WLFM opens its doors to the community

Veronica DeVore

On Saturday, January 14, Lawrence’s radio station WLFM will play host to an open house intended to highlight the changes the station has recently undergone. The event is part of a year-long celebration of WLFM’s first broadcast fifty years ago.
Three live bands, a live broadcast student performance, station tours, and free food will make up the event, which begins at 8 pm. The first hour of the program will take place in the station itself and will feature student pianist Greg Woodard. The station’s new equipment will make it possible for his performance to be broadcast live on the web. Later in the evening, three live bands will play in Cloak Theater, right next door to the station. The bands are Lawrence’s 8bitbEtty, Chicago’s piglet and Milwaukee’s El Oso.
Up until last year, WLFM broadcast using a standard radio signal and was a Wisconsin Public Radio affiliate. However, after the university conducted an analysis of the financial needs of the station, it was decided that WLFM’s radio signal and FCC license would be sold and that broadcasts would be on the web only. The money made from these sales was used to completely overhaul the station, from the computer system to the carpeting and furniture. “Pretty much everything except a few desk chairs is gone from the old studio,” said WLFM student employee Charles Hagman. A lounge area has also been added to the station to encourage a more user-friendly atmosphere. In addition, the method of broadcasting has changed drastically. Instead of CD players, DJ’s now utilize computer playlists much like Apple’s iTunes while broadcasting. Even when there is no one in the studio, WLFM continues broadcasting using these playlists.
After working hard to produce all of these changes, those involved with WLFM hope that the open house will be a success. Student employee Reid Stratton said that the event has several purposes. “We want to show how much change and exciting things are happening at WLFM and that the station still has a strong future,” he said. Both Stratton and Hagman stressed the importance of student participation in WLFM. Stratton said, “One of our goals has always been to get more student involvement, and this [open house] is a nice way to do so.”

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