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Student-run WPFS being heard ’round the world

Barry McNamara
10/06/2017

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s student-run WPFS radio station is heard not only on campus but all over the world.

That’s one of the causes for celebration at the FM station (105.9), which observed the seventh annual national College Radio Day with a couple of special events. College Radio Day was officially Oct. 6, but WPFS staff members celebrated it over a two-day period: “Battle of the DJs” on Thursday on Dunlap Terrace, and a Friday preview of its popular program The Backstage Pass.

“A lot more people listen to us now,” said Lily Guillen ’18 of Round Lake Beach, Ill., the station’s music director. “We are now on TuneIn Radio, so people with the app can listen to us now.”

The station is also available online at: monmouthcollege.edu/wpfs.

“My friend from New York listens to us, and when I was a DJ, my parents would listen in from Rushville (Ill.),” said station manager J.R. Boyd ’18.

Guillen said other out-of-region listeners include artists who are interviewed for The Backstage Pass, as well as her sister, who lives in Mexico.

Meeting ‘not-quite-famous’ artists

The Backstage Pass, which premiered last year, features Monmouth students interviewing up-and-coming artists and bands.

“They’re not-quite-famous, but they’re known in their own little scene,” said Guillen, who interviewed members of the New York City-based indie pop band Future Generations for the new season of the program. “All of the bands I’ve interviewed have been fun. Future Generations had me laughing the whole time.”

For his segment, Boyd interviewed Los Angeles-based dream pop singer and songwriter Charlee Remitz.

The preview of The Backstage Pass aired at noon on College Radio Day. It featured highlights from the interviews of the first five artists profiled by WPFS execs this semester, as well as music from those artists.

Future broadcasts of The Backstage Pass will also air at noon on Fridays.

“Every Sunday at 2 p.m., people can listen to a re-run of The Backstage Pass in case they missed it on Friday, and usually the Monday after it also goes up on SoundCloud,” said Guillen.

Guillen herself missed the airing of the preview show, as she was attending the Illinois Broadcasters Association conference at Illinois State University. Accompanying her were three MC-TV execs – Natalie Cordoba ’20 of Morton, Ill., Tate Heiple ’19 of Pekin, Ill., and Denzel Johnson ’19 of Chicago.

A strong start

Boyd and Guillen said the new year at the radio station is off to a good start, and they hope more students will get involved.

“The shows are going fairly well,” said Boyd. “We have a lot of new people on board, and a lot of different types of shows, different genres. ... More student involvement would be great. The more DJs we have, the better.”

Said Guillen: “Working for the radio station is a great opportunity. You can volunteer by working as little as one hour per week, and we also have students who take it for (academic) credit.”

Friday is the busiest day at WPFS, with student-run shows spanning from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. On other weekdays, there is typically live programming from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

When playing programmed music, the station features “a huge variety,” said Guillen. “We play popular music, obscure music, old music. We get a lot of CDs at the station, and that’s one of my jobs – to go through those and look for music to play.”

The station’s other execs are Emma Gawron ’18 of Chicago, Alexi Licata ’18 of Gladstone, Ill., and Emma Pierson-Wentzel ’19 of Sacramento, Calif.