Same Channel, New Name – WWAS Changes to WPTC 88.1 FM
Pennsylvania College of Technology's student radio station, which provides an educational experience for broadcast communications students, has changed its call letters from WWAS to WPTC .
The new call letters provide a better identification with Penn College and its reputation as Pennsylvania's "premier technical college," says Dr. Brad Nason, assistant professor of mass communications and adviser for WPTC. "The call letters 'WWAS' weren't connected to the College in any way," Nason explained. "We tried to get WPCT but that was already taken; however, WPTC fits 'premier technical college.'"
While still broadcasting at 88.1 on the FM dial, the station also has moved from calling itself "Rock-It 88" to using the slogan "The Best in College Radio." "We were using 'Rock-It 88,' but it wasn't always rock music that we were playing. The music format now is more alternative," Nason commented. "We're trying to use the less-structured format of non-commercial radio to offer the best variety of programming. College radio's strength is its ability to broadcast a range of programming, something that commercial stations, because of their tighter formats, can't do."
Since the station is an educational tool and education is always evolving, WPTC has added new features including weekend programming with jazz, rhythm and blues, contemporary Christian, and alternative music. As well, the station is fine-tuning its specialty programming which includes music from heavy metal to dance, and adding student-produced features and nationally-syndicated programs.
WPTC also presents a medium for the student body to voice its opinions on Penn College issues and is taking a more active role in promoting College events and activities through the participation of the Campus Activities Board. Increasingly, WPTC is the station of choice on campus and is aired in various sites around campus including College dining facilities and the Fitness Center. Additionally, WPTC is working with the Williamsport Area High School, offering a group of students the opportunity to do air shifts and produce public affairs programming.
Nason says that unlike some college radio stations which give free rein to students which often results in an unprofessional atmosphere, WPTC is continuing to focus on quality control and its educational impact. "It gives the students a more realistic experience of what commercial radio is like than just operating as a free-format station," Nason explained.
The station provides an ideal backdrop for required broadcast communications course work in radio station operations, digital editing, station management, and broadcast journalism. Working in tandem with the curriculum keeps the station professional, the professor cites.
That professional atmosphere is obviously an attraction with student interest and participation in the station continuing to grow. Currently, the WPTC staff consists of over 50 students; three-fourths of those are broadcast communications students. The station also is enjoying its largest-ever executive staff with 11 students serving in that capacity. Nason says the executive staff provides a format for open discussion and brainstorming and cultivates a true group-driven approach to managing the station.
The executive staff includes: Jeremy Shuttlesworth, Tower City, station manager and production director; Ian Lilley, Lock Haven, format music director; Peter Sahlin, Williamsport and an international student from Sweden, specialty programs music director; Nadiene Kriner, Danville, classics and recurrents music director; sports directors Terry Kuntz, Gardners, and Jason Nayduch, Middletown; Wendy Dukeman, Lock Haven, director of news and public affairs; Mark Cuttic, Frackville, director of promotions and remotes; Dave Nearhoof, Cresson, librarian; Becca Eisenman, Williamsport, publicity director/assistant librarian; and Kelly Neumane, Mehoopany, underwriting director. Sahlin also serves as WPTC Web page editor.
The student station broadcasts at 494 watts and is on the air daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Same channel 88.1 FM, but a new name WPTC.