Culture / News

Upgrade U: WHCS Radio gets technical to improve listener experience

Photo by Michael Waxman

Thanks to a rollover from last year’s budget, WHCS Radio will be able to make some technical upgrades that will allow it to broadcast through a mobile app and make other adjustments to improve listener experience for this fall and beyond.

The station’s budget of $47,934 for 2018 includes rollover funds that will result in a 33 percent budget increase from last year, which inspired its executive board to part ways with the station’s former server provider. After experiencing a multitude of technical difficulties that resulted in the loss of about 15 to 20 radio programs last spring, the E-Board decided to start the fall semester with a new server provider named Radio.co. The switch required more than 24 hours of labor from the station’s board members and technical support staff, but John Ribaudo, the club’s treasurer, believes their work will pay off.

“You can expect no cutoffs and better sound quality,” Ribaudo said. “You can also expect a few technical glitches because it’s a new interface. We’re getting used to it.”

Currently, listeners can tune in by visiting whcsradio.org and clicking on the black and red widget on the home page. This will not be the only way to tune in for long, however. The changes this fall have a two-fold purpose.

Unlike the last server provider, Radio.co supports the development of an app that will make listening to WHCS Radio on mobile devices more convenient. Though the E-Board has not formally begun discussing plans related to the app’s development, there are plans to develop it this semester. In the meantime, the website has been refurbished and reorganized to acquaint listeners with different aspects of the station, including a program schedule and a portfolio of work created by members of the station.

“Our current E-Board has gone through hell and highwater,” said Max Pecora, the systems technician at WHCS Radio. “I’m not surprised that they’ve got a lot of ambition towards upgrading the user listening experience.”

The station will also offer nearly a full schedule of radio content this semester, with 41 programs airing from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays; until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and until 6 p.m. on Fridays. Unlike last semester, WHCS has a waiting list for those interested in airing shows between now until the end of the year. However, board members are still encouraging students to get involved by participating in the events that the station will host throughout the semester, including music workshops, movie nights, student concerts, open mics, rap battles, and DJ spin-offs.

“We’re letting people know that WHCS is all student-powered and all student-run, and we want to have as many voices as possible on our airwaves and at our events,” said Ribaudo.

Cristina Genao, a freshman studying creative writing and music, is already on the program schedule with her show called “Songbird Isle,” a performance art piece in which Genao plays a lonely, 84-year-old woman who imagines a kingdom (set in Waterbury, Conn.) of which she is the queen.

“People always said I had a voice for radio, so I really wanted to see what would happen if I actually got a show,” Genao said. “The community at the radio station has such a vibrant energy; there’s never nothing going on. I’m excited to meet even more new people, to see what I can do with my show and maybe be on other people’s shows! Who knows?”

For more information, visit whcsradio.org or stop by Room 309 West, at the south end of the Skywalk.

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