Music listeners in today’s digital-driven society are drawn to online streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and iTunes where one can access millions of songs and customize playlists. But, one thing streaming services can’t offer is a connection to a listener’s community and an authentic reflection of its audience. WLFC 88.3, the University of Findlay’s student-led radio station, has made strides over the past year to guarantee high-quality programming with one goal in mind: being a “voice for the community, reflecting the voices of the people in the community.”
After realizing what was needed for the station to be more proficient and relate to its audience, Doug Jenkins, WLFC station manager led a series of updates for WLFC which started with a website and logo re-design last year.
“The problem with the website was you could tell we hadn’t done anything with it for months because no articles were posted. You can look at other college radio stations, and it will be months since their last update,” said Jenkins. “We needed to stop trying to generate content because the first thing we need to do is put things on the air.”
The website now features a sleek and simple homepage allowing viewers to easily navigate the live stream, DJ profiles, shows, social media and more. “Now it’s all streamlined and scaled to mobile. It will easily fit your phone screen,” said Jenkins.
At the top center of the website’s homepage is WLFC’s new guitar pick-shaped logo featuring the University’s well-known building, Old Main with airwaves coming off of it. “It fits with the new brand of the University. That was lacking from the old logo. It didn’t tie back to the University,” Jenkins explained.
As a reflection of WLFC’s aim to provide independent labeled music to fit its audience, the station’s slogan, “Something Different,” transformed to “Findlay’s Indie” as well.
Following the facelift, WLFC updated its streaming server which improved the sound when listening online. Next, they focused on updating the automation system which schedules all programming that goes on air. Jenkins recalled using a similar automation system to what WLFC was recently using when he was a student at UF in 2001.
“Everything I’ve used since I graduated is more user-friendly than that,” said Jenkins, “What we have now is way closer to what you would use if you were to work in radio professionally.”
Bobby Beebe, WLFC general manager and Masters of Art in Rhetoric and Writing student, found that the updated automation system led the station to make further improvements.
“The new automation system fails less often and is easier to navigate which gives us more time to devote to adding new music, improving DJs’ quality over air and recording more original content,” said Beebe. “It gives us more of a chance to make whatever we’re putting out over air sound better and as professional as possible.”
Mixing It Up
As a result of the time relieved by the new automation system, all WLFC DJs contribute to selecting music to air, which provides listeners a diverse lineup of independent labeled music. WLFC primarily airs indie-rock music, but listeners may hear indie hip-hop and other genres that reflect the staff’s music tastes.
“Having a mix of all different things is the whole point of college radio,” Beebe explained. “It shouldn’t ever be repetitive or boring because we are trying to be different from the other stations.”
The same goes for the station’s shows, which are created by the staff to inform and entertain its Findlay audience. WLFC continues to air news updates and original shows such as “Blue Ridge Breakdown” featuring bluegrass and “Jazz Afternoons” but recently introduced new talk shows like the “Countdown” and the “Takeover.”
“On the Countdown they talk about the top five things like sports, pop culture and music,” said Beebe. “‘The Takeover’ is a talk show all about being a college student where we bring in people to talk about things happening on campus, music or sports. They’re all authentic student voices.”
“The Lunchbreak” is also a new talk show started by Beebe which consists of interviews with individuals and groups from the community to tell stories. Beebe considers it their “‘own take on this American life.”
Growing with the Audience
Since 2015, WLFC has gone from three DJs to 17. With this growth and its recent updates, the station is able to reach its audience better than ever. Beebe believes that the station has gained a new identity through this transition and the station will continue to solidify its identity by connecting with the community.
“A lot of the people who listen to the station don’t necessarily go to UF, but they’re a part of this community of listenership, so we want to air whatever people want to hear. And, we want to show off what’s going on in Findlay,” said Beebe. “We are a voice for the community, reflecting the voices of the people in the community.”
For information about how to get involved with WLFC, contact Doug Jenkins at email@example.com.