Wayne State is home to countless student organizations and clubs, and WAYN Radio is one of many with a detailed history of service within our campus and beyond.
Keeping an organization like this alive for over 50 years requires no less than a herculean level of flexibility and tenacity, and the many students that have joined our org through the years have displayed great effort to extend their resources to the students of Wayne State and the citizens of Detroit alike.
We, the students of this current incarnation of WAYN Radio, would like to do the same for our student body today, and we would like to explain why we are choosing to open our studio’s door to every student on our campus to create their own media and art for the world to see.
Simply put, as a member of WAYN Radio’s executive board, I have elected to take up some space to tell you why you (yes, you specifically) should come to our room on the third floor of the Student Center and start a podcast right now.
WAYN Radio is a time-honored staple of our university’s student organizations and is one that has consistently evolved and changed as the years have rolled on. WAYN Radio has changed a lot over the years, starting as the classic WAYN Student Radio from 1967, quickly turning into the WAYN AM-860 Radio of the 1970s through the 1980s.
At this time, the organization takes the form of WAYN Radio, an online 24-hour stream of around-the-clock music, podcasts, and interviews, all through our website. The media we provide and create here at WAYN Radio is our passion as students, and we will continue to create, it despite the questionable relevance of Radio as a popular medium with young people of our own age group and younger.
While The Buggles may have proclaimed that "Video Killed the Radio Star" in 1980 in the first-ever music video debut on MTV, the jury is still very much out on whether or not that statement has continued to ring true in our current time. Many journalists have already made comparisons between talk radio hosts and podcasters, and no less than a crack ton of studies have shown the medium of radio broadcasting still has legs with the adult working population of the United States.
Radio broadcasting is a unique, time-honored medium of entertainment and communication, one that goes back further than I'd care to recount in this piece. It is an effective way to communicate the form one's media is distributed in, and the students at Wayne State's own WAYN Radio station understand well the technical and cultural elements that constitute the style of broadcast showcasing our organization has historically used.
Despite knowing all of this, we must admit that we, WAYN Radio, have had some gripes about the nature of our services as a student organization.
There was no easy way to address it. The reality is that we are a student-led organization that operates an online radio service that currently has low engagement. We continue to run our own twenty-four-hour broadcast set, which is the bedrock of our org, but many of our members have shifted to mostly investing our efforts into individual weekly radio shows hosted by various members of our body.
The lead engineer of our organization, Gabe Gilleland, has done his part to greatly improve the quality and range of our daily broadcasts, but the issues of low cultural relevancy and difficulty of student engagement continued to pester us.
We are a group of students who try to express our creative passions for music and culture through the medium of radio broadcasting, but we are also a student org that understands that our target audience for our endeavors is an audience that lives in the now. While we plan to keep intact our core founding service of 24-hour radio streaming, we have come to understand that we, like every previous version of our organization, may need to change.
After our senior executive student members deliberated and ruminated on the state of WAYN Radio for several days, we came to realize that it was challenging to coordinate efforts to advertise and promote our radio show to students all over our university and beyond. We also noticed, however, that our room provided a unique resource to students we could offer freely to our student body.
Our room, adorned with posters, vinyl records and concert flyers from years past, is home to a versatile set of mixing boards, record players, microphones and more.
Our PC is set up to record and mix audio from multiple inputs, and we host a network of member-run webpages and social media accounts that can post, advertise and share videos of any activities our organization hosts and participates in.
This, of course, is merely complimentary to the literal hundreds of CDs, tapes and records we have that are freely available to use and play for any student willing to stop by our room.
We essentially have understood that we are sitting on a proverbial goldmine of potential student activity and engagement, and this gave our team a sort of divine revelation toward the future of WAYN Radio as an organization:
We have decided to formally announce that our recording studio and meeting room, Room 361 in the Student Center, is now open for students to schedule podcasts, radio shows, listening parties and events!
Our organization is transitioning to become a service for students to use and administer their own activities and endeavors in the world of podcasting, music and radio broadcasting.
We want to allow students an outlet to express themselves with our medium using the tools we have to offer, and we are eager to hear what sounds and ideas you have brewing.
WAYN Radio will continue to host our 24-hour online radio services on our website, but we want to extend our hand to you, the students, to create and build an environment made by students, for students.
Our space can be scheduled for any kind of activity involving music, podcasting, and radio, and coinciding with our WAYN Underground YouTube series, students can schedule their own private "Tiny Desk" style performances with our team to showcase the burgeoning musical talents of our university.
If you've ever had an interest in hosting a podcast, performing your own music, becoming a radio DJ, or anything in between, WAYN Radio offers you the chance to do it all at your own pace.
Any WSU student may contact our team leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a show, podcast, or event in our studio, and we’ll be sure to respond as soon as possible.
Our channels are open, and our members are eager to take on a new adventure with you all!
Gabriel Gamlin is WAYN Radio's small events manager. Gamlin is a senior majoring in political science and is a former writer for Groves High School's student magazine, "The Scriptor." He can be reached at email@example.com.
Cover photo by Ciaran Martin, multimedia editor for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.