Letter to the Editor: The Truth About WDJM
As members of the executive board of WDJM, the radio station here on campus, we would like to clear the air about the misinformation that is going around about the future of our club.
Starting this fall, WDJM will be experiencing several key changes in order to not only future-proof the club, but to improve the overall quality of radio broadcasts.
One of the key changes would be moving away from the FM broadcast signal to instead prioritize live streaming the radio signal online.
It’s an unfortunate truth that the FM signal we currently have is very weak, and barely reaches around the Framingham area. Our goal in making this change is to give our members the opportunity to reach a wider audience with the shows they are already broadcasting on-air.
We are currently working to collaborate with the Communications, Media, and Performance Department to increase its involvement with the club. This will make more students who would benefit from this club aware of what we offer and how it can coincide with their academic pursuits.
This change will go into effect starting June 30. This will mark the beginning of a year-long trial to determine if this is right for the club. While the FM signal is turned off, we are planning to upgrade the equipment in the station to better suit the transition to live streaming our content.
If we follow through with these changes, the name of the club will have to be changed as WDJM 91.3 is owned by the FCC, not the University. We hope to do this in a way that honors the legacy of this 50 year old organization.
The shows being produced will still be broadcasted live. The charm that already exists in these shows will continue, just in a more accessible way.
We will also be able to rerun these shows during unscheduled times in order to eliminate dead-air.
Transitioning to online streaming and upgrading our equipment will open more opportunities for students to create their own unique content. These changes will also allow students who don’t have equal access to technology the ability to make podcasts and other types of shows that will go on the air. We recognize that students on campus want to make these shows but can be restricted from not having the means to do so.
Our radio stream will not be overseen by the FCC which will allow more freedom for the DJs.
The cost of the FM signal and maintaining it isn’t equivalent to what we get back from it. There is a misconception that the cost of maintaining the signal is paying for an FCC license, and that is ignoring the thousands spent on other membership fees and paying our wonderful station engineer and FCC coordinator to assist in keeping the signal usable.
After many excellent years of working with the school, our station engineer Sid Schweiger is retiring at the end of this fiscal year.
That will leave us with an antenna on top of McCarthy that is already slowly decaying with a cost of repair that we consider to not be justifiable considering the short distance it reaches.
Most importantly, this club is not defined by its name or how people can access the content we make. This club is defined by our amazing members who come into the station and make their show ideas a reality. This is not going away with the removal of the FM signal, and even more people are going to be able to experience the content we all make.
The friendships and memories made in our little station in McCarthy will not change because we’re upgrading hardware or changing our name.
Whether you have a weekly show, or have a sudden impulse to drop in and do a quick show, you are what defines this club - not an FM signal that hardly anyone outside this area can reach.
If you have any questions about the station or the club, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to make sure all of our members are on the same page, especially now that we are undergoing exciting changes to your experience at WDJM.
Take it from us, the President and Vice President of WDJM, Kyle Walker and Jack McLaughlin.