Updated: Aug 23
Photo Caption: A photo of Emily Rosenberg's dad interviewing the Dean of Students for a WDJM 91.3 FM broadcast at Sandbox in 1986.
By Emily Rosenberg
Last week, I learned WDJM is being advised by the Center for Student Experience to eliminate the FM radio signal, which will strip the club of its legacy title for next semester.
I understand. It must not be easy to maintain the popularity of an FM radio station when people listen to music on streaming services today.
But WDJM was never just an FM radio station.
It was a place where students, often quirky or outcasts, could go to find community and share their love of music with other geeks.
I am not a member of WDJM. However, my love for the station stems from the reason why I am at FSU in the first place: my dad.
My dad, a 1986 alumnus, always describes his first semester of college as lonely.
This was until he met the director of WDJM. It was at the radio station where he and several generations of students found a home.
His stories of WDJM broadcasts, throwing parties in the DPAC, interviewing people on air, and hanging out after hours is what I hoped college would be and it is what led me to FSU.
It is sad that WDJM is no longer the place my father made it out to be.
But the lack of engagement will not be fixed by switching to streaming and podcasting.
Students can, and already do, make podcasts on their own.
Student organizations across this campus constantly struggle to engage students. Part of the reason is because the administration does not provide proper support to student leaders or their organizations.
We are constantly fighting battles to obtain spaces to run events and club meetings simply because a lot of rooms are locked or not available for student use.
Students must schedule events more than two weeks in advance, and it is often impossible to find places to meet.
WDJM is only one of many student organizations that has fallen victim to the barriers preventing student engagement.
And there are already too few spaces on campus that are dedicated to the student community, and the ones that are, are small and not designed for students to gather, especially the WDJM radio station.
If the station were bigger, a whole group of students could jam out there at once. The station could DJ events, and students could work on assignments while listening to their friends’ shows.
Instead, the office is only big enough for five to eight people to comfortably hang out there at once. It is also tucked away on the fourth floor of the McCarthy Center. Unless a student has a class there, they likely don’t know there is a radio station.
However, even though there was a loss of membership in the past few years, the answer is not to get rid of the WDJM FM radio signal.
Broadcasting over the radio is a valuable and fun experience. It brings students together by putting them in the same room to create a live show they are proud of. A show they are excited to make.
When shows are live, people make hilarious mistakes. They are candid. And this is what people remember.
Podcasting and streaming can be similar, but having broadcast a few WDJM shows myself, I argue that the thrill of being live adds a level of joy that can enhance your communication and professional skills over time. There is value to maintaining both an FM radio signal and developing podcasting and streaming services.
Although some might argue that an FCC license is expensive, this is not true.
The money allocated to WDJM for an FCC license is only $1,905, according to the WDJM budget made public at the Feb. 11 SGA Big Budget Meeting.
In comparison to the multi-hundred thousand dollars allocated to student organizations, this is pennies.
WDJM is approaching 53 years of being a student organization. It produced numerous successful alumni who went on to work at radio stations and TV networks.
But most importantly, it created long-lasting friendships and memories.
To strip the station of its name and sole purpose - producing radio - to save a few bucks is a disgrace to its legacy.
And if this decision is made permanent, the administration will set a precedent for other student organizations - that they would rather cut operations than protect and revitalize a precious student community.
Prove there can be magical places at Framingham State as I thought when I was younger.
Please, save WDJM.