Nestled just next to the King Auditorium in Bozorth Hall, 89.7 WGLS-FM, otherwise known as Rowan Radio, is bustling daily with music, podcasting, and news shows by Rowan students. This year, the station was recognized at the 2022 Pinnacle College Media Awards (CMA), winning first place for “Four Year Radio Station of the Year.” They also were nominated for several other awards at the Society of Profesional Journalism and CMA hosted MediaFest22, in Washington D.C.
The station has worked tirelessly to maintain a level of professionalism and consistency in the work that they do. The efforts and success, however, is nothing new for the team. For a long time now, members of the station have worked very hard to achieve professional success and create meaningful content.
Assistant station manager, Leo Kirschner, believes that “it’s about time.”
“I don’t think we’ve done anything different than we already did as far as the student contributions, the way we run the station,” said Kirschner. “It’s always been at this level that we’ve run the station and had the students’ participation.”
Kirschner has overseen the station alongside station manger, Derek Jones, working with students from when they first begin their radio journeys all the way through graduation.
“It’s just this was our year. So it’s about time everyone else figured out what we were doing. We are incredibly grateful and proud that [out of] other colleges, thousands of other colleges that were in this group, we’re recognized to be an elite program among all of the other schools,” said Kirschner.
Derek Jones credits a lot of the station’s success to the students’ hard work, not only this year but in years prior as well.
“It feels very rewarding for us to be honored in this manner because it’s a reflection of the work the students have done over not just the last year, but the years before that,” said Jones. “I think everybody who’s taken a step into the station at some point should feel a part of this. Especially the kids who graduated in ‘21, or the kids who graduated in ‘20 or ‘19, especially during the pandemic phase that we went through.”
With the past two years having been ridden with obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, winning an award at this big of a scale is a major deal.
“[This award] does show that students are able to overcome adversity,” said Jones. “A lot of the students who are involved in this either trained during the pandemic when we weren’t allowed to be here physically, or were here right after that… The students were able to find different ways to create content and also still be able to keep the culture intact.”
Radio students, despite having to learn and create remotely for a period of time, were still able to create a community and culture at the station that fosters meaningful connections and learning experiences, which is one of the goals of the station, outside of the on-air content.
“We want to make sure that they have an experience that is something that when they graduate, they remember 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the line and they remember and think of us fondly,” said Jones.
Megan Steckler, Rowan Radio’s promotional and public affairs director, was one of the students able to attend the award ceremony in Washington D.C., along with Nick Iadonisi, the Rowan Radio digital media director.
“It’s so rewarding because I think here, we always put in the extra mile,” said Iadonisi. “We’re always doing remote broadcasts and some people are here until 10 at night during their shows. The sports team travels for sports, so we’re always going the extra mile, and sometimes it’s like, ‘I’m doing a lot of work, where’s the recognition?’ but here it is.”
The rewards and benefits that come with joining the station do not stop with winning an award. Just being a part of the team has proved to be a valuable experience for students as well.
“For me, it’s just being able to be a part of the ensemble here. There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot of things people are doing here, and… to represent this group is really rewarding for me,” said Iadonisi.
As the station moves forward, after achieving this great feat, they look forward to improving their skills and using their strengths and success to continue to create and foster a positive and successful community.
To hear the hard work each Rowan Radio member puts into the station, tune in at 89.7 WGLS-FM, or check out their online content.
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