WRKE Concludes Historic Academic Year

SALEM, VA – Coming off of winning the 2016/17 student organization of the year, it’s been a year of firsts and broken records for WRKE, and the most successful year in the station’s 12 year history. From joint collaborations, to remote broadcasts, live audience shows, and a reality game competition, WRKE has done it all this past academic year. Beginning with a 500 song new library over the summer, 70 new promotions to play throughout the day, and a new website launching right before the year began, WRKE has continued to push the boundaries of its staff and equipment to do never before done events and break records.

Beginning the year with annual recruiting, the station had almost 70 students interested in joining the station.  After training, WRKE had almost tripled its show totals for a record of 56 staff members hosting a record 34 shows. These shows included everything from alternative music, to hip-hop, to island music, to a Spanish speaking show, to a movie soundtrack show. The year also began with the addition of a Maroon sports program, bringing listeners a simulcast of some of the Maroon network games for all of the Roanoke College sports.

To kick off the special events of the semester, WRKE hosted a remote broadcast from Fruitions, a nearby business that plays WRKE in the shop in September. WRKE was run live for 4 hours remotely from the business and hosted contests with both Roanoke College students and members of the community, giving away Fruitions gift cards and WRKE gear to the winners.

This event was followed the next month with War of the Worlds. For the first time ever, Theatre Roanoke College and WRKE Roanoke College Radio came together for a joint production. Directed by Theatre Roanoke College Director Lisa Warren and produced by WRKE Program Director Elijah Wilhelm, the production was a complete remake of the 1938 radio phenomenon. The prerecorded play featured 12 Roanoke College students, including 4 of WRKE’s own. The show was introduced with a dramatic trailer featuring audio from the actual show and stock footage. The completed show, which ran for 59 minutes, was premiered for the cast and crew in the ballroom, and was broadcast on October 30; the date it was aired originally. The show got promotion from the college and local organizations and received positive feedback from both members of the Roanoke College community as well as listeners around the valley.

In November, WRKE hosted special coverage of the 2017 elections in Virginia and discussed how things had changed since our 2016 election coverage. The following night, WRKE held its first ever event broadcast live over the air and put on live for an audience. Family Feud Live was played with the Men’s vs Women’s basketball teams right before their seasons started and served as a cross promotion for both the station and the athletic teams.

For the month of December WRKE added upbeat and popular holiday music in the regular system to play throughout the day, every forth song. This was another first for the station and the hope was to give listeners a taste of holiday spirit, while still being an alternative choice for our listeners. The music was accompanied by holiday themed promotions to give listeners a transition from the regular library to the holiday music.

After a month off for break, WRKE held its spring recruiting and added another 28 new staff members joined by 42 returners for a record high 70 staff members and a record high 40 shows. New shows included everything from dungeons and dragons to unsolved murders to a show hosted by a RC staff member.

After the success of Family Feud Live, WRKE held Jeopardy Live with the RC Baseball team, coming off of their World Series run, in February. The cross promotion featured competition between teammates including categories like “how well do you know your coach” and “gone but not forgotten; seniors.” It also featured interviews with players and head coach Matt Mcguire to give us a preview of their season and encourage listeners and the audience to come out and support the team.

Following in March, WRKE held its most ambitious event to date; putting 9 students in the studio with no food, water, cellphones, or bathroom breaks. Outlast was a mix of Survivor and Big Brother, in which contestants participated in both immunity and reward trivia challenges, and voted each other out throughout the contest. The entire event was live, and each player had their own microphone so WRKE was able to bring all the drama, contests, and eliminations to our listeners. The event also included “confessionals”, in which players were interviewed during the game about what they are doing, what they are thinking, who they were aligned with, and their targets were moving forward. The event lasted 7 hours and caused a 300% increase in WRKE website traffic.

For the final event in the semester, WRKE held its first ever live radio drama. In another collaboration with Theatre Roanoke College, WRKE’s second radio drama, Sorry Wrong Number, was performed live in April and closed out the special events for the academic year. Featuring 6 Roanoke College students, including one of WRKE’s own, the live aspect of show was yet another first for the station.

The year concluded with WRKE being named the 2017/2018 Student Organization of the Year for the second consecutive year, and WRKE Program Director Elijah Wilhelm being named Manager of the Year. “When we won organization of the year last year,” Wilhelm said, “The immediate feeling that I had was ‘great, now let’s do it again!’ And clearly my staff felt the same way, because here we are and we have just accomplished so much.”

From new graphics, promotions, a show of the month program, increased social media presence including an average of 107 people reading our Facebook posts per day, with a high of 926 readers in one day, and over 7,000 website views, WRKE has expanded every part of its outreach. This, along with the expansion of shows, music library, staff, special events, and collaborations, has made this year a truly historic year for WRKE.

WRKE’s Fall 2017 staff


May 1st, 2018

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