Station 91.3 WXPL: the voice of Fitchburg State

fitchburgradio2By Kate Domenichella
Although WXPL was founded in the 1970’s, it has come to be a prominent club since its re-emergence in 2007.
Its success can be attributed to former and current student DJs, past club management, and their current general manager, John Gerhardt.
“I think WXPL is a good avenue for students to let their voices be heard,” said John Gerhardt, a senior at Fitchburg State University.
WXPL is a student-run organization, brand, and radio station. The name refers to the station’s call letters, which is the sequence of letters used by a radio station as an identifying code.
Gerhardt and WXPL’s biggest motivation comes from the large number of upper-class students  who have never listened to the station over their years at Fitchburg State. Many of these students have never even heard of WXPL.
Gerhardt remarks that this is the shocking truth that has become their incentive over the past year.
Their listeners vary on a day by day basis. Some days there might be only a handful, but there could be as many as a few dozen. Although there are no statistics to quantify WXPL’s listener count, they sense that the station has been getting its fair share of exposure.
Gerhardt says, “It’s nice to know there’s always someone listening.”
WXPL has a variety of different shows to appeal to fans of all genres. A few of the most popular shows include “You’ve Probably Never Heard of Us”, “Keeping It Local With Liz”, “Bad Salad”, and “Madd Dogz In The Night”. Gerhardt speaks on the success of these shows with a smile on his face.
Many wonder how one can become a DJ. It is quite simple if the time and effort are equally matched. All DJs are required to sign paperwork acknowledging the radio’s handbook, be trained by a board member, and attend all meetings (unless properly excused).
Gerhardt believes that if someone is interested in their own show, and they enjoy speaking and pushing buttons, that this is the place for them.
He gives a helpful hint to all those who wish to begin a prosperous career at WXPL, “The trick is to keep the music, conversation, or whatever, flowing consistently.”  That is the key to any successful talk show. WXPL does a few concerts throughout the school year.
Concerts typically incorporate bands from punk, indie, or alternative rock backgrounds. The main focus is finding local acts that allow the school to expand their musical horizons.
In the past, rock band Tester, indie band Bent Shapes, and a New York based band, Bomb The Music Industry! have made appearances at the University.
WXPL provides concerts that have an “edge”, but are not too conventional and simple enough that students have a great time at shows.
Although Gerhardt believes that the shows have had good turnouts, he knows that many events done by WXPL are not well publicized. This is because the majority of WXPL’s energy and resources are used within internal development.
The constitution has been updated and a clear mission has been set into motion. A solid group of DJs are at WXPL to stay, and lots of money has been put into brand new equipment to improve our radio show quality. WXPL has even begun enabling shows to be streamed online.
With these improvements, Gerhardt is confident that WXPL’s name will be much more prominent in the years to come.
It is fun for Gerhardt and the other DJs to talk about interesting pieces of history, debate with others about a topic, play overlooked music, and put on entertaining shows without the lockdown of stage fright.
It is a tremendous opportunity for all students to grasp the concept of how professional environments are run. Being a part of WXPL is a tremendous character builder.
Being a senior at Fitchburg State, Gerhardt will graduate this May and will leave his managerial duties to Jeremy Pendleton, the assistant GM of the radio program.
He has a good head on his shoulders, thinks carefully about important decisions, strives for the best solutions, and has the fortitude to abide by his actions.
Pendleton knows the ins and outs of WXPL’s operations and goals. Not only does Pendleton have knowledge of this operation, but he also has a remarkable crew to work with next year.
“Brace yourselves, everyone. This is only the end of the beginning” -John Gerhardt