You’re driving in your car listening to the radio, and all you can find are commercials. Car commercials. Television commercials. Political commercials. Where’s all the music?
Try WKET-FM 98.3, Fairmont’s student-run radio station. Not only will you find the absence of obnoxious commercials, but you might even find your new favorite band.
WKET members began broadcasting at frequency 98.3 FM in 1975, and a lot has changed since then. “Our history really reflects all the changes in radio technology,” said Karl Bremer, the supervisor for WKET. “When we started, we were using 45s and vinyl records. Then we went to cassettes, and now all our music comes from either our computer servers or CDs.”
On Oct. 6, the finishing touches were put on an underground fiber optic cable that converts the station’s analog signal to digital. Provided by the City of Kettering, the cable runs from Fairmont to the Government Center. Since the cable is buried instead of run across electrical poles, the possibility of damage to the cable is greatly lessened.
“The sound is also much cleaner now,” said Bremer. “The music we broadcast should sound just like it’s coming from a CD, and thanks to the digital signal, there’s no longer transmission noise when we’re not playing anything.”
Students who take the semester-long Electronic Communication and Production class receive an introduction to broadcasting basics, but taking the class isn’t a requirement to become a broadcaster. “The biggest misconception about WKET is that you have to take a class to get involved,” said Bremer. “It’s just a club. Anyone can get involved.”
Junior John-Michael Azar is a shift manager for WKET. “I think the best part about being involved is having my voice heard,” said Azar.
Bremer agrees, and suggests that all students should tune in to WKET. “You’ll hear your friends on the air, and you can have a real impact on what music is being played by calling in and requesting a song.”
Azar emphasizes the importance of calling in and requesting songs. “It supports us; it keeps us going. It’s a lot more fun when people listen and call in.”
Senior Sara Harlow is a student director for WKET. “Being a part of this team builds management skills and responsibility,” said Harlow. “It’s a great way to network, and you also get to listen to your favorite music at the same time.”
WKET broadcasters also have the opportunity to have their voices heard over television, thanks to “WKET Live.” The show is taped live in the broadcasting room with studio cameras, and is simultaneously broadcast over 98.3 FM and sent to the Miami Valley Communications Council. The MVCC re-broadcasts episodes of “WKET Live” on its Educational Access TV channel, cable channel 21.
Students broadcast over 98.3 FM on weekdays from immediately after school until 7 p.m.; the station is automated at all other times, including weekends. Students also broadcast over summer vacation on a volunteer basis.
Bremer promotes the unique opportunity of getting involved with WKET, saying it’s one of the few absolutely real-world opportunities offered at Fairmont. “We’re a truly student-run radio station, and it’s a great, exciting opportunity for Fairmont students.”