Barry McNamara  |  Published October 03, 2018

Celebrating College Radio

Monmouth’s student-operated WPFS-FM to take part in Oct. 5 national celebration of college radio.

WPFS-FM (105.9) – located at the top of Wallace Hall – will celebrate national College Radio Day ... WPFS-FM (105.9) – located at the top of Wallace Hall – will celebrate national College Radio Day on Oct. 5.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Amidst all the festivities surrounding Monmouth College’s Homecoming, another event is worthy of celebration: Oct. 5 is National College Radio Day, and the College’s WPFS-FM is participating.

WPFS For almost 10 years, the College Radio Foundation has promoted College Radio Day with the purpose of raising the profile of U.S. college radio stations and encouraging student participation in the medium.

WPFS, which is 105.9 on the FM dial, will join scores of other stations by airing a simulcast at 1 p.m. Oct. 5, which will feature music and discussion about college radio. Another featured program that day will be the new season’s first episode of the WPFS program Backstage Pass, according to communication studies instructor Chris Goble, the station’s faculty adviser.

“To teach the students how to do it, I actually hosted it,” said Goble, who interviewed a 2012 Monmouth alum, country music artist Ross Clayton. “He started finding his music voice here. He learned to play guitar here.”

That episode will also be posted to the station’s SoundCloud page so people outside of Monmouth can listen to it as well.

New technology has literally taken Monmouth College radio to the world. About a half-century ago, the College’s first radio enthusiasts had their hands full simply getting their signal out on campus.

A radio station that started with an antenna of beer cans plays all sorts of music, including music most listeners have never heard of.

“The first real antenna they had was made of beer cans,” said Goble. “They graduated from that to internet radio and to closed-circuit television on campus cable, until just a few years ago when we got the low-power FM license, and we started to broadcast to the community, as well.”

What the community and – through the internet – what the rest of the world can hear when they tune in is what makes college radio so special, Goble said.

“If you listen to our station, it plays all sorts of music – music you maybe even never heard of,” he said. “We play country and rock and dance and urban – everything gets mixed in. That’s what’s wonderful about college radio, wherever it is. It tends to be that place where almost anything could be on. You get exposed to different music, thoughts and ideas. It’s really hard in commercial radio to do that. It’s hard to sell that.”

What Goble – and the organizers of the Oct. 5 event – are selling is the value of college radio.

“Hundreds and hundreds of (Monmouth) students have been involved (over the years),” said Goble. “A number of them have come back at different times and talked about – whether they went into radio or not – how important college radio was to them.”

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