Last summer, Deerfield’s student-run radio station, WGAJ, permanently shut its doors. Even though the school decided to scrap the program several years ago, it made final arrangements regarding the sale of the station’s frequency just months ago.
Widespread use of the station, which, according to Student Activities Coordinator Timothy McVaugh, was “at one time very popular,” declined over recent years as fewer students owned radios and listened to the station.
According to Chief Financial Officer Joseph Manory ’80, “There was a lack of interest on the part of students [in the station]…so it just didn’t make much sense to continue to offer the program.”
In addition to a lack of student interest, Mr. McVaugh cited the costliness of the station’s upkeep as a reason for its demise.
The Finance Office sold the valuable FCC license to WFCR, a public radio station based at UMass in Amherst, that has radio coverage throughout western New England. After the $10,000 sale, the call sign changed to WNNZ-FM.
As for the future of student-run radio, WFCR has agreed to work with Deerfield students, promising that “there will be opportunities available for those interested in broadcasting to work directly with WFCR,” said Mr. Manory. Dean of Students Toby Emerson is available to coordinate with interested students.
Online video streaming may be a superior option for student broadcasting. “Based on how technology has evolved, video streaming is where we would logically go, but there are issues to look into, such as the interest from students, the need for faculty support, the IT infrastructure required to make it work, and the cost of running such a program,” Mr. Manory said
“I’m excited about what [broadcasting] can morph into…what it can become,” said Mr. McVaugh. He added that the goal and challenge of such student-run broadcasting is “to appeal to the most students, faculty,…[and alums] as possible.”