WRUR

Aaron Schaffer, Photo Editor

WRUR’s programming time has skyrocketed in the last few months. Moreover, the  station aims to continue expansion this semester as more ideas and people converge behind “that door covered with weird stickers at Todd Union,” as WRUR General Manager MacLain Christie put it.

The Sting, WRUR’s online counter-part, currently has 27 shows that span 32 hours of weekly air time as well as a staff of almost 30 members and many more DJ’s. WRUR seek to expand its presence, both on campus and beyond, with an expected 13 hours of daily content — most of it streamed live.

Kevin Scantlen, WRUR Program Director for the Sting, said that the 13-hour goal is attainable once they are able to record shows or music and play them at any time throughout the day. This will be in addition to the five to eight shows that they have every day, with Thursday topping the list with a ten-hour period of live stream time.

“We can literally play 24/7, 365 days a year. Anytime for real,” Scantlen said. “We have so much potential, and it is just so exciting that we have all that time to fill up.”

However, both Scantlen and Christie agreed that one of the main challenges was attracting more DJs to the station and making the possibility of having a show something that appeals to the average student.

As one of the leaders of last semesters training program, Scantlen pointed out how difficult and sometimes boring it was to go through the four-week program that included an exam and a rigorous demo. “I sat down and told [the board]: this is too much,” Scantlen said.

Because of this need for more DJs, the training program, which focused heavily on the Federal Communications Commission regulations, that do not apply to internet radio and can be found in any manual at the station, has been reduced to two weeks. There is also no exam.

“Now I just keep getting emails from all these people who want demos,” Scantlen remarked.

According to Christie, the main challenge for projecting the station to the student community is the enormous presence of other mainstream digital services such as iTunes and Spotify.

“This college generation is not used to trusting someone else to pick and curate music for them,” Christie said. “That’s the challenge that we are giving to our audience as well — that you trust us in the content that we are trying to provide.”

Many ideas are being tossed around by the station to increase their presence on campus. Having recently covered the men’s basketball team’s successful season, WRUR plans to expand its sports programming by adding one or two talk shows for campus and national sporting events.

However, the main and most recent project is the launching of a new marketing department that anyone on campus can join. The station has also been trying to partner up with UR Communications to stream live videos taken at performances in Strong Auditorium as well as guest lectures.

Other projects being discussed are the possibility of streaming the Friday Night performances at Starbucks and interviewing musicians who visit Rochester.

Just last week, Scantlen had a phone interview with the genre-blending music group Big Gigantic. He posted the transcript to WRUR’s blog and, so far, has had positive feedback from the public.

“Rochester is definitely a music hub. I mean, we have Eastman. We want the Sting to be part of that music and arts scene too.”
A particularly ambitious project seeks to establish a small studio at Eastman School of Music so that students there can run their own shows without commuting to the River Campus.

“Almost anyone who has anything valuable to say or share will get a space in the station,” said Christie.

“As long as it’s not illegal, you are good to go,” Scantlen added.

Freshman Alexander Keller started his own show just last semester. He currently runs “Underground Museum” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

“I came up with the show’s name first, and it became very popular among the staff,” Keller said. “I thought that it would be cool to have a show for artists that normally don’t get a lot of attention and give the UR community a little bit of exposure to them. So far, I love it, and I think they do too.”

Evan McLaughlin, another freshman, is one of Keller’s regular listeners. “‘Underground Museum’ exposed me to so much music I never thought I would like or even try to listen,” he remarked. “I never miss a show now.”

Keller is also working on the possibility of creating an Android app to give The Sting an edge against the other smart phone alternatives.

Christie sees the enthusiasm of the staff as one of the best aspects of working with WRUR: “People have ideas, and we want to share these ideas. Maybe we do a show on the Sting spontaneously or we go and make something in the engineering room. It’s just a very fun collaboration environment for a lot of creative people to interact.”

Just this Monday, Feb. 25, WRUR launched what Christie described as their new “flagship” show: “Talk of the Station.” Playing Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the program features new music, popular topics, and guest interviews.

Hoping for the best, Christie and Scantlen agreed that ultimately, the success of the Sting comes down to the listeners.

“Sometimes, all it takes is that extra step to go to the website and click ‘listen,’” said Christie.

Pinera is a member of the class of 2014.



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