should be something we are supporting as an institution for the students and for the communications department.
There is another element at play here that many don’t realize. Playing stations other than WWEC in public places like the Marketplace and Blue Bean can actually be considered an issue of legality. For the College to play the radio in public, it must have the proper FCC licensing that allows for broadcast. All it would take is the FCC to walk in, ask someone how long they remember hearing other stations being played, add up the numbers and hand the College a hefty charge. “If there is any question as to the legality of using an alternative music source, it seems the easiest thing to do would be to broadcast the student-run station,” Matthew Telleen, professor of communications law, said. “Not only could this help to clear up any potential violations, but it also supports the students involved in the station.”
Now, I recognize that this problem is not the end of the world. There are more important things to deal with, and that is why not much change has been made in this area. However, I find it upsetting that the issue has been coming up for years and nothing has been done about it, especially when the issue is one of legality. I’m sure not everyone will love the music being played or the discussions being had, but if you really don’t like them, you don’t have to be in the Blue Bean. WWEC is upheld by students and for students, and should be acknowledged and appreciated by students.
I hope that people will come to respect the radio station we have on campus and the presence of the communications department. After all, communications is about connecting people to each other and the world around them. This connection won’t happen if we remain close-minded to change. I think we should embrace the station we have here on campus and get it played more often. After all, it’s pretty cool when you can say, “Hey! That’s my friend on the radio!”