W&L’s campus radio expands, innovates

The journalism department helps students get on the air

Kate+Dewing%2C+%E2%80%9823%2C+hosts+the+show+%E2%80%9CAural+Pleasure%E2%80%9D+once+a+week.+Photo+by+Steve+Cross

Kate Dewing, ‘23, hosts the show “Aural Pleasure” once a week. Photo by Steve Cross

Veronika Kolosova, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, only seven students had a show on WLUR 91.5 FM. Now, the campus radio station has 50 regular programs on the air. 

Washington and Lee’s journalism department recently adopted ownership of the radio station from the general university. According to WLUR-FM’s mission statement, the station offers “diverse programming, which covers a wide range of musical genres, public affairs, news and commentary for W&L athletic events.” 

The department hired Steve Cross as WLUR-FM’s general manager and program director to teach students audio production and help them improve their vocal skills. He also supervises the daily operations of the station.

“Even if you don’t listen to the radio, learning how to develop your voice and use it to your advantage in a recorded media is something a radio station can provide,” Cross said. “Getting free experience here is the best thing you can do.”

Cross introduced the “Fundamentals of Audio Production and Voice Development” course this semester. Students enrolled in the class were required to complete an hour-long airshift on WLUR-FM weekly. Cross said the class has created a “rebirth” of the radio station.  

Cross said the department wanted to design a class that “benefits journalism students” and “gives them some fundamental capabilities that they can use.”

The goal is to have 60-70 shows on WLUR-FM next term. But students don’t have to be on the air to get involved at the radio station.

Mariah Scott, ’25, has been working at the radio station for two years as a work-study student. She manages the equipment, programs the automation system, and organizes the music library. 

“It’s a good outlet that doesn’t take a lot of energy. You can do whatever as long as you aren’t cursing,” Scott said. “Anything’s fair game.”

The journalism department wants students to have flexibility with what they put on the air and in what ways they get involved with the station.

“I’m leaving the door open to students, allowing them to try things even if the radio isn’t necessarily what they want to do,” Cross said. “We have a capability to explore podcasting or to do other audio production, which is open to all students.”

WLUR-FM has two music directors, Julie Ham, ’25, and Kate Dewing, ’23. They both have DJ experience. 

Ham’s weekly show, “JUJUondabeat,” airs on Thursdays and is an hour-long show inspired by classical music, Korean pop and indie styles, according to WLUR-FM’s Instagram page. 

Dewing has had a weekly show, “Aural Pleasure,” since her first year of college. It combines her favorite “stomp and holler” songs and recent discoveries that she wants to share with audiences.

“I love hearing new music and just going down Spotify rabbit holes,” Dewing said. “Anything that I found in those, I like to play on the radio.” 

Dewing said the radio helped her with self-confidence and improved her overall  speaking skills.

“Take advantage of how easy it is to get involved in the radio here,” she said. “Just do it.” 

Students interested in joining WLUR-FM’s team should email Cross at [email protected]