89.5 WJMU The Quad

Caitlin Husted, Staff Writer

On Friday’s, most students are off to their own activities; the school week behind them and the weekend full of opportunities.

But while the rest of the school is gone, few students remain. Senior communications and sociology major and program manager Ben Murrow settles himself in the WJMU studio to provide students commercial free music and entertainment at 4:00 p.m. on this Friday afternoon.

Murrow began working at WJMU during his second semester of his freshman year. At the beginning of his sophomore year he was asked to be the sports director on the executive board, which is the position he held until his junior year when he was asked to be program manager.

“I didn’t think I would have the opportunity [to be program manager] until my senior year, but then the opportunity provided itself,” Murrow said.

Being a part of the WJMU team has provided Murrow with experience for his desired field of work. He has gotten plenty of air time, allowing him to become more comfortable behind the microphone, which is an opportunity students at a larger school may not be offered.

Not to mention that many colleges are eliminating their college radio stations due to the expense of licenses. However, Millikin’s WJMU is still going strong.

Many students walk by the WJMU studio and don’t realize it. Located in lower RTUC, WJMU doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.

“It’s like the fish bowl effect,” Sam Meister, faculty adviser for WJMU, said. “People walk by to use the restrooms and say, ‘Whoa, we have a radio station?’”

Although many students may not be aware of the station, 89.5 has been around since March of 1971. Since there was an increase in the popularity of college radio, a group of Millikin juniors pitched the idea of a college radio station to Student Senate. They approved and WJMU became a part of Millikin’s campus.

Although WJMU started out as a small organization, it has grown over the last 40 years. Right now, around 40 students are involved in some way at the station. Not only that, but instead of broadcasting only for 10 hours a day—as it was in the past—it now broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Each semester we put together a schedule of regular programming, which is usually a daily two hour program drive time called The Drive, which runs every day of the week, and then there’s Radio Española, which Professor Cabrera runs every Wednesday night,” Meister said. “Those are the two that are there every semester. Pretty much everything other than those two programs is up in the air.”

Other programs broadcasted throughout the week include: The Morning Stroll, Wake Up Millikin, This is the Sports Show, Retro Radio, Otaku Corner, Talk About Awkward, Instant Transmission, Party Spock, Beauty & the Geek and The Songs You Should Know.

From 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. is regular college alternative programing, and after that is specialty programming, which includes prerecorded tracks by the students who are involved in the Intro class. Although they are not behind a live microphone, this opportunity gives them a chance to get their feet wet and leads them into being more prepared when they are actually live.

WJMU is a great example of the hands on learning that Millikin offers it students. It gives students the opportunity to gain real life experience before graduating, which puts them ahead of the game.

“It’s one of the few things that while we certainly are a college oriented and college licensed radio station, you can leave here after working at WJMU for four years and say ‘I have as close to professional experience as I’m going to get,’” Meister said.

At 6:00 p.m., Murrow signs off of WJMU and packs up for the weekend, a smile on his face after the joy of doing what he loves. He turns off the lights and shuts the door, already looking forward to the next time he gets to be on the air.

Although many of the students are communication majors or minors, any student that is interested is encouraged to become involved. If interested in becoming a part of WJMU contact Ben Murrow at [email protected]