Did you know there is a radio station located on the campus of Shepherd University? 89.7 WSHC FM is Shepherd’s student-run radio station and is billed as “the voice of Shepherd.” However, this voice often goes unheard by a majority of students. Within the dark halls of Knutti’s basement, you can find a small studio cramped with radio equipment and broadcasting everything from music to news over the airwaves every day, year round. After signing up and receiving some training, student disk jockeys, such as myself, have the ability to create and host their own shows on the radio. If you enjoy listening to music, then there are a wide range of shows playing all different types of music—from bluegrass to rap to rock—available for your listening pleasure on WSHC. If you are interested in listening to talk radio, you can find several DJs hosting these types of shows. It was several months after the start of my freshman year before I discovered the WSHC in the basement of Knutti Hall, but once I did, I quickly became obsessed with radio and I decided to sign up to host my own show. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to host a sports news radio show called “The Rush Hour Sports Zone” every Friday morning. Since 1949, students have had the ability to become a member of WSHC and express themselves over the radio, and today the station can be heard in five counties throughout Maryland, Virginia and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Despite being able to hear WSHC on the radio over a relatively large area, its popularity remains small. When I tell fellow students about my radio show or the WSHC station, I commonly receive a response similar to “Shepherd has a radio station?”
Finding students that are familiar with WSHC can be difficult. However, sophomore Jake Menefee is a frequent WSHC listener and he believes the station provides a great opportunity for students. “It’s awesome that Shepherd gives students the ability to be a part of the media through radio, but more people definitely need to check it out,” said Menefee. I would argue that both the university and WSHC have failed to adequately promote and support the radio station in recent years. Let’s be honest, since it’s difficult for the radio station to make the university a profit, it can often be overlooked. However, through special events, promotions and reorganization, WSHC can help add to Shepherd’s bottom line in the long run. Shepherd student and WSHC DJ Travis Smith is not pleased with the station’s current situation and stated, “WSHC doesn’t receive any notoriety of their existence on campus. Most students do not even know or care that Shepherd has a radio station.”
In order to save WSHC from being forgotten or wasted, more support for the radio station from the school as a whole is needed. It may benefit WSHC to begin employing various forms of advertising for the WSHC radio station around campus and Shepherdstown. This can be done through signs, bulletin boards, announcements and other forms of advertising. A simple but effective way to promote WSHC is to play the radio station on campus in common areas such as the student center and the Ram’s Den. Moreover, improving the popularity and overall condition of the radio station will result in a new asset to entice possible students who are considering attending Shepherd University. Finally, discovering what students want to hear on their university’s radio is critical to attracting new listeners because if the programming fails to correspond with the wants and desires of students, then no matter what is tried, the station’s popularity will remain low. It is 2014 and I realize radio has fallen out of favor with many as technology has advanced over the years. However, this should not mean the end of 89.7 WSHC, “The Voice of Shepherd”.