WVU-P to unveil new radio station

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia University at Parkersburg will be live and on the air in 2015 with its own student-programmed radio station.

Torie Jackson, coordinator of WVU-P’s journalism and public relations programs, said students, staff and volunteers have been setting up the station equipment in a room in the college’s journalism lab, and a 40-foot tower will be installed this week on the roof of the main building.

The 100-watt station will be available at 96.3 FM and will have the call letters WPKM. So far the program hasn’t settled on a call name, though.

“There were several ideas put forward, but none agreed upon yet,” she said.

Jackson said many aspects of the station are still up in the air, such as the format of programming. Earlier this year college officials put out a survey for students to weigh in on the kinds of programming they wanted on the college station.

Jeremy Harrison, a senior journalism and public relations student, has been working on establishing the station and said most students agreed on a rock variety block format.

Jackson said it will take six students to run the station, and the college is required to have live, original programming eight hours a day, though the college has three years to reach that benchmark. Right now the planned live hours will be: Mondays and Tuesdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to midnight; and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Those are the times when we’ll have actual students in the station,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the station has had a tremendous amount of help from area radio stations, DJs and those involved in broadcasting. The college also has had some equipment, software and the labor for setup donated by area individuals and groups.

Students also have spent the past year studying public and college radio stations to determine what formats they use and what might be the best fit for WVU-P.

Harrison said the radio programs will be streamed online so alumni can access the station from other states and areas, and students are looking at a mobile app to allow streaming to mobile phones and tablets.

Jackson said she hopes to get mobile broadcasting equipment for the program so students can do live broadcasts from events on and off campus, such as graduation or events at the college’s downtown campus.

Harrison said he’d also like to see the college periodically feature live music from local bands.

“I’m excited,” he said. “There are a lot of resources out there that we can tap into.”

The college will be introducing a new broadcasting class this fall specifically designed around radio broadcasting. Jackson said her hope is the radio station becomes both a tool for the college and a link to the community.

“We’re really excited for this opportunity to grow the journalism program,” she said. “We hope this becomes a voice for our college to our community.”