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NPR transition frustrates students wanting airtime

Oct. 5, 2000

Students spin discs via Web

By LEE ANN ANDERSON

Reporter

Telecommunication students are upset that more students have not been included in the hand-over of KWBU to National Public Radio, but administrators believe that, over time, student broadcasters will get the concessions the university made to them last spring.

Kristen Green, a sophomore from Calgary, Texas, said the integrating of NPR with KWBU was 'totally misrepresented to the students.'

Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley said that KWBU is now in a 'transition period.' He said they had several meetings with students dating back to last spring. The students were told that they would have airtime from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., along with hours on Sunday.

Brumley said they are presently 'waiting to see how to practically implement this ... in October the students will have the hours of 10 p.m. until midnight and in November from 8 p.m. to midnight, if everything is working smoothly.'

Eighty-three students are currently taking the beginning radio broadcasting course, Practicum in Audio Production. Before NPR, all students taking the radio broadcasting course were disc jockeys for KWBU. This year, all the radio broadcasting students are 'net-casting' for the course.

Student broadcasters use one computer to send radio broadcasts over the Internet, but Ryan Wood, a Garland senior and the music director for KWBU, said the Internet broadcast is only accessible to 25 Internet users at one time.

'With 'net-casting,' a lot of students in the radio class will get experience,' Brumley said. 'It is a good training ground. The net is where the future is.'

He also said he did not know how many people tune in to the radio over the Internet.

'How are you going to get practice, and how are you going to get feedback?' Bianca Castro, a Plano sophomore who is currently taking the radio broadcasting course, asked.

'The 'saving grace' was that students could be on the air,' Green said.

Four students are allowed to run KWBU, and they are the same students being paid by NPR. However, these students were not taught how to pre-produce.

'To get on the air between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., [the students] will have to build a library of pre-produced shows,' Wood said. These shows must be submitted to NPR on tape to audition for the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

In addition, Megan Harris, a San Antonio senior and the program director of KWBU, said there is 'no single teacher that knows about the Web site and net-casting. We're learning as we go.'

Harris said Dr. Joel Thierstein, the director of the telecommunication division of communication studies, told her where she could access information to read up on 'net-casting' in order to be in compliance with FCC regulations.

'Students taking the class are getting cheated out of an education,' Harris said.

Dr. Michael Korpi, the chair of communication studies, said he would not answer questions about the effect of KWBU changes on education, and Thierstein would not return phone calls.

Brumley said that, in the future, more than four to five students will be working for KWBU. However, he said, students will have to 'earn the opportunity to be on the air. It is a different environment ... standards are different.'

'On April 28, students were taken off the air, and no students have been on since,' Harris said. 'It has been strictly net since June.'

Monday night was the first time students were on the air this year.