News is essential

WSUW 91.7 FM The Edge fills the social distance void


Samantha Butzen

Inside the sound booth at WSUW 91.7 FM The Edge.

News is essential to the public. It is responsible for getting information out to the masses. Whether the organization be run by professionals or student volunteers like the university’s radio station The Edge, the media must adapt during the pandemic.

The Edge is run by students enrolled in a journalism practicum course, or as paid members of the executive board for the station. When on air the broadcast is run by students, for students. There are currently 26 students on staff. So being directed by students in the pandemic creates some challenges for the station.

When the university moved to remote learning last semester, The Edge was lucky to have an automated system in place to make the transition easy, according to program director Jon Gagner.

The station was able to continue providing new music for students on campus by moving the music segments into rotation on the system. Alongside their music, the station also offers segments on sports, marketing, and local news. There are over 30 current programs on air this year.

“It can be hard to find stories to cover amid the pandemic, and, because the topic is so overwhelmingly covered in the media, the team decided it would be best to stay away from the topic,” news director Sam Butzen said.

Butzen heads a news segment called The Weekly Warhawk for the broadcast. Despite choosing to stay away from the subject and stick to lighter ones, the staff is encouraged to follow the regulations given by the CDC. This includes limiting the number of people in the station to two people, and having staff record their segments remotely to include into a later rotation.

“Honestly, I won’t lie that the station has felt pretty quiet these past couple weeks, but our first and main concern is the health and safety of our staff,” station manager Elle Gukich said.

Gukich balances keeping staff safe, while ensuring students have the enjoyment of the university’s station.

The Edge began broadcasting on campus in 1966, and today locals can still tune in for 24-hour entertainment at 91.7 FM The Edge.