The College Radio Rundown

Radio, being one of the founding fathers of mass communication, it has a place in all of our lives. Whether we turn it on our car stereos or catch snippets of it in our local grocery stores, the unseen voices of radio permeate anywhere with a connection. Lucky enough for me, Central Washington University has one of the best college radio programs in the country. Ranked #1 in 2015 for college radio stations, 88.1 The Burg is home to a select few students, and thankfully, I am one of them. Unlike any other club or program on campus, 88.1 gives students the unique opportunity to have their voices broadcasted on a real radio station to the entire Ellensburg area, and if using the internet, the whole world. Being a part of the station has brought me many opportunities and even more memories, making it my favorite part of college so far.  

I joined The Burg almost immediately after I got to school. When touring CWU in my sophomore year of high school I had seen them tabling and was super interested, that plus the fact I already had a friend in the station made me certain that I wanted to be a part of it all. After the training process, which taught me the ins and outs of the programs used such as Wide Orbit and Audition, I applied for a show. Just like that, 10-11 am was my block and my baby. I called my show The Lo Down (I went by Lo on air), and every day I got to go in and talk about virtually whatever I wanted. The creative freedom was amazing and forced me to keep my creative juices flowing 24/7, always on the lookout for new content. The show birthed a segment I still use today, Lauren Complains, where I complain about the unnecessary, unneeded, and irrelevant things that go on in my daily life that make me just a little bit angry. My daily life became just that much more interesting as every time something memorable happened, I’d write it down and turn it into a segment for my show, again keeping my mind creatively sharp. Since then, I’ve changed my show name to Me Time and continue the shenanigans from 8-9 pm on weeknights, so be sure to tune in! 

Perhaps it’s just the narcissist in me, but something about people recognizing my voice on the radio and then telling me they heard me talk was so propelling for me. I really realized a passion that was before unknown to me for mass communication. Radio is such a personality-based medium that makes it very inclusive. No superficial regulations, because no one can see you, instead, you use your voice and thoughts to create an audience of listeners who like you for what you say. I loved that and continue to love it to this day. It opened up an opportunity to do a show with my best friend, two freshmen talking about god knows what from 10 pm-12am is hands down one of my favorite memories at CWU, and none of it would have been possible without The Burg. Not only has the station provided me with on-air space, but also a job, and let me tell you, working in an environment you already like to be in is a blessing I cherish deeply.  

To be real with you, while college radio does sound like a dream, there are some hardships that come with it. As a perfectionist, I and spend up to 30 minutes on one, one-minute segment. Rerecording forever because it just doesn’t sound how I want it to. Or even coming up with content in the first place can be difficult. Somedays I feel uninspired or nothing notable has happened for me to talk about. It can be really frustrating because you feel the need to produce engaging, unique content to keep your audience engaged. Sometimes it feels like you’re just not funny or your content isn’t worth talking about and it can be hard. But that’s where the growth comes from because 10 times out of 10 you suck it up, rework your bit and move forward.  

All in all, being in college radio has introduced me to the best people, amazing opportunities, and countless memories. If you’re thinking of joining, I’d so go ahead and just do. There’s more than just being on-air as well, podcasting, news, videography, etc. All sorts of different fields to try, and you never know what passion might be out there that just isn’t uncovered yet, and you’ll never know until you try.