SPOTLIGHT: Tuning in to WRGW

From the depths of the Marvin Center GW student voices discussing music, sports, politics, news and more are transmitted all over the world. WRGW, GW’s student-run radio station provides a variety of programming to students on campus and beyond.

Unlike most radio stations, WRGW broadcasts solely on the internet, allowing anyone anywhere to tune into station at www.gwradio.com.

The live Web broadcasting began when the station moved to the Marvin Center basement from the fourth floor of the student center three years ago. Before the move, students could tap into WRGW on 540 AM. Station transmitters, which often broke down, were placed in all residence halls.

“The AM thing is kind of pointless,” Warner-Osborne said. “More people can hear us now.”

The station, which also broadcasts on GW cable channel 22, plays live programming from 10 a.m. to midnight everyday.

While WRGW is completely student run, it does receive University funding as a student organization. The station does not sell ads but airs paid public service announcements to help pay for equipment.

Shows vary from news, music, talk, sports and specialty. The music on each show depends on the disc jockey. The station plays trance, dance, hip-hop, alternative, top 30 and more.

“Sex Lies Radio” is one of the station’s most popular shows, said senior Liz Warner-Osborne, public relations director for the station.

“It’s our version of `Loveline,'” she said.

People call and come in to get their opinions heard on the show, which airs from 8-10 p.m. weekdays. Competitions are popular on the sex-advice show, Warner-Osborne said. Recently the show held a lap-dance competition.

“People described the dances on air, and some people came to the studio to judge,” she said.

The station’s sports shows, which cover GW and professional teams, are also popular, according to WRGW programmers.

The station gets the most listeners during the basketball season, Warner-Osborne said. The station broadcasts every home and away game for both the men and women’s teams. Listening to WRGW is an easy way to be able to keep up with GW basketball while at home or abroad.

“Half Jewish Sports,” hosted by senior Lee Lubarsky and junior Jesse Martineau, is one of the station’s newest sports-talk shows. The show, named “Half Jewish” because one of the hosts is Jewish and the producer, senior Andrew Reiter, is half-Jewish, covers local and national sports.

Martineau said he and Lubarsky began the show after following up on a long-time interest in sports radio. Martineau said he believes the show, which airs 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, will be very successful.

“Six people called into our first show,” Martineau said. “Next time even more people will listen.”

Three years in the running, “Almost All Talk” is WRGW’s longest-running show, said Production Director Craig Shannon. Seniors Dan Ericson and Brian Pasquerelli host the show, and Shannon produces it.

Shannon described the free form, social commentary show as a mixture of Howard Stern and Imus.

“It’s pretty out there,” Ericson said.

To host a show, students must apply and do a 15-minute air check to sample voice quality.

“We have to see if a listener would get annoyed with the voice,” said Operations Manager Ian Spring.

Before going on the air, a student must complete a semester of service in the station’s office. Students can work in public relations, write news, serve on the music committee or perform other office tasks.

The music committee meets once a week and listens to the CDs the station receives from aspiring artists to decide which ones to play.

The office work allows students to see how the station is run and helps students decide how involved they want to be, Spring said. The semester of office work is also a precaution to let the station mangers get to know the aspiring hosts.

“Going on the air is a big responsibility and liability,” Spring said.

The Federal Communications Commission has many regulations that can be very costly if broken. Profanity is never allowed on talk shows and only permitted in music between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The station’s specialty shows play different kinds of music, Spring said.
There are hip-hop, techno and gothic shows, to name a few.

Even though WRGW can only be heard on the internet, Spring said he is sure people listen.

“We get a lot of calls, so it must mean someone is listening,” Spring
said.

Spring said sound quality has improved dramatically since the station switched to Real Audio from Quick Time.

“It sounds like you are inside the studio,” he said.

Like many college radio stations, WRGW is a testing ground for aspiring musicians, Spring said. Record companies send university stations new CD’s, and the stations report to the College Music Journal how often they are played. If they are successful, many of the bands go public.

“It’s a way students can be part picking the music they hear on the local radio,” Spring said.

Spring said a few bands that have played at WRGW become famous.

Alternative artist Pete Yorn played inside the Marvin Center studio. His single “Life on a Chain” is now played on DC 101 and MTV, Spring said. The Scottish rock band Idle Wilds has also performed live at WRGW.

Spring said WRGW tries to help promote GW bands. Many will be invited to the station’s Octoberfest. Held Oct. 28, it is WRGW’s annual live band festival.

“We’ll have giveaways and prizes,” Spring said.

This semester WRGW is expanding it’s programming. In conjunction with Clear Channel Communications, WRGW will broadcast on 1260 AM on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. For the first hour GW administrators will host a political talk show, Spring said. During the second hour Dick Golden will host a jazz show in the WRGW studios. Golden hosts a nationally-syndicated jazz show out of Cape Cod, Mass.

Also new this year is WRGW’s GW Studios. Beginning this semester WRGW will rent one of its two studios to record demo tapes. The station will offer discounted prices for GW students to record, Spring said.

Spring said he believes WRGW has a loyal audience of listeners and hopes the numbers of listeners will increase even more this year.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.