WRUR’s audience is much broader than the campus that hosts it. Starting off as just an AM station broadcasting only to the University, nowadays WRUR’s principal audience is comprised of the local Rochester community.
The radio station was recently voted the best station in Rochester by City Newspaper in 2009.
This recognition, along with the station’s enhanced success on the whole, is driven by student initiative.
‘We have expanded immensely”, said Programming Director and junior Tim Sternfeld when asked about the changes at WRUR over the past two years.
Among the developments is the addition of two new studios, the switch to HD quality and a larger transmitter signal that can reach parts of Canada.
The results have been more callers making requests, as well as increased interest from UR students in filling up DJ slots on the FM station.
‘We’ve boosted ourlegitimacy,” Sternfeld said.
Additionally, the growth of the station has been complemented with a larger staff. There are about 20 members of the board as well as about 30 DJs and students in DJ training.
But behind the student-run radio station is a partnership with WXXI, one of Rochester’s professional radio stations.
According to Sternfeld and WRUR General Manager and junior Peter Mcgaughey, WXXI provides WRUR with professional training and other technical support in exchange for some airtime on WRUR’s FM station.
‘We’re a small group for a radio station so it’s hard to fill the entire 24 hours of every day,” Sternfeld said.
But Mcgaughey and Sternfeld acknowledged that there are hardships in collaborating with WXXI because, as a professional radio station, it has a different outlook on what’s happening at WRUR.
‘That was the most difficult part of our integration with WXXI because there’s a lot of arguments about, oh you should have this show here, you should have this show there,” Mcgaughey said. ‘We have our opinion about what we want on our station and they have their opinion about what they want on their station and it’s trying to find the middle ground.”
Mcgaughey explained that each radio station makes their own decisions about their allotted time on the FM station.
‘That’s made it a lot simpler because we can program what we want to on our station and focus on learning on teaching good DJing skills,” Mcgaughey said.
Despite the challenges, both Mcgaughey and Sternfeld agreed that WRUR would not be in the same position that it is today if it weren’t for the immense help of WXXI. Due to their broad audience, the FM station avoids identifying or referring to campus-related activities, and besides the two daily NPR news shows, it is entirely music-oriented. Facing those restrictions, WRUR launched ‘The Sting” its new internet radio station this past September, in an effort to reach the River Campus.
Those who do not wish to follow the FM regulations and want to go about broadcasting with a more relaxed attitude can be featured on ‘The Sting.” ‘The Sting” is also an important outlet for new DJs, who have just completed their training, to practice broadcasting before they go on the FM station.
‘It’s a realistic environment while you’re recording,” Mcgaughy said. ‘It’s just the stigma while you’re broadcasting live. It’s still different than recording.”
‘Because “The Sting’ has looser regulations, it doesn’t have the same audience, but [it is] for people who just want to play for their friends and family and don’t want to worry about working with the FM rules,” Sternfeld said.
Students can use ‘The Sting” as a portal to the Rochester community. ‘The Sting” has recently started to broadcast sports games and it hopes to expand to featuring concerts from both Eastman and the UR, as well as interesting lectures from visitors on campus.
Despite its outward community focus, WRUR has a strong vision of its future on campus.
‘The most important thing for me is integrating the University as much as possible,” Mcgaughey said.
Sternfeld concurred. ‘I would really love for the WRUR to become a common name at the University, for everyone to have a friend who’s got a show that they listen to, to be able to walk around campus and hear WRUR playing out of someone’s dorm room,” he said.
Radovani is a member of the class of 2012