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FORSYTH TECH LAUNCHES STUDENT-RUN RADIO

by Britt Chester

editor@yesweekly.com| @awfullybrittish

“We didn’t have a radio in the building when we put the station on the air,” exclaimed Amy Davis-Moore, the program coordinator for Forsyth Tech’s broadcasting program. “I had every device, but I didn’t have a radio to check the signal strength.

Davis-Moore is talking about the buzz of excitement swirling around Forsyth Tech this week in regard to the launch of 105.1 WFOZ, The FORSe, the college’s low-power FM (LPFM) radio station.

The college received its LPFM license in October 2014, and having streamed the radio content online since 2012, the launch was a culmination of a lot of hard work from both students and teachers.

Davis-Moore started with Forsyth Tech in 2010 after having successfully launched a radio station with Nash Community College in Rocky Mount.

“We are trying to get students to understand that audio and video are everywhere, so let’s do that really well,” Davis-Moore said.

The broadcasting program at the institution is young, but mature beyond its years.

The idea is that first-year students will focus on audio and radio, while secondyear students turn their lens on video and television.

“In this industry, you have to be able to work with audio and video, so we look at it more as content delivery,” she added.

The program instructs students on all subjects pertaining to media and technology. The four main topics are broadcast writing, broadcast law and ethics, broadcast sales, and the history of broadcast.

With more than 20 years of experience in media in both the editorial and advertising side of the field, Davis-Moore understands that in the changing world of technology, you have to stay on top of things.

“The difference between our program and other colleges is that we bring in industry people and partner with them as instructors,” she said. “They are telling the students what works and what doesn’t – the practical application of it all.”

Brian Anthony, an adjunct professor and 25-year veteran of radio, is exuberant about the program launching its radio station. He said that his role coming into the program late last year was to create the environment of a real radio station, which is something he’s been passionate about since graduating from Texas Southern University.

“I wanted to have a three-prong approach coming in; to give Forsyth Tech another marketing tool; to give students a real opportunity to see what the radio industry really is; and I want people to enjoy what they hear,” he explained.

One of the misconceptions Anthony wants to clear up for the listening public is that 105.1 is not “just another college radio station.” He wants to change this by meeting the demands of listeners, and with focused research, he has figured out what kinds of music will hopefully hold listener ears for the longest time. The station will operate as mixed format, which is an amalgamation of genres including country, classic rock, rhythm and blues, and some other specialty shows like an all vinyl show that will cater to the audiophiles of old.

“What I like to do is break everything down to its beginning,” Anthony said. “We have music scheduling, but what happens when the computer crashes? That takes us back to the days of index cards.”

Because technology is advancing at a rate that most educational systems cannot keep up with, having someone like Anthony on the team helps keep the program grounded and focused on what it means to work in radio, truly, and not holding student’s hands and guiding them over clicks of the mouse.

The hands-on training is what will determine the success of the radio station, and ultimately, the success of the program overall. Davis-Moore said the program accepts 20 first-year students and 20 second-year students, with only one slot open in the second-year program at this time, but there is a wait list from interested students.

“Students come into this program thinking one thing “¦ we try to broaden them to not just think in the small box of radio and television,” Davis-Moore said. One of the elements of her program is maintaining that the season of media and content delivery is changing at a rapid pace, and students can bring ideas to that table that may sound outlandish, while at the same time completely reasonable.

Venus Smith is a second-year student at Forsyth Tech and her interests lie in the television side. She said she is interested in producing content, and chose television because of her interests in film.

Carlyle Beatty wants to be an audio engineer after he finishes at Forsyth Tech, and is shooting for his own record label down the road. He recognizes that right now it’s smart to seek self-employment, and with his interests focused in music, an industry that has seen independent labels and artists rise to prominence, he’s eager to get out there and start trying. But it’s the foundation at Forsyth Tech that will help him get there. !

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