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WMUL readies for another semester of spinning stacks

Jan. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University's student radio station, WMUL, is gearing up for the spring semester with a host of original programming including Newscenter 88 and Herd Roundup.

The station also hosts a wide variety of musical content ranging from jazz to alternative rock to gospel. In the time between semesters, the station is kept running thanks to a mix of volunteers and students who continue to work through the summer and winter.

"Our station's leadership only works from semester to semester," said Dr. Chuck Bailey, faculty manager of WMUL and a professor at the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism. "Because college kids graduate, transfer to different schools, drop out etc., we interview for our leadership team in December so it's in place when the semester starts. Three of our directors graduated in December.

"The students apply for one of our board positions and meet with me and a student station manager," Bailey added. "We then interview them on what makes them the best candidate and what is their vision for the station. We later announce the winning candidates at the end of the semester party and celebrate our graduating students. The end of a semester to me is just the same as the end of a school year."

WMUL's leadership will have a meeting at the beginning of the semester with veteran staff to discuss class schedules and when people will be able to work. The air schedule will slowly be worked out. Veteran staff will also pitch ideas for new programs. Throughout the semester new students will be trained in a variety of on- and off-the-air roles.

"We have continuity writing, I teach a class on audio production, and we also have a basic broadcast news class taught by professor (Chris) Swindell. Students will work with the "Newscenter 88" show. It's the only 30 minute newcast in our market," Bailey said. "There is a lot of training. You don't have to be a journalism major to work here, but you have to learn. Some things you learn in class, some things you learn working here, and some things you learn in the field along the way."

WMUL is on air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We still have had students come in from off the break to cover events like basketball games," Bailey said. "Getting the news crew started and getting DJs trained and on the air will take time.

"You aren't limited here in what you can do," Bailey added. "There is a limit on what you are able to do because of time. If you have interest and time you can work on our promotion staff, our news staff or our music staff.

Last month the station received 20 different awards from four different contests. These included a Finalist Award in the 2012 Pinnacle National Awards Competition, plus one first-place award and one finalist award in the 2012 College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) National Student Radio Production Awards.

In April the station will be working with the Huntington School of Beauty Culture for a promotion called "Hair From the Herd." Students will receive free haircuts, which will benefit "Locks of Love" a charity that creates hairpieces for children who have lost their hair.