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St. Kate's own radio station gives students a voice

It was a year in the making, but when Communications Professor Joshua Haringa launched a campus-wide radio station in September, excitement was running high.

Developing a voice
RadioHere came to fruition after Haringa worked closely with alumna Annette Dias ’10 to lay the groundwork for a station that would give students – as well as others in the St. Kate’s community – their own voice.

“If the school’s mission is about developing women’s voices, what a concrete way to do that, to have public voice,” said Haringa. “As we’re talking to students and developing critical awareness and consciousness, it’s great for them to voice those thoughts and opinions amongst themselves, but how do we fit in and how do we connect to these larger communities?”

Haringa found the answer to this fundamental question in the creation of RadioHere, which has the capability to stream broadcasts from the St. Paul campus of St. Catherine University, to potentially, anywhere in the world.

“We are global. You have the world as your audience,” said Haringa.

Endless possibilities
The format of the radio station is open, allowing for students to bring their own ideas to the soundboard. By making a commitment to the station of two hours per week, students can launch a show in whatever format they choose, whether it be music, talk, news or even public discourse.

Amanda Vance, a student who broadcasts at RadioHere, is sharing a genre of music on her Thursday show that gets relatively little play.

“I thought it would be really cool to do,” said Vance. “It’s mostly because I have a passion for Japanese and Korean music, and you can’t hear that on the radio, because nobody plays it.”

Vance also serves as staff manager for the station, making sure that DJs are on air during the preset show times. She said even though broadcasting is on a volunteer basis, it was an offer she couldn’t pass up.

“You get to play the music that you want for two hours and you get to talk about it,” said Vance. “Or if you want to talk about issues that have to do with women or gender issues, you can talk about that. We have a couple of girls that, their show is where they talk about issues that affect women and female empowerment. So it’s not just music, you can have talk shows. We have one girl and somebody else that are talking about political issues and how they affect St. Kate’s students here on campus.”

Complementing college education
Vance said one student signed up to conduct a marketing campaign for the station, and that undergrad is getting credit for her work in one of her courses.

In fact, a number of professors have signed on to incorporate work with the radio station into their courses, including Professor of Music Allison Adrian, Professor of Communication Studies Rafael Cervantes, and Haringa himself.

RadioHere resides on the second floor of the Speech Building, with three separate rooms designated for its use. The suite includes an office for faculty and staff, a recording studio and a production studio. The station is anxiously seeking more DJs to join its ranks, opening the door to anyone in the campus community in its debut year.

At RadioHere, there is also the potential to harness the global sound waves in order to promote social justice.

“Part of social justice, I think, is giving voice to other people’s stories, to the disenfranchised, doing a living history,” said Haringa. “If people were turned on by ‘This American Life’ type radio documentary work, I think that’s a really powerful way to report on the world.”

If the pressure to go on air live is too much for budding broadcasters, there are other options. The recording studio allows for students to prerecord a piece for RadioHere in lieu of producing a live show.

Haringa said he would also like to see the station utilized for campus events – recording lectures, discussions and even brown bag lunches, in order to create an oral history of the university.

“I had hoped that the radio station would be the sound archivist of the university,” said Haringa. “For students to recognize and acknowledge that they have voices now – opinions, thoughts that ought to be shared and preserved – and that this is a tool to do that, I think it’s great.”

Invaluable experience
Steve Nelson, Program Director of Minnesota Public Radio News, began his radio broadcast career at Radio K, a campus radio station at the University of Minnesota. He said the experience was invaluable.

“The education that I got from working at Radio K was the most valuable part of my college experience by far. For me, the best way to learn is to do, and when you’re at a college radio station, you get to do everything,” said Nelson.

RadioHere, a student-run campus organization, will present an abstract at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, New York, at the end of March. The station will also be on hand during the student activities fair, and it maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

To listen to RadioHere, visit radiohere.stkate.edu

yla

Feb. 11, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Arts, Business, Liberal Arts, Students