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New UNC-C radio station in the works?

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UNC-Charlotte may be getting its own radio station after nearly a decade of dead air. A group of students known as the Campus Radio Organization (CRO) is in the process of drumming up support and talent for the station, which they hope to launch by next fall. Tentatively known as WCRO "The Crow," the campus-based, non-profit AM station will feature a 24-hour news, talk and music format.

"We want to ask the hard questions and dig up the hard answers," said former UNCC student body president Gregory Hall, who launched CRO along with UNCC student John Morrow earlier this year. "We're pro-UNCC, but I believe being pro means being honest. So we're going to discuss some things that the (UNCC newspaper) and other organizations wouldn't. UNCC is a massive, conservative university; we're a bunch of kneejerk liberals, so we're going to be stepping on some toes."

While Hall says plans for the radio station are moving forward, he adds that there's been a bit of friction with UNCC Student Media. Hall stresses that the station is autonomous of Student Media, and all revenue has been generated through donations and advertisers.

"Student Media is trying to pin us a pirate radio station because we're not controlled by them," said Hall, who is no longer a student at the college. "They run a terrible, shoddy organization. Their advertisers are leaving them left and right to come to us, and that's what they're worried about. That's why they're trying to destroy us."

Wayne Maikranz, director of Student Media, which manages the UNCC Times, Sanskrit and the marketing department, says the only concern they have with CRO is the lack of communication.

"That's where the uneasiness is coming from," Maikranz said. "There has been no dialogue. And there is concern that down the road the station may be dropped in our laps and we'll have to maintain it using student fees."

Maikranz indicates that in the past, when the prospect of a campus radio station was brought up, the student body supported it, but according to questionnaire forms, didn't want to help pay for it in increased fees.

UNCC vice-chancellor of student affairs Chuck Lynch says he has seen at least 10 proposals for a student-run radio station during his time at the college, but this latest seems to have the most potential.

"I'll be surprised if they don't pull it off," said Lynch. "They've already gone further than any other group in the past as far as doing research and getting support. In the past, Student Media had concerns related mostly to issues of space and advising resources -- we don't have broadcast communication in our curriculum. But I think this group has answered those questions. They've got the space and are in the process of purchasing the equipment. There's a few procedural things we need to iron out, but everyone seems committed to getting it done."

The university's first radio station began in 1970 and was called WFAE. It was a carrier student station that initially played Top 40 music six hours a day, five days a week. In 1976, the station went to FM radio. Students continued to work for the station into the 1980s. WFAE moved from its campus-based studio to University Place in 1987. In the early 1990s, the UNC-Charlotte Board of Trustees decided to no longer fund the radio station and the station became an independent in 1993.

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