By: Rob Roy
WXPL, the student radio station on campus, is one of Fitchburg State’s largest student-run organizations, with about 60 active current members, and has been providing its listeners with a variety of music for over 30 years. But just how much do you really know about WXPL? Maybe you’ve tuned in while searching the channel 14 guide on TV or even sat down and turned on your radio to 91.3 FM to listen to some of the fantastic shows the station has to offer. But what about the history behind WXPL?
“WXPL originally began in the 1980s in the third floor of Hammond. The popularity of radio at the time meant the club frequently saw 200 members each semester, many of them having shows up to three hours or longer,” explains John Gerhardt, secretary of WXPL’s board. “They also used to meet in the lecture hall in Condike; it was that huge. Despite this, there wasn’t a broadcasting transmitter; you needed to be inside Hammond to hear WXPL playing at all.”
Eventually, the station moved to a new location in the basement of Thompson Hall and is now capable of transmitting radio signals in a 10-mile radius from Hammond.
“However, staff running the station throughout the 1990s kept the station in abysmal shape. Vinyl records were smashed into pieces, thrown into the ceiling, and some other unfortunate fates. This unacceptable behavior, plus lackluster broadcasting, led to WXPL being permanently shut down,” Gerhardt said, explaining what then became of the radio station.
However, in 2007, Ben Hassey, a former general manager of the station, sought to restore the station and bring it to a new audience.
“His efforts worked tremendously. In five years, WXPL has seen a significant variety of students getting experienced in professional broadcasting, has hosted numerous live music acts, collected tons of new music, cooperated with many organizations, seen another location shift to a brand new, specialized section of Hammond, and is eagerly looking to regain its respect in the FSU community,” said Gerhardt.
You might be wondering, what does the future hold in store for WXPL?
“We are currently planning to get web streaming, but the challenges needed for us to achieve this are as monumental as we’ve ever seen, but the WXPL board can only do so much. It’s up to the student body to make a difference, to write another chapter to the WXPL saga, and capitalize on one of the most exciting extracurricular opportunities that FSU has to offer,” Gerhardt explains.
“My hope for WXPL as a whole is to make it one of Fitchburg State’s most-prized organizations. I want campus tours to stop by our station and have guides say to parents with prospective students ‘and here’s the school’s radio station! Anyone can join, learn broadcasting, and gain experience!’” explains James Paleologopoulos, president of WXPL. “I want this campus to recognize us as an organization with loads of potential that’s capable of most anything, whether it be concerts, providing equipment, or simply supporting the school. We are always building up towards that reputation and do not plan to stop.”
WXPL is a wonderful opportunity for all students to get involved on campus and have fun sharing their favorite music with their peers.
“What really brought me to being a DJ was the fact that I would get to share new music with everyone, something that may be popular in other counties but not so much here, in America,” says Dustin Bragga, one of the hosts of the K-Pop radio show. “Doing both K-Pop Music Show and Countdown, I feel like (to some extent) I am achieving this goal.”
Anyone who’s interested in WXPL is welcome to join. Meetings are held in Thompson 212 on Thursdays at 4:30 pm. The current home of WXPL is located next to the SGA office in Hammond in its new state-of-the-art studio. Be sure to tune in to channel 14 of the Fitchburg State television guide or listen on the radio at 91.3 FM.
If you still have questions about the club, check out their Facebook page, “WXPL 91.3FM,” which can also be found at http://www.fitchburgstateuniversity.com on the “Student Clubs and Organizations” page, or you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.