Last year, WQAQ adopted a new station motto, “from the underground up.” But never did the radio station’s members think the slogan would apply to the station itself, as opposed to the music it plays.
The station found itself having to rebuild “from the underground up” after its broadcast tower was removed over the summer. However, to the relief of station members, administrators officially confirmed that the tower will definitely be back, though it may take longer than had been previously reported.
Dean of Students Manuel Carreiro said during a meeting with the Student Government Association on Sept. 20 that he expected the university to replace the station’s tower “before the snow comes.” But when asked about this, Carreiro said he was misquoted, and explained that the process for getting a tower may in fact take until spring.
According to the station’s general manager, Paula Raimo, it was still unknown whether the tower would be reconstructed.
“We thought most likely it would go back up, but we didn’t know for sure,” Raimo said. But Carreiro confirmed that “it’s no longer a question of if, but when.”
Carreiro cited that the process involves several steps. These steps include finding a site for the tower, working with engineers on its reconstruction, working with the Federal Communication Commission regarding paperwork and, finally, conducting several tests to verify that the signal is the same wattage and range as the old tower.
“The important thing here is that the tower will definitely be up,” Carreiro said.
If all parties work quickly and there are few mishaps, the best-case scenario for the station would be to have the tower replaced before the end of the fall semester.
Raimo said she learned of the news last Wednesday afternoon.
“Ross Greenstein [the Student Government Association president] stopped in the station and confirmed the news that we are definitely getting the tower back up,” Raimo said. “It’s encouraging news to hear officially from administration about the tower and it confirms that WQAQ will get back on its 98.1 FM frequency.”
She later told an excited staff about the news at its weekly meeting.
This year is the first time in a decade the station is not broadcasting on the 98.1 FM frequency. Before 1996, it broadcasted on 88.3 FM. Despite the loss of the ability to broadcast, WQAQ has found a way to increase its staff to more than 150 members, and this semester has 103 shows, which is the most ever.
The removal of the tower has also changed the way WQAQ has interacted with other organizations on campus. In an attempt to spread the word that the station is still alive, it has been working with more organizations than it did before. For example, WQAQ has helped extensively with Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Hall Wars, Alpha Chi Omega’s Frisbee Fest and recently helped the Student Programming Board and Quinnipiac University After Dark with “Bobcat Bounce.”
“In past years, WQAQ has been isolated from other organizations. But now we’re branching out to work with other organizations,” said Chris McLaughlin, director of promotions at WQAQ. “People read and saw that we weren’t broadcasting on the air, and I think people assumed we were gone, but working with other organizations has helped to prove we’re still here, and it has opened us up to people who didn’t even know about the station in the first place.”
“We have definitely noticed more involvement from WQAQ this year for sure,” said Drew Videira, a senior member.
Although WQAQ has been more involved with other groups, it is clear that the number one priority for the station still is to return to the airwaves.
“WQAQ as a whole has made a lot of progress without the tower, and we look forward to making more progress when the tower is back,” Raimo said.
In the meantime, the station will continue to function as though the tower had not been taken down in the first place.
This week the station is in the midst of an annual event called Radiothon. The week-long event is an attempt to fundraise for the radio station. It will conclude with a dodgeball tournament on Saturday.
The station and its members are optimistic for WQAQ’s future. According to Kyle Andrukiewicz, junior programming director, the number of listeners online has increased steadily throughout the semester, and the overall number of listeners to the station’s live stream at www.wqaq.com has also increased from last school year.
“I think we’ve done such a good job promoting the station. We’re really happy about the amount of listeners we’ve had this year and if there’s one good thing about not having a tower, is we have everyone streaming online, and we’ve definitely seen an increase in online listeners,” Andrukiewicz said.