Rider’s radio station plans big move to new location

Move consolidates production facilities for several media and communications programs
Diane Cornell

Rider’s radio station, 107.7 The Bronc, is moving to a new home in April. The student-staffed campus and community radio station will be relocated to the second floor of the Fine Arts building, a move that consolidates the student production and editing facilities for radio, television, filmmaking, journalism, graphic design and game design.

"Bringing students and faculty together in a comprehensive media environment will support Rider’s efforts to help students gain a foothold in the rapidly changing communications industry,” says Kelly Bidle, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Having all the production facilities in one academic area provides rich opportunities for our students to create and collaborate, and gain valuable, hands-on experience which will allow them to succeed in the workforce.”

The move will also bring contemporary broadcast equipment and more studio space for the acclaimed station, which last year was a National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award nominee for College Radio Station of the Year. University Advancement is raising funds to offset the cost of the new equipment.

Broadcasting over the airwaves and online, the station provides a creative outlet for nearly 100 students each year and produces some of the campus’ biggest and most popular events such as the Halloween drive-in movie and trunk-or-treat Scream Screen, the car giveaway at graduation, Cruisin’ from Commencement, and the springtime Eggscellent Egg Hunt where students search on the Campus Mall for an egg containing a grand prize of a $1,000 gift card.

The station also sponsors the popular Rider Student Top Chef and Dessert Wars cooking contests and has broadcasted live from the Philadelphia Auto Show and the Philadelphia Flower Show. During men’s and women’s basketball games in Alumni Gym, the station’s Launch-A-Bronc charity promotion has raised more than $25,000 to-date for cancer-related charities.

After the radio station’s move is complete, the University’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion will occupy the area on the ground floor of The Bart Luedeke Center.

“In the changing world of broadcasting you have to learn how to wear many hats,” says Shawn Kildea, chair of Communication and Journalism department. “Bringing all the studios together will allow students to practice their skills in various formats on equipment that is currently the industry standard.”

Students at the station polish their on-air and management skills, while also learning about the current field of radio broadcasting and the changing medium’s landscape, where skills in promotion, marketing and business are also highly valued. Students on the station’s executive staff hold the same professional positions as that of a commercial radio station.

“I have acquired all my skills here,” says sophomore Tiffani Britton, a filmmaking, TV and radio major. “I have been able to hone my voice, create ads, learn about station imaging and the different production elements such as sweeps, promos and commercials.” Britton also hosts her own show, Misfit Music, on Monday nights from 8 to 10 p.m.

Senior Antonia Conti, a biology major, is the producer of the show Health 411. The show, airing Sundays at 11 a.m., is hosted by Dr. Jonathan Karp and discusses trending health topics. “Prior to working at the radio station, I did not have any experience working in radio production," Antonia says. "Producing our show has led me to realize that medicine and science are not my only passions, and that health communication and public health are interests of mine that I am considering pursuing post-graduation.”

The 58-year old station started out in November 1962 under the call letters WRCR and was located at 640 AM on the dial. Ira Kinder ’63 started the station as a journalism student with the help of his adviser Gordon Graves. (Kinder died in 1999.)

The radio station has had a number of homes over the years, from the basement of Hill Hall (then known as Hill Dormitory) to the Bart Luedeke Center. It also had a number of call letters and three places on the radio dial before landing at 107.7 FM. The station’s eclectic format features a mix of today’s hits, oldies on the weekends, sports broadcasting and interactive community talk shows.

During the ’80s, the station was able to offer 24-hour programming for the first time. But that lasted only a few short weeks as the college’s administration at the time became concerned about student safety and began to lock the Bart Luedeke Center at night, making it difficult for shows past closing to continue. In 2008, through the use of automated programming, the station was able to once again provide 24-hour coverage, as well as broadcasting during winter and summer breaks.

The station will continue to remain on-air during the transition from one location to the other.

“Throughout the move, listeners can expect the same dedication and quality programming,” says John Mozes, the general manager of the free-form, student-programmed station since 2008. “We will continue to bring all of our great talk shows and music programming to students and the community, just as we always do.”

To make a gift in support of the radio station, please contact Pam Mingle, Senior Director, Development, at 609-896-5000, ext. 7725.