By: Vhon Steele
Beginning in January of 2016, William Penn’s radio station will be available anywhere with internet access. Currently, 88.7 FM KIGC The Kitchen can only be heard in the Oskaloosa area, with a range of approximately 20 miles. For students who have traveled to Oskaloosa to attend the university, there is no way for family and friends back home to hear their radio show.
General Manager Kurt Sodak has been working on the process of internet streaming since becoming GM and now, because of his efforts, the ability to tune in to the broadcast online will become available at the beginning of 2016.
“It was the very first thing I wanted to do. William Penn is a very diverse university. They’ve got people coming from everywhere, overseas even.” explained Kurt. “Everyone’s got a laptop, everyone’s got a cell phone. I’ve found an app called Tune In radio. That app can be accessed on iOS devices, as well as android. The app is compatible with all the smart phones around campus, and that’s something we’ll just have to sign up for and put our server address on there and people will just search and find us.” “I’m very excited that we will be able to have these different options for students to be able to hear us (via internet streaming) instead of just on the radio. I own a radio, but there’s very few people who own a radio, other than your car radio so being able to be heard online is huge and I think it is going to grow the radio station. It’s one of the things we need to grow the station.”
The station had gone to a very bad place a few years back and should have been shut down, but Professor Wagner brought the station back with a fresh slate. The students were in charge of the station, but with a much stricter policy than before. Over the last few years, the station has seen much development, but the step towards internet streaming will open up the radio station’s potential greatly. Not only will the station be available on nearly any device in the world, but students will also be more motivated to have their own radio show.
General Manager Kurt Sodak explained that the most common question he would be asked by students is if there was any way to find the station online. Students sometimes feel that their show isn’t really that important when there aren’t many people listening to their show, especially the students who have traveled to Oskaloosa from all over the world. When it becomes an option for friends and family to listen to the show, the student becomes more motivated to put on a successful weekly show. Whether the student is volunteering to be a DJ or required to do so by an audio class, the feed will be available anywhere. With the option of internet streaming, each listener will have access to that material. This option increases the number of potential listeners greatly, as it also increases the spread of that student’s show.
In October, the Walkercast returned to the studio to cover season 6 of The Walking Dead. The show started by Kurt airs on Mondays at 4 p.m. and covers topics from the previous night’s episode. The four members hold a discussion about walkers, characters, survival tips, and what will happen next. The Walkercast is the longest running current radio show the university has to offer, but the listeners can only hear the show by being near a radio in Oskaloosa at 4 p.m. on Monday.
While the Walkercast has reached many people in the community, it started out as just an idea. The students can have their radio show on any topic they choose, as long as the staff approves and says the idea isn’t offensive. If there is an idea the student is passionate about, they should be able to express that idea on-air. With the ability to stream online, that idea will have the ability to spread farther than our community.
Beginning in January, students will be streaming their radio shows online. For those who have not gotten involved, but would like to, now would be the best time to get your feet wet. To become involved in the radio station, there is no previous experience required. Many of those involved with the William Penn radio station started out at the same place: An hour long training session by KIGC staff member. If you find yourself interested in joining the station, or even seeking more information, contact General Manager Kurt Sodak at email@example.com.