By JALEN HECKSTALL TOWER Staff Writer
Bethany College takes pride in all of its campus multimedia sources like BCTV, and the Tower. In today’s culture, sadly, radio is somewhat viewed as outdated and irrelevant but BBN Online is working very hard to eliminate that stigma.
Bethany College offers a radio class under the Communications & Media Arts Department as a 100 level course. The class is designed to provide an outlook and experience of what the radio is like, as well to learn concepts and how to effectively communicate to listeners using the medium. The radio class is a great outlet for students as well because students are able to host their own shows by themselves or their fellows. Bethany College has former graduates from the department who have gone on to have a job and successful career in radio. One of Bethany’s notable alumni is Dave Sims who is a radio sports broadcaster for both television and radio. Dave Sims is a very successful sportscaster as he is known as the ‘Voice of the Seattle Mariners.’ Bethanians were fortunate to have Mr. Sims to come back to campus to speak in 2010.
Currently the radio station is thriving through student leader success and the guidance by instructor and Mayor of the town of Bethany and Professor, Dr. Professor Pat. J Sutherland. When having the opportunity to ask Professor Sutherland a few questions, he responded with some helpful answers. One question that was asked was, “As a Professor and Department leader of Bethany College, how important is multimedia to a University/College like Bethany?”
Professor Sutherland’s response brought much emphasis to students’ versatility, experience, and platform. The versatility aspect refers to students being heavily involved in campus media, which ultimately leads to the experience. Experience is major, because it helps propel a students’ skills for future job and internship opportunities. Lastly, the platform gives students the real world experience. Students are also able to apply for leadership roles within the class. Some of those positions are Programming Director and Operations Manager (Sports/Production). Holding these positions are great experience opportunities for students, as they are trained for their specific jobs. The current student leader position holders are Bethanians Daniel Booth (Programming Director), Josh Lonero (Operations Manager of Production), and Jalen Heckstall (Operations Manager of Sports). Furthermore in the discussion with Professor Sutherland, he explained in great detail the goals and aspirations that are driven within the Radio Station. He stated that the goals and aspirations are the qualities of student leadership, building leadership skills, and progression of the radio station.
Professor Sutherland also explained some history of the Bethany College radio station. WVBC was not always an online radio station. The radio used to be an FM station known as the ‘88.1 WZUM-FM’ station. The station was owned by the Pittsburgh Public Media at that time. Roughly five years ago, the College made a change in giving up the FM license. Professor Sutherland explained that although it was a change for the station in the transition to online radio, it was a positive transition. He explained that the online radio experience can be just as beneficial for students. Podcasts were introduced to the station and the class. This allowed students to be as unique and personal with their shows, while withholding a professional manner.
This goes back to the versatility of students. In the COMM 194 Radio class, various field trips are provided for the students to gain the professional point of view of how things are operated within a major radio station.
WVBC Radio does quite a bit of coverage of events that take place within the Bethany College campus, such as sporting events, campus community events, and also coverage for promotional purposes. Once hearing from the Professor, it is also important to hear from a student’s perspective as well. Sophomore student, Keven Thomas who took the COMM 194 Online radio class his second semester of freshman year was enlightening. Keven expressed his gratitude for the experience, because he was really able to learn and take something away from the course. He enjoyed the opportunity of having his own show titled, “the Keven Thomas Show,” where he talked about sports, specifically football and basketball.
So, BBN Online Radio presents students with Bethany College the opportunity to have exposure to equipment that they normally wouldn’t get a larger school while enhancing their skills as a media professional.