Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
At the semi-annual WSRN “Big Meeting” this Sunday, there was a lot of excitement about “the new WSRN,” a more thematic and more dynamic radio station that you can now listen to at your own convenience. DJ hopefuls are expected to turn in their applications by Tuesday night, with the new schedule being unveiled on Friday and broadcasting beginning Monday the 18th.
According to WSRN webmaster Matt Singleton ’07, the WSRN website will be moving from wsrn.swarthmore.org to wsrnfm.org when broadcasting begins. With the new domain name comes more dynamic content. Last year’s website displayed the show currently playing, but the new website will step that up a notch to tell visitors the song currently playing as well. There will also be a program that tallies all of the tracks played in a week and then charts the most popular tunes both in each department and overall.
WSRN is also taking a cue from War News Radio by creating podcasts of each and every hour of radio that will be offered shortly after the show runs live. If your friend’s folk-ska show plays during your Bio lab, now you’ll be able to download it the next day and listen to it on your own time. Right now, the plan is for all podcasts to remain on the website until the end of the semester, when they will be taken down to avoid copyright issues.
Studio B, which is used for sound recording, is also getting an overhaul, with funding assistance from the a cappella groups. The new microphones and new acoustic padding will be unveiled when broadcasting starts on Monday.
Another important category of changes involves programming decisions. WSRN General Manager Nash Adamson ’07 plans to push for a more thematic schedule on the weekdays, featuring classical shows in the morning, folk, jazz, and world music in the afternoons, and rock and hip-hop in the evening. Talk shows have traditionally been on Sunday afternoons, said Adamson, but their location this year will “depend on how many applications we get.” This thematic schedule will make it easier to promote WSRN to both Swarthmore students and residents of the Ville, whom Adamson hopes to draw in with “NPR-style” programming in the mornings. The station will also be running a poster competition between the DJs to see who can most effectively promote their show.
Right now, explained Adamson, “the schedule is so incoherent that if it’s not your friend’s show, you have no idea what you’re going to get–if we can promise that there will always be a jazz hour at five, that will make the schedule more transparent.” This plan will require at least five people willing to do a show of each kind of music, but Adamson isn’t worried. “If we don’t get five, we’ll find five.” He also wants shows with specific themes. “When you fill out your application,” he told the aspiring DJs, “it’s better to pitch a show of hip-hop from the late 1980s than it is to pick ten random songs from your iPod.”
Also new this year, WSRN will be broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The time from 4-8 AM has traditionally been silent, as very few people are willing to run a weekly show at that time. This year, Adamson said, “we’ll start playing an iTunes playlist when the last DJ leaves.” DJs will have the opportunity to program their own four-hour playlists. Why is WSRN making this shift now? “Because we can,” said Adamson. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to listen to music all the time. I’m looking forward to see what happens… we can play all sorts of really trippy stuff at four AM that you just wouldn’t hear in the afternoon.”
Even with all the changes that are in store, it sounds like WSRN is going to stay left of the dial.