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Campus radio station needs support from university

May 6, 2015

On Monday, May 4, 88.7 FM WRFW’s annual event "Can’t Stop the Music" was held in the University Center. For those of you who don’t know, WRFW is the radio station that is on the UW-River Falls campus; it broadcasts from North Hall.

While the radio station claims to be the "loudest organization on campus," I'm certain that many people have never heard a word of WRFW radio. When I tell people that I have a radio show on the campus radio station, I always have to direct them to the television channel that has WRFW on it, channel 119, or tell them again that it’s 88.7 FM.

I know that not everyone listens to the radio, I can even recognize that the medium might be dying, a hard pill for this wannabe professional radio DJ to take, but it shouldn’t be sheltered on this campus. The station should be heard in public spaces across the campus and not just across the street in North Hall.

The main hub that should be playing WRFW is the University Center. As of now, the only time that WRFW is head in the University Center is for the annual "Can’t Stop the Music" event.

I'm not demanding every single minute for WRFW to be playing, but when student programming is on that should be heard in the University Center. WRFW most always fills up the time slots from 1 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday. Not airing Wisconsin Public Radio or the BBC, which is what is on when student programming isn’t, is understandable. News radio isn’t the most exciting or pleasant thing to have as a background noise.

Let’s compromise. We can start with WRFW Wednesday’s in the University Center. On Wednesday’s from 1 p.m. until close, the University Center plays WRFW for everyone to hear. Let’s turn the Spotify and SiriusXM over to something our students are doing themselves. Sure, some of the music will be obscure, that is college radio, but that’s the worst that can happen.

It’s not like the radio will be filled with f-bombs. Nobody wants the FCC involved in any of their business.

This is a tight-knit community, both UWRF and the city of River Falls as a whole. Coming from a small town, I love the feeling of seeing familiar faces all over the place. Small, tight-knit communities also support each other in virtually everything that they do.

When I’m at home and I’m on the commercial radio station that is 30 minutes from my actual hometown, I can’t go anywhere without five people telling me they just heard me on the radio and how good of a job I'm doing. I’ve been on this campus two years and haven’t heard anyone outside of fellow DJ’s talk about the radio station.

I don’t expect the whole student body to go put WRFW as a preset in their vehicle, I don’t even expect them to really care about what is going on at the radio station, but I do want them to be exposed to the radio station.

You can’t stop the music, so just give in.

Collin Kottke is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.