Only Quinnipiac students and Hamden locals have the ability to tune in to WQAQ, the university’s student-run radio station. However, that could shortly change.
Soon, friends and family out in California, or down in Florida, can easily be able to laugh along to “The World is a Sasquatch,” or catch up on the latest Quinnipiac sporting events.
Long distance relations might even have the luxury of enjoying the variety of music that is delivered to the campus and local Connecticut communities everyday.
All of this can happen with just a click of the mouse.
This is what WQAQ expects once the station breaks into “streaming,” or broadcasting over the internet.
“It pretty much means that anyone who has the internet has access to WQAQ,” Val Pensa, the station’s Promotions Director, said.
Pensa has taken on the head role of bringing this technology to Quinnipiac.
With WQAQ airing over the internet, listeners can simply go to the Quinnipiac webpage and plug in their headphones, to hear the regular radio broadcasts directly through their computers.
Since the station runs on a considerably low wattage, WQAQ is currently only heard in Hamden, Cheshire, New Haven, and parts of Wallingford.
Streaming, however, will allow people from around the nation to connect with the Quinnipiac community, a concept that WQAQ General Manager Josh Danzig says will come as an advantage to more than just the students.
“It benefits the athletic teams, because parents who can’t see their kids’ games can still listen to them, rather than flying out to see them play,” Danzig said.
“Also, those parents might suggest sending their kids here, which also helps admissions,” he continued.
WQAQ has tried to adopt streaming for a few years now, but has always fallen short of the funding needed to pay FCC fees.
“The cost for the FCC used to be way too high, but now they’ve lowered the rate for non-commercial stations, like college stations, to $250 yearly,” Pensa said.
WQAQ would also need to pay for the Stream Audio for Outsourcing program at a rate of $395 per month.
A new Dell GX 240 computer would have to be purchased as well.
And with the school’s annual budget already settled, the station’s source of funding still remains an issue.
Before we can actually hear the voices of WQAQ through the computer, several changes in content must be made to meet the requests of the university.
“We’ve had issues with content in the past, and now with streaming, we have to keep things G-rated,” Pensa said. “But it’s good, because it allows the deejays to be more creative, and makes them have to come up with other things to talk about, so listeners can expect a more professional show.”
“What we want is to assure administration of experienced deejays on the air,” Pensa said.
And with new content comes new rules, especially in deciding which deejays will be allowed to have their shows broadcasted through streaming.
According to Pensa, deejays must now have at least one year’s experience with the station, be in good standing with the university, and be able to prove that they can put on a good show.
Last year, WQAQ competed in a nation-wide single game web-audio contest, broadcasting a Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey game through streaming.
The show was ranked ninth out of ten, with 1,724 listeners tuning in to hear the station’s coverage of the game.
Such positive feedback is what will hopefully push the university to adopt streaming as the newest way to connect the Quinnipiac community to the outside world.
“Administration hasn’t given us a clear answer yet,” Pensa said.
“They would like to see it, but they need to take precautions as well,” she continued.
Fortunately, precautions are not needed when it comes to obtaining the music played on WQAQ, especially during a time of intense controversy over filesharing and MP3 usage.
Rather than downloading tracks from internet services like Kazaa and Ares, WQAQ transfers their music to a computer from original CDs. These CDs are sent to the station directly from the record companies.
“Record labels will send us CDs of what bands and artists they want us to play,” Danzig said.
“Then, they will want to know how many times we play a certain CD. So it’s basically the more we play it, the more stuff they’ll send,” he continued.
Courts have recently moved to ban filesharing, claiming that it violates several copyright laws.
But since WQAQ has alternate sources of material, the station is freed from any possibility of illegal practices.
Through her job this past summer, Pensa witnessed first-hand the damaging effects of filesharing.
“I worked for RCA records, so I saw how many people lost their jobs and how much of a downfall the record companies faced due to filesharing, so I don’t really think its fair,” Pensa said.
Many others feel that acts of filesharing and illegal downloading of music are tumultuous to jobs in the record industry.
But, despite the recent 20% decrease in CD sales, Danzig feels that filesharing is beneficial to both the fan and the artist.
“I think it should be allowed. People can download a song, and then possibly go out and buy the CD,” Danzig said.
“A lot of artists are against it, but then you go on their website and they’ll have three or four songs to download,” he continued.
” In a way they’re just being hypocritical.”
Beneficial or not, WQAQ still avoids filesharing, and may soon have their original CD collection playing over the internet.