April 17, 2020
Despite being away from campus, Susquehanna University students — from Philadelphia to New York to Baltimore — are still hitting the airwaves live on WQSU-FM The Pulse, they’re just broadcasting from their bedrooms instead of the studio.
Susquehanna transitioned to online classes in March, but more than 50 students continue to broadcast live on the air every day, disseminating information on the coronavirus pandemic and sharing resources with the listening audience (such as tips for working from home or taking online classes).
Senior Mike McGimpsey, a broadcasting major from Old Bridge, New Jersey, said he and his fellow broadcasters were more than ready to maintain the airwaves.
“We totally had a job to do. We have a responsibility to our community and our listeners to disseminate information and also let them know that we’re still here and put a smile on their face,” McGimpsey said.
Carly Rogers, a senior communication studies major from Muncy, Pennsylvania, hosts three shows a week. In addition to SU’s traditional mix of new and classic rock music, Rogers also offers words of advice in a time of uncertainty.
“I talk a lot during my show,” Rogers said. “Right now, what I’m doing is giving people advice and tips on what they can be doing right now in their houses when they might be doing a whole lot of nothing.”
Student broadcasters have been aided by Zetta, WQSU’s new automation system made possible by the radio station’s underwriters. The system features advanced voice tracking that allows students to schedule programming in advance and enables remote broadcast capabilities, which are especially critical now.
Additional tools provided by Susquehanna’s Office of Information Technology further enhance remote operations, said senior Kaila Snyder, a creative writing and broadcasting double-major from Northumberland, Pennsylvania.
“None of this would be possible without them,” she said. “WQSU would not be able to have this new automation system installed without them.”
WQSU is a 12,000-watt station that serves one-third of Pennsylvania, making it the most powerful student-run college FM radio station in the state.