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WRKE: The Wreck of Roanoke College


Nathaniel Rioux

Staff Writer

Any student who has passed by the Colket Center on a typical afternoon will often hear the sounds of music or a talk show playing out over the quad for anyone to hear. And while the origin of the music is relatively known as that little corner room on the second floor with the banner below the windows, many don’t seem to know the inner workings of this group. The group is none other the WKRE, the local student run radio station on campus. Recently I sat down with John Stang, current Programming Director of WKRE, for a short interview to shed some light on this lesser known club on campus.

Nathaniel Rioux: So what does your job, as programing director, do on campus?

John Stang: Basically overseeing the general programing. Trying to find a balance between music shows and news shows, and also trying to plan activities for the student body to participate in.

Nathaniel Rioux: What would be the best way to describe WRKE?

John Stang:  Well first we are a full student run organization, we do have a couple of faculty advisors but it’s all student run, hands on. I would also add that we play primarily music, but we’ve have gone slightly back towards an alternative radio station, which again all depends on who is really there. I’d also like to add that we try to serve the Roanoke College community as well. We are one of the few, besides the Brackety-Ack, major news outlets that Roanoke College has. We try and serve in that capacity if that is possible.

Nathaniel Rioux: Now I know that in today’s digital age, most people have stopped reading newspapers. Have you noticed a similar trend, as in have people stopped listening to the radio, or are less frequent then before?

John Stang: Yeah, the radio is an older medium. I mean people our age don’t tend to have a radio in their room. The biggest contingency with listeners is if they are in their car, or listening online at WKRE.org.  And yeah they number of listeners has been less with time, so we are trying to experiment with new ways of getting listeners. Same way with the newspaper, you have to tailor make an online newspaper to better fit your audience.

Nathaniel Rioux: A reader wants to know your favorite WRKE story. As in most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on, or off air, or like an inside story from the radio station. What would be the most interesting story about the radio that you can share?

Stang: I can tell you a personal story, a really funny one actually. I haven’t told anybody this. When I started doing radio as a sophomore, I was doing my political show and I gotten kind of a tour of the radio station, they showed me where the mics are and stuff like that. And when I first go in there is this one guy in there, he was playing music so he wasn’t really playing any attention at that point and I accidently forget to turn on the mic to go on the air. So I am talking to myself and not into the, for like 45 minutes, and Val (former programming manger) comes in and sees what’s going on. So she presses the on button after she realizes I am not actually broadcasting over the air. So my first words were “Oh s***.” So my first words on the air were curse words.

WRKE is a student lead organization on campus so any student who has a passion for all things radio is allowed, and encouraged to join the club.

Special thanks to John Stang.