Do you like listening to music? Do you like being “in the know” when it comes to what’s happening in the world? Do you like cheering for your fellow Scots while they’re scoring another basket or kicking another goal? Lyon College hasn’t had its own radio station for decades—until now. And you’ll be able to enjoy all of these and more when you tune in this fall.
While the new Lyon College radio station has been approved, there is still much work to be done before broadcasting can begin. The faculty director, Dr. Szulga, explains what the station needs in order to get started.
“It’s going to be internet-based, which is less work than starting an FM station. We really need two things: a streaming service and a music license. The streaming service is how you set up broadcasts. It usually has a dashboard that helps organize your programming. We’re looking to use radio.co, which has a lot of technical support information. Then there’s the music license. Most music is commercial, which means you’ve got to pay to broadcast it. In the US there are three different organizations that collect royalties for artists. But if you create an online radio station, you can use a program called sound exchange which collects royalties for all three of these organizations. That can get pretty expensive, but because we’re an educational institution, we get a bit of a break. That’ll be about $500/year, just for the music license.”
There are going to be three “departments” within the station: programming, production and promotion. There will be a director for each, as well as a treasurer who manages the station’s finances. Each department plays an important role in getting the station up and running.
“Programming decides what the station’s overall sound is going to be. They’re the ones who organize the broadcasts, balancing music and talk shows and sports. They’re in charge of planning the programs and content for everything. Production runs the technical aspect of the station. They make sound clips, maintain equipment, set up live performances, and monitor and improve the quality of the sound being broadcast. Promotion gets the word out. They’re the ones who have to find ways to promote not only the station, but also the college, on-campus organizations, sponsors, etc. They’ll be making flyers, selling ads, and getting people’s attention.”
This is definitely going to be a student-driven endeavor, centered around students’ ideas and tastes. There is plenty of room for creativity; the only limits are our own imaginations. Dr. Szulga believes that the most important thing going forward will be building up the presence of Lyon students on the broadcast, making our voices heard, sharing our views with each other. Interested faculty and staff members might be invited to do a show from time to time, too.
“People are going to create shows, sometimes based on music genres or fun themes, like a show focusing on 90s music, or a show that only plays country songs about heartbreak. Current headlines from around the world. A goofy quiz show. Highlights from the latest football game. Live performances from local artists and musical groups on campus. Anything, really. Once you have an idea, you start putting up flyers around campus and telling other people about it, and then maybe give it a catchy nickname so it’s easy to remember.”
Now it’s time for us to build the new radio station from the ground up. There are still a lot of preparations that need to be made before students get into the studio.
“We’ve been given some funding from the SGA. We’re going to purchase equipment, software, all the things we need to start broadcasting. We’ve been given a space in Brown Chapel. We need to soundproof it. We need to pay for the streaming service and the music license. Most importantly, we need to learn how to work with everything and develop our programs. The rest of this semester and much of the summer will be spent practicing and learning and making things efficient for the official launch.”
Ideally, the Lyon College radio station will go live during the week before classes begin in the fall. Dr. Szulga suggests that there might be some sort of special event to kick off the official broadcast, but any details have yet to be determined. For more information or to get involved, contact Dr. Szulga at firstname.lastname@example.org.