WPRK Update: Basement Radio, Big City Respect

Photo from Rollins College by Scott Cook

I remember it like it was yesterday: Fox Fest ’13. The delicious hot dogs from Anthony’s Eat and Treats, the adorable popsicle cart, the intricate artwork sold, and of course, the music. From the Rollins students’ jazz and funk-inspired The Groove Orient to the insane encore of Bright Light Social Hour, Fox Fest ’13 proved to be the apex of Rollins student media. Together, The Sandspur and 91.5 WPRK spent endless hours devising the most perfect festival experience Rollins students could enjoy right in their “backyard,” Mills Lawn. The success of the event demonstrated how organized and talented our members in student media had become.

But the next week’s Sandspur left everyone confused. KC Korge ‘13, then Station Manager for WPRK, wrote a letter to the editor explaining the WPRK’s staff disappointment in the new management decided upon by the Rollins administration. Korge provided the bombshell with “After countless meetings with administration, the students of WPRK have been informed that WPRK is no longer a student organization.” She also added, “Now two students on the Executive Board have resigned and three others will not return to the station next year. Other students, as well as, community DJS, have refused to continue their involvement under WPRK with the recent changes in leadership.” By the end of spring semester, the future of WPRK looked fragile, at best.

Which is why I am so excited to hear that WPRK has been nominated for two awards at this year’s CMJ (College Media Journal) Awards in New York City; every year, CMJ nominates exceptional college radio stations in a variety of categories. WPRK is nominated this year for Best Community Resource and Best Music Director (Liv Zuk ’14).

“Any recognition to WPRK is great,” says Promotions Director Drew DeVito ’16. “A lot of people on staff have been working to achieve this goal. Liv in particular really deserves her nomination.” Zuk is equally as excited, even though she is no longer a part of the director staff. “I can’t wait to represent WPRK as a panelist at CMJ. Despite no longer being able to serve the position I was nominated for due to new management and policies, I am eternally grateful for the impact WPRK has had on me and the community. What we have is truly special and I hope it continues enriching people’s live for years to come.”

Alex Fang ’16, new Station Manager, believes that WPRK deserves the Best Community Resource nomination. “The majority of our listeners are community members who want to hear something different, and we would not exist without them. People consider us a cultural institution of Orlando,” he explains. He also addresses the lingering controversy from last semester. “We are aware of last year’s pitfalls, and we are dealing with the same issues, but this staff has a fresh and new energy, and a dedication to maintaining WPRK’s mission regardless of what is going on internally,” he says. Will Reich ’16, Programming Director, is quick to comment that “last year’s staff paved the way for our success, especially KC Korge.”

WPRK now boasts a healthy 24-member student staff, not including the many student and community DJs involved. The big staff allows for WPRK to organize some cool upcoming events. Currently, a t-shirt design contest is happening for some new WPRK merchandise. Students should submit their design to wdevito@rollins.edu. The winning design will be printed on at 100 shirts for limited release, and the winning designer will receive a free t-shirt and three pairs of concert tickets.

On air, WPRK will be giving away tickets to over thirty shows during the month of October alone, and on October 12 another “WPRK Comes Alive!” event will be held at the Bikkuri Lounge on Colonial, complete with sushi and WPRK EDM DJs. As for another Fox Fest, you will have to keep reading The Sandspur for any new developments…

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