By Katie Dezes
After a year of silence, Stetson’s radio station is back on the airwaves
After temporarily shutting down for a year, WHAT Radio will be returning to broadcast again this fall.
When the previous leader of WHAT Radio graduated in the spring of 2012, lack of involvement caused the station’s presence to dwindle away over time. WHAT Radio had seemingly disappeared for the 2012-2013 school year.
However, this fall WHAT Radio appears to be coming back stronger than ever. The station’s general manager, Thomas Ecker and engineer, Joe Palermo are working hard to recruit new members and generate enthusiasm for the rebirth of the radio station.
It turns out the station was never entirely abandoned.
“I got the job of General Manager much the same way that the last person aboard a sinking ship becomes its captain,” Ecker said. “At the end of last year I was still sitting alone in the booth-even my co-hosts had jumped ship by then- speaking into a microphone I wasn’t entirely sure even worked.”
“WHAT Radio gives students a voice; it’s like an opinion page that runs 24 hours a day.”
“The university came to me, gave me a budget and the leadership position to use it and told me to get the station on its feet again,” he added. “I was more than happy to oblige.”
Ecker said he believes the station can positively affect the campus because its versatility makes it a great outlet for students.
“People can host a show on anything from comic books to U.S. Foreign Policy and everything in between,” he said. “WHAT Radio gives students a voice; it’s like an opinion page that runs 24 hours a day.”
Ecker and Palermo hosted an event last Thursday to celebrate the re-launching of the station and to organize a meet-and-greet for those who were interested in getting involved.
Ecker considered the night a great success and was surprised by the number of people who couldn’t wait to get involved.
“We had people of all interests, all backgrounds, and all majors there ready to get on the air,” he said. “The singular moment for me was when I saw the athletes who wanted to host a sports show talking with the group behind a comic book show and I realized, as cheesy as it sounds, we’re not just running a radio station; we’re building a community.”
Now that the station is up and running, several upgrades are in the works. Ecker said his first order of business is to update the website, which is several years out of date. He also plans to fix up the broadcasting booth and work on a method to broadcast from different events on campus.
WHAT Radio runs 24 hours a day. If someone is not hosting a show, music will be played at random. People can tune in from anywhere in the world by visiting what.stetson.edu.
Ecker said the schedule of hosted programming will be available on the “Stetson WHAT Radio” Facebook page in the near future.