Lesley University Needs a Student Radio Station: A Follow Up

[Editor’s note:  This article is a follow up to an article that Jack Yarrows first wrote in September 2016.  Since then, he and other members of the Radio Club have surveyed nearly 200 students on campus about whether they’d be interested in having a student-run radio station.]

Jack Yarrows is a LUCAD student, majoring in Fine Arts.

Since November of 2016, I have been meeting with fellow students on campus to try and formulate a plan to get Lesley Radio up and running. We concluded that there was a general misconception that no one at Lesley was interested in a station, or that none of the students cared.  We didn’t believe it, but in order to test that theory, we went out and surveyed students from LUCAD, and CLAS, in order to get as many opinions as possible.  The results were surprisingly positive.

Not only did people express excitement about the possibility of a radio station starting on campus, but they also gave constructive feedback, as in what music the station should play.  And far from being indifferent, many survey participants even asked if they could join the station. Some of the trends I noticed when I was surveying students were that many people, when confronted with the question, “what type of music do you prefer,” responded with, “everything.” This trend became so consistent that we had to modify the questions to probe further; and this is where we got real data we could play with.

Many students gave the response of enjoying “rock” or “classic rock,” which I predicted would be quite popular. But I was also surprised at the amount of people who were excited about the possibility of hearing their favorite indie or underground bands getting some airtime. Many students also favored Hip-Hop, Alternative Music, and Punk. This wide range of musical tastes coupled with the visual excitement and participation I witnessed while taking surveys really got me ecstatic about all the possibilities a radio station brings to Lesley.

What got me even further excited was the few people who said “Local Bands” were the source of their favorite music. The idea that we could have local bands play on air for an attentive and devoted fan base is way too huge an opportunity to pass up. I brought this idea up to friends who play in bands, and even a professor who plays drums in a local jazz band, and both parties asked immediately when they could come in to play for me and the radio club when we go on the air. After doing some of these interviews, and getting a feel for what students at Lesley think, I have come to the conclusion that not only does Lesley want a radio station… it needs one.

I recently attended the regional meetings of IBS (the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Society) at Simmons College, with Professor Halper and a fellow Lesley Radio Club member.  In addition to seminars and panels, I had the pleasure of talking to many experienced people in the radio field. One of the functions I attended mentioned some points that really caught my attention. One of the major positives that having a radio station gives to Lesley is the fact that when people listen to the radio they will get an impression of Lesley University and who we are as a college. People will relate to the mood the station gives out, and soon enough the public will fall in love and become fans of the college. This can be achieved easily by not only playing popular and outside of the box music, but also hosting entertaining and innovative talk sessions with our faculty, or providing a venue for local comedy, or even for Lesley students who are entertainers.

In addition, Lesley Radio can give a new and improved profile to our sports teams, and rejuvenate the feeling of school spirit. And when this occurs, and our schools spirit is at an all-time-high, we can attract more students who are interested in what we have to offer. They will have the chance to hear actual students talking on air, or listen to what our athletes and faculty are doing, before they even come for the school tour.  High school graduates considering Lesley will get to hear about our activities and become immersed in the Lesley experience in a comfortable way:  through the radio waves. Another bit of advice I picked up at the IBS conference was the way in which we could go “on the field” and broadcast from sports game live, and give students updates of what’s happening. With portable equipment, we could also broadcast school functions, host interviews, and truly become a key part of Lesley’s core functions.

The results of the surveys have reinforced what I always believed:  I am more certain now than ever that Lesley Radio is not only a feasible and popular goal among many students, but it would become an immensely helpful benefit for Lesley University. Almost every person I’ve talked to about the radio club, and the radio station, wants to join; or they express a desire for there to be a live broadcasting radio station that they could participate in. Lesley needs to have this medium of communication, and it’s not just me saying it. I really look forward to being able to talk over the air, to make people’s day a little better, and to make a difference here at Lesley.  But until that time I will write my thanks to everyone who’s liked our Facebook page, and everyone who gives continuous support for the club. And I hope you’ll be hearing Lesley Radio very soon.

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