Signaling a new era for Blugold radio

Intermediate journalism students had the opportunity to cover a press conference this past week on the radio station gift from Mid-West Family Broadcasting to UW-Eau Claire. Student Michael Roemer wrote a piece for this week’s blog.

Blugold Radio has been a part of the UW-Eau Claire CJ Department for years with multiple different programs airing on FM 89.7. © 2016 Michael Roemer
Blugold Radio has been a part of the UW-Eau Claire CJ Department for years with multiple different programs airing on FM 89.7. © 2016 Michael Roemer

Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation control of 99.9 WDRK-FM, a radio station out of Cornell.

The $1 million gift announced Tuesday, March 8 transfers ownership of the radio license, transmitter, tower and related equipment which CJ students will get to use first hand in classes and through student media outlets like Blugold Radio.

“We are excited to be a part of this because the radio capacity will enable the university as a whole,” UW-Eau Claire Foundation President Kimera Way said. “I’m pleased to be able to facilitate the addition of another resource for the university’s benefit.”

The station is expected to benefit not only students but also the Chippewa Valley community. Some of the things that will be made available to the public will be student music, sports and programming related to the university.

UW-Eau Claire Athletic Director Dan Schumacher said that having a radio station with this much reach puts UW-Eau Claire on the same playing field with Division I schools. (titles before a name are capitalized)

“The 99.9 WDRK-FM signal will give Blugold athletics a large radio reach in the Chippewa Valley and a great enhancement to the Blugold sports network of digital, web, radio and TV media platforms,” Schumacher said.

Athletes, however will not be the only students who will see a benefit from the new radio station. Students will be given opportunities to work for the station in a variety of capacities including reporting, advertising and promotion.

“We can integrate the radio station into course assignments and bring a new style of programming to the community, said Mary Hoffman, chair of the Communication and Journalism Department.

The timeline for getting Blugold Radio up and running is by the end of the school year. Hoffman added the radio station is expected to provide an opportunity for all students to get involved on campus and start building a media career.

How do you think this gift will impact the CJ department the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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