Barry McNamara  |   Published September 30, 2020

World College Radio Day

Monmouth’s WPFS-FM (105.9) will be part of the global celebration on Oct. 2.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s student-run WPFS-FM will celebrate World College Radio Day Oct. 2.

Communications studies lecturer Chris Goble, who has served as the adviser for Monmouth College radio since 2004, said the celebration will include a College Radio Day documentary airing at noon.

AT THE CONTROLS: Chris Goble has been the adviser for Monmouth College's radio station since ... AT THE CONTROLS: Chris Goble has been the adviser for Monmouth College's radio station since 2004.WPFS can be heard in the Monmouth area at 105.9 on FM and worldwide at wpfsradio.caster.fm.

College Radio Day was first held in 2010 at William Paterson University in New Jersey, making this year the 10th anniversary of what Goble called a unifying effort.

“College Radio Day tries to unite college radio stations, not just in the United States but across the world, to put in focus what most college radio stations see as their primary mission: the support of music and programming that otherwise wouldn’t be on commercial stations because they’re not popular enough or viable enough,” he said.

The importance of college radio

Goble said that college radio gives students a valuable cocurricular experience while exposing listeners to programming they might not hear on commercial or even public radio stations.

“A good number of low-power FMs, like our station, are student-run stations, as are stations that are streaming or online and not broadcast, but really have the same mission – a place where students can go and really learn how to do radio and get the chance to be on the air and a place where you can do programming that no one else does because it’s just not financially viable,” he said.

In 2015, the College used College Radio Day to help launch its new FM broadcast capabilities and officially transition to the station’s new call letters – WPFS, short for “Proud Fighting Scots.”

“Each year, we have student executives,” said Goble. “Most of the students are on the air. They either take a workshop, which is a one-course credit in communication studies, where they work a three-hour show on the air, or they volunteer to do it. They just want to come in and do a show.”

“A number of our students are doing podcasts, where they’re creating their show at home. … We’ve had students do an all-bagpipe show, which is pretty Monmouth-appropriate. We’ve had a show all in Spanish.”
Chris Goble, WPFS-FM adviser


Goble offers his student radio personalities some simple guidance: “Alumni, parents and friends could be listening. You need to be thinking about all of them when you design a show. It can’t be interesting only to you.”

“In our current (pandemic) situation, a number of our students are doing podcasts, where they’re creating their show at home,” he said. “We have shows that range from one exclusively on musicals to students who pick different genres of music. We have students who do total talk shows on sports or other subjects. We’ve had students do an all-bagpipe show, which is pretty Monmouth-appropriate. We’ve had a show all in Spanish.”

Communication studies majors aren’t the only ones who benefit from the opportunity to have a radio station on campus.

“Any student across any major can do this,” said Goble. “We’ve even had faculty members do their own show.”

Long tradition on campus

While College Radio Day is celebrating its 10th anniversary, radio at Monmouth is approaching its 60th.

“Radio at Monmouth goes back to the 1960s,” said Goble. “They cobbled together equipment, including a famous story that alumni like to tell of a beer can antenna. Cans weren’t aluminum back then, and the metal would conduct the signal decently well.”

From those humble beginnings, Monmouth radio grew to baseband broadcasting, then to closed-circuit television and then to online and streaming.

In the 2020s, podcasts are “the next big thing.” In fact, said Goble, they’re so big these days that the current generation of students often identifies much more with them than with traditional radio.

“It’s fundamentally the same idea that you’re creating something in an audio form for an audience – something that they don’t hear in other places,” he said of podcasts. “Our students are different now and often don’t think of it like ‘radio.’ I even had one student say to me, ‘So this radio thing is just like podcasts.’ I went, ‘No, wait a minute. Podcasts are just like radio. Let’s at least get the chronology here right.’”

Listen Up …

Chris Goble talks about WPFS-FM and World College Radio Day on the 1853 Podcast. (Interview begins at 11:55.)

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