KELLY VAUGHAN ’17
In an age of digital music heard primary through Spotify and Soundcloud, college students are not nearly as inclined to turn on the radio on a long car ride, much less while sitting in their dorm rooms hanging out with friends or while doing work in the library. As college radios have experienced budget cuts all across the country, the students behind Trinity’s WRTC-FM radio are providing a vibrant arts outlet for campus life. Dating back to 1947, when the station was founded in a Jarvis dorm room by just a few students and a homemade transmitter, WRTC-FM has been a staple to the music culture at Trinity. Station Manager Olivia Gibson ’17 and Promotions Manager Evan Turiano ’16 are just two of approximately 25 students involved with Trinity’s own radio station.
Gibson sees college radio as “one of the only really free forms of radio left. It is about playing the music that young people like, music that you discover and share with your friends, music that might not be in the top 40s but is still really incredible music. College radio gives a voice to smaller artists that might not get a chance otherwise to be heard on the mainstream radio.”
Turiano agrees, seeing WRTC is an important part of campus life and culture, with a “purpose [that] is similar to that of student publications, like the Tripod, Her Campus, etc. in that it serves as a student voice and an outlet for students who want to be heard.” WRTC-FM is also involved with Sambafest each year, works with the athletics departments to broadcast games, and hosts their own Spring Weekend concert, in hopes of “bringing more live music to campus,” according to Gibson.
Gibson and Turiano see the collaboration among student DJs at WRTC to be a fun and unique experience, as it allows for a number of voices to share their stories and music preferences, naturally leading to exposure to artists one may not have heard of otherwise. “Students can have solo, buddy, or triple shows with co hosts, we really encourage new DJs to have partners so that they have someone to banter with on air. Students can have any genre of show they want, whether its a music or talk show,” Gibson explains.
Ultimately, Gibson understands the unique experience being a part of college radio provides students, “There is never going to be a time again when you will be able to just walk up to a radio station and be put on the air so easily. You have a voice and have the opportunity to share your music and opinions with an audience, people who are tuning in all the time. What you are playing or saying might really resonate with people and maybe a song you play becomes a listeners’ new favorite, or touches them and improves their day. One of the best feelings is when people call in to ask about the song you just played, or just to talk about the music or the story you are talking about.”
WRTC-FM has been expanding their presence beyond the confines of Trinity’s campus, bringing local artists to the station to introduce their music to listeners and provide the opportunity to promote themselves. Turiano sees WRTC as “an integral part of a small, largely non-commercial music scene like Hartford’s. We can give local artists exposure in a way that commercial radio or online services like Pandora or Spotify never would.” Turiano’s newest experience with the radio was recently serving as guest judge at a local rap competition in Hartford and has plans to introduce WRTC listeners to the new hip-hop artists he met at the battle by “airing their music and hopefully interviewing them on air.” Turiano is also hoping to interview Aaron Carter when he arrives in Connecticut for a show this coming February.
WRTC-FM takes advantage of the unique music that is being produced everyday by lesser known artists. Gibson expresses her enthusiasm for this perk, saying “we get albums sent to the station from all over the world, from big famous artists to small home produced musicians, we give everything a listen and play what we love. Because there are no sponsors we are not pressured by labels to play only certain kinds of music or only certain artists, our DJs truly have the freedom to share the music they really enjoy.”
Despite the growing online listening services, Turiano expresses confidence in WRTC-FM’s ability to continue growing. “I think that, as massive streaming services become increasingly ubiquitous, people will still seek the thrill and process of finding new music. You can access basically any song you want on Spotify but that doesn’t mean you can easily sift through what’s good and what is not, and for that reason I think platforms like music blogs and college radio stations will always hold a purpose for devout music listeners.”
Gibson’s vision for WRTC-FM’s future is humble- “My dream for the station would be that when you got into any Trinity students car their radio was preset to WRTC 89.3FM, that students would tune in on their computers when they are studying in the library, and that kids would play the station while they are hanging out in their dorm rooms.”
WRTC-FM operates out of the ground floor of High Rise. For a schedule of student’s shows and playlists, visit WRTC 89.3 FM Radio on Facebook or to stream their live shows online, go to www.wrtcfm.com.