20 years of WFCF

20 years of WFCF

WFCF celebrates anniversary with new studio

It was Nov. 1, 1993, when WFCF first hit the airwaves with David Bowie’s classic hit, “Changes.” Now, as the station hits the two-decade mark, it has undergone its biggest change yet with a new state-of-the-art facility.

“We are more than pleased to be in our new facility,” said Station Manager Dan McCook, who has been with WFCF since its inception. “It’s apropos that after 20 years of broadcasting we have this new building.”

> Listen to WFCF on iheartradio.com

A quick tour of the new digs at 65 Cuna St., next door to its old location, displays all the perks of a modern radio station from sleek studios to high-tech production booths.

But McCook is quick to point out that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“We have a new building, but really we’re doing the same thing we did in radio back in the 1920s,” he said. “We’re just doing it more efficiently.”

McCook said new technology is still secondary to their biggest asset: students.

“New equipment is great, but unless you know how to produce marketable product with it, it’s a boat anchor. That’s where education comes in,” he said. “Our main goal is to make sure we’re teaching the proper principles of production so that these kids are prepared when they leave us.”

For Sara David, a junior who serves as WFCF’s music director, those learning experiences are essential.

“I was talking to someone who goes to New York University the other day, and she told me how jealous she was of the opportunity I have because it is pretty much impossible to get near NYU’s radio station,” she said.

David said that even though she developed a nostalgic attachment to the retro boards of the old station, she quickly got over it when she began seeing the new station come together.

“I have been working in it over the whole summer. No summer vacation for me, but I don’t even mind,” she said. “It is so beautiful, very state of the art and high-tech. I am in love with it.”

The radio station, which was rated as the 17th best college radio station in the nation by the Princeton Review in 2012, has always been ahead of the curve, broadcasting at 6,000 watts when it debuted in 1993. That power grew even larger with the construction of a 190-foot radio tower in 2003, upping the station’s signal to 10,000 watts. In comparison, approximately 90 percent of college stations at the time were broadcasting at 100 watts or less.

In 2012, WFCF 88.FM added another milestone when it began streaming its programming online via iHeartRadio, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s free, industry-leading digital radio service.

McCook said that these accomplishments just help to solidify the station’s main purpose of getting its graduates jobs, with four gaining employment in commercial radio in the last semester alone.

“WFCF can do a lot for the student who intends to go into broadcasting as a career,” he said. “When you walk in the door of your first broadcast facility, because of your experiences here, you know what’s going on. You know the ins and outs of that station and you can walk right in and start working.”

David is aware of not only the every day experiences she has with WFCF. but also the rare experience to see a new studio being created.

“This has been a really awesome opportunity for me as a student to be able to see what goes into building a radio station from scratch, and as music director, to be able to start fresh in a sense,” she said. “After all, this only happens once every 20 years.”

> Read about WFCF alumnus Luis Hernandez

Photo by Zach Thomas

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