LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Students will be involved in creation of online radio

To the editor of the Butler Collegian:

Donald Perin interviewed me for the Oct. 25 edition of the Collegian about a project that I have been working on for over a year: a “web radio station,” as part of the newly formed College of Communications Media Group.

I am greatly disappointed with the tone of his article and the assumption that faculty won’t incorporate student ideas in launching the Internet radio stream.

It’s unfortunate that this article could have been used to better inform the students about this project and turned into yet another negative “students vs. faculty” piece.

I appreciate that, to some, this may be the first that they have heard of this endeavor, despite the fact that it was mentioned in the Collegian (April 4, 2012) and discussed as a future opportunity with this year’s freshman Recording Industries Studies class during Welcome Week.

The idea for this stream came from the CCOM Board of Visitors, many of whom are former classmates of mine who share my desire to give current CCOM students an experience like we had in running WAJC but without the hassles of maintaining a true radio frequency that can not be simply turned off or pre-programmed during summer or semester breaks.

Much of my professional background is in radio.

I worked at several commercial and public radio stations for more than 20 years both on air and behind the scenes.

I was the last music director for Butler University’s FM station, WAJC, and did the last air shift on 104.5 when the station signed off for the last time in 1993.

That experience and my current position are why Ken Creech, whom I recommended Mr. Perin interview for his piece, asked me to work with IT to lay the technical groundwork for this project.

Up until now, there has been no student involvement simply because there has been nothing for students to get excited about or involved in.

Much of the work has been stop-and-go as Information Technology and I have spent a lot of time researching and developing what will work within the university network and still be manageable by students and myself.

All that has happened until now has been designing the infrastructure, researching music-licensing requirements and choosing the software and hardware that will run the “station.”

It is my intent to include students in all aspects of the programming, format and promotion of this outlet.

There is an untapped bounty of high-quality student work from RIS classes and projects, and the stream will mean more opportunity for those works to find a greater audience.

The technical groundwork and testing will be completed this fall, and then, as I told Mr. Perin in our interview, there will be a call-out for all students that want to be involved.

Nothing is cast in stone or has been pre-decided by any faculty member, including myself.

I am looking forward to working with a positive and enthusiastic group of students on this project because this will require a lot of work.

The music format will be up to students, but this stream will publicly represent CCOM and Butler University and needs to do so in a positive light, which other university-related outlets should strive to do as well.

—Mark Harris
Technical Services Coordinator, College of Communication

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