While Dominican offers majors in communications and journalism, there is no major available for students who want to work in radio or television. Students interested in broadcasting careers are advised to walk a few blocks to Concordia University and enroll in a radio or television class there.
In the 1980s, Dominican had its own radio station, but one with limited programming and reach. But interest in the station waned towards the end of the decade.
Now, some faculty and staff think it’s time to revive radio broadcasting on the Dominican campus.
John Jenks, professor of journalism, said this is “an exciting time” for media at Dominican and it’s important for the university to have a radio station. In an era of multimedia communication, “audio is important; you can do very creative things with it.”
Jenks said Dominican’s IT Department is interested in starting a Creative Media Lab. Unlike the obsolete radio and television technology of the past, this venture could include the use of broadcasting through digital media, such as podcasting. Podcasts are radio versions of stories that can be downloaded anytime.
CarrieLynn Reinhard, a professor in the communications department, wants to help develop the Creative Media Lab. She believes the lab would be a good way for students and faculty to work on communication research and enhance their video and audio production skills.
“Convergent media has been going on for years now,” Reinhard said. “I think it is the future, but it is also the present.”
The Creative Media Lab could eventually have the capabilities to create an online streaming station for music and video projects, but first equipment and lab space is necessary.
“[For communications], creating a space for different disciplines is needed,” Reinhard said.
She said perhaps the university and the IT Department could seek a grant that would help pay for equipment and also fund a student digital production club.
Ideas are still up in the air about what manner of digital media the lab would use, but Reinhard said the lab would probably start out with podcasting rather than streaming online or going through the process of applying for an FCC broadcast license.
In the 1980s, Dominican’s radio programming was broadcast only in the dorms through a process known as leaky AM, where the radio signal was run through the regular electrical wires of the buildings. But now, with podcast, the radio station would be able to reach more students through a better system.
Interest in radio returned in the early 2000s. In the spring of 2002, falculty and students attempted to bring radio back to Domican’s halls. Former faculty member Kate Stout was named adviser of the Radio Club and about a dozen students from the club worked with the administration and Student Involvement to establish a permanent station location.
The club raised money to buy broadcasting equipment, since equipment from the ‘80s had been scrapped. The club also partnered with the technology department to receive an FCC license and a specific FM designation.
During the proposal stages of the Radio Club, members agreed that Radio Dominican would be “on the air” up to 20 hours a week. Programming was expected to include sports, music, campus news and debate forums. Unfortunately, after all the planning, Radio Dominican remained silent; no first broadcast ever came about.
In 2005, a few individuals brought up the radio idea again, but it was put on hold. Since Concordia had its own station it was argued interested students from Dominican could just take part in their program.
– Jackie Glosniak, Contributing Writer