Weber State’s radio station KWCR 88.1 went from the airwaves to campus grounds this past week to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“KWCR has been broadcasting in FM for 50 years. That is pretty impressive, considering it’s run by students. So we thought that was monumental and something to be proud of,” said KWCR general manager Juan “JP” Orquiz.
After five decades of broadcasting, the student-run radio station hosted several celebratory events from April 13-17 in honor of KWCR’s history on campus and throughout Ogden.
The non-commercial radio station started broadcasting in 1965 when the FCC granted them licensing to run a 10-watt FM radio station, according to the KWCR website.
Current KWCR advisor Eric Harvey said the radio station’s anniversary was a great way to raise awareness of its broadcasting presence.
“While the digital revolution might have taken a lot of music fans elsewhere, we just wanted to remind people that we still have a 50-year-old radio station here on campus,” he said.
Throughout the years, the station has changed location, staff and even its title, going through names such as “The Beat,” “The Edge,” and “Weber FM,” to the current title “KWCR.”
According to Harvey, the student staff members filter through nearly 50 albums a week in search for new alternative music and fresh talent, especially from local bands.
The staff members play a broad range of music. Straying from mainstream, the station primarily sticks to its more “underground” roots, said Harvey.
“We play primarily indie rock, rock music, punk music and folk music,” said Harvey. “However, the main purpose of the station is to serve Weber State and the Ogden community with entertaining and informative broadcasts.”
The radio station is primarily student-run. According to Orquiz, the student staff members create all the content and most of the music is custom curated by students into playlists.
For him, this is what makes KWCR unique.
“There’s playlists everywhere online, but the student radio station is created in a way that is even better,” Orquiz said. “We are actually taking the time to feed through and pick out the very best music.”
Along with giving students the chance to experiment within guidelines set by the Federal Communications Commission, KWCR also broadcasts four hours of music every Sunday and offers Spanish-language programming. Additionally, the Wednesday show is specifically devoted to encouraging students to pursue higher education.
Orquiz grew up listening to the radio station back when it was “The Beat,” and said the station inspired him to broadcast his own work. According to him, being part of the radio station is a great opportunity to play and say what you want, regardless if some people may not like it.
“Although the stuff we play may or may not be popular, it’s still a really cool opportunity to play what you want and be part of radio that doesn’t exist quite like this in the corporate setting,” he said.
However, you don’t have to be a DJ to be part of the studio, said Harvey. According to their website, the station offers hands-on experience in multiple areas, with positions ranging from partnerships with local businesses to social media directors who promote the station.
“It can be part of your experience here at Weber State, getting on the air and letting people know what you have to say or working behind the scenes to help KWCR rise,” said Harvey.
Although a whole week of activities were lined up to celebrate the radio’s 50th birthday, celebrations did not go off without a few hitches. According to Orquiz, due to last-minute weather conflicts, the giant root-beer pong had to be rescheduled to April 21 at 10 a.m.
Despite this setback, the studio kept up the celebration and spent the week encouraging students to get involved. Orquiz said he hoped students got a new sense of pride for their college radio station.
“It seems like we are just band of hooligans running this broadcasting organization,” said Orquiz. “We run a radio station, and that’s the quick and dirty of it.”