If you flip through the radio stations in Bloomington-Normal, you’re bound to come across 103.3 WZND, Illinois State University’s own radio channel, which is mainly run by students interested in broadcast services. With an 100-plus staff, a lot more goes into the making of WZND than listeners might think.
WZND is operated almost entirely by ISU students, many of whom you might see in your classes every day. Positions at WZND are open to more than just students in the School of Communication.
“We have education majors, accounting majors and history majors,” senior broadcast journalism and marketing major, Maureen Christensen, said. She has worked as the general manager at the radio station since her junior year.
“Only three people in the operation are non-students, our faculty advisors and chief engineer.”
Working at WZND was the determining factor in Christensen’s major change, and being involved in the radio station can help students decide what they want to do post-graduation.
“I enjoyed my time at WZND because it gave me experience in broadcasting even before getting into the related coursework. That way, I could experience the field and determine if it was something I wanted to pursue as a career before investing the time and money in the degree,” Christensen said.
Aside from the radio station providing the opportunity for students to be involved with broadcast services, WZND is constantly providing public services to our college community. Listening to 103.3 lets students and faculty know about severe weather updates, school cancellations and safety tips on campus.
“WZND is a resource for campus emergencies,” WZND faculty advisor and ISU alum, Steven Suess, said.
“Whether it’s severe weather heading our way or a suspicious package in Schroeder Hall, WZND is able to offer students instant updates on campus emergencies.”
WZND also gives local student groups and charities a voice that can be heard all over ISU. Aside from donating over $50,000 to charity groups during their run on campus, the radio station also takes time to interview student organizations.
“Our morning show features interviews with student groups, charities, community organizations and ISU academic departments; interview opportunities that would rarely exist at a professional radio station,” he said.
Being a part of WZND allows students at ISU to find their niche group and develop radio skills in a professional setting. WZND is one of the only college stations these days that actually broadcast their stream to radios in town in addition to being found online. So, WZND is both accessible from your local car stereo as well as on your web browser if you are away from school. This local school radio station does a lot for ISU, both for radio station employees and students who choose to tune in daily.
“WZND is for the entire campus, not just the students that work there,” Christensen said.
This article first appeared in The Vidette
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