News Program Brings "That Dave And Marty Magic" To WRCU
1 February 2002 By Stentor Danielson
"We're trying an experiment this semester," senior David Wininger said, opening the first day of regular programming on WRCU this Monday. Instead of the station's usual fare of lesser-known music and DJ banter, Wininger told listeners about a suicide bombing in Israel, Vice President Dick Cheney's refusal to turn over records to investigators of Enron's collapse and the sad fate of Pennsylvania's teams in the NFL playoffs.
The new show, which is still untitled, was created by co-anchors Wininger, who is also Program Director of WRCU, and junior Martin Bair. They read a selection of news reports culled from the Associated Press and Reuters news wires as well as The Maroon-News. The reports cover politics, international news, entertainment, business and Colgate news. Bair said they hope to tap into their friendship, which he compared to Penn and Teller, and use "that Dave and Marty magic" to make the news entertaining.
Bair and Wininger agree that the focus of the show, which airs from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday and Tuesday and 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, will remain on objective news. "We want to avoid giving people grandstanding opportunities," Wininger said.
WRCU Music Director senior Phil Ramey called the show "a big step for WRCU news," and said he would like to see such programming continue. It builds on the news reports, read during every show before 5 p.m., that were introduced last year by senior News Director Matt Cook.
The show is a "work in progress" and may expand to include interviews with people "who can offer comment and opinion backed up by years of experience," Bair said. They hope to use e-mail and AOL Instant Messenger (the station's screen name is "WRCU") to make the show more interactive, especially during interview segments.
The anchors are also looking at ways to make sure that they don't miss any breaking news. Although they gather the bulk of their material between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. the preceding night, Wininger and Bair check back before they leave for the station in the morning and are looking at ways to use WRCU's computer to keep them abreast of new developments.
"We don't want to have September 11 happen during our show and not know it happened," Wininger said.
Feedback has been limited this early in the year, as many potential listeners may not have known WRCU was broadcasting. Bair said he had received supportive responses from friends who had listened to the show. "Hopefully people will listen so it will actually serve a purpose," Wininger said.
The show began as a way to fill three open time slots in the WRCU schedule. The new class schedule made it hard to find morning DJs, Wininger said.
Bair said he had thought about doing a broadcast news program since coming to Colgate, but had never taken the time to make it happen. "When the opportunity presented itself to do it three times a week, I jumped on it this time," he said. Bair had no prior involvement with WRCU, while Wininger has had a music show since fall of his first year.
Wininger said that WRCU has received complaints that the station covers up a public radio station that bleeds over into WRCU's broadcast area. The new news program may help to defuse those complaints.
WRCU is diversifying its offerings in other ways. Wininger said the station hopes to create daily blocks of time for its specialty programming - 5 to 7 p.m. every day for jazz and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every day for nyte flyte (WRCU's term for rap, hip-hop, R&B and dance hall music). There are also three world music shows planned for this semester. Junior Wandaly Torres will conduct her show entirely in Spanish on Monday, first-year Diana Zeledon will play Spanish rock and ska on Sunday and World Music Director senior Elvis Alves will play roots reggae on Wednesday.
A sports talk show will air on Sunday afternoon and a talk show about racial issues is scheduled for Sunday night. "Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual as far as music is concerned," Wininger said. Ramey noted that there are many new DJs this semester.
While the news program is the biggest change so far this semester at WRCU, Ramey said that the outcome of media consultant Bill Dinome's review of campus media could have a big impact. "He'll hopefully provide a fresh perspective on certain issues ... a non-Colgate perspective," Ramey said. "Whatever his report says will hopefully give some legitimacy to some requests we have made."
WRCU also plans to hold another Trivia Night, probably sometime in April. Trivia Night was held for the first time in four years last semester, and was, according to Wininger, "a wild and crazy success." Trivia Night sent teams of students rushing around campus to find the answers to questions in order to win prizes.
"There was a lot of participation, and it got the word out about us, which was the main point," Wininger said.
Wininger also raised the possibility of a few WRCU-sponsored concerts this semester, though no firm plans have been made. Ramey said that the station will be playing music in Donovan's Pub during Winterfest.
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