Ricky Greene, president pro-tem of Western Carolina University’s Student Government Association, recently conducted a survey on WWCU FM 90.5, the campus radio station.
“In 1977, Western Carolina University licensed the first FM radio station for Jackson County and this region of the Great Smoky Mountains. The station remains the only FM service for the area,” according to WWCU FM 90.5’s website.
Commonly referred to as “Power 90.5,” popular talk shows like “Fern and David in the Morning” have always seemed to outshine the actual music of the station. These concerns prompted Greene’s survey.
“I was well aware of the rumors about students being unhappy with campus radio, and I wanted to conduct a survey to see if the results agreed with the overall sentiment,” said Greene.
With the help of Karen Farmer, the University Center’s assistant director for student clubs and organizations, Greene created a survey that would measure what genre of music students would like to hear Power 90.5 play. Students could choose from the following: Today’s Current Hits, Country, Classic Rock and Other, which consisted of Rap, R&B, Reggae and Alternative Rock.
The survey was split into two separate parts:
“First, a paper ballot was developed where students could mark as many choices as they wanted, and then submit it into the SGA comment box in the UC. To control for people who may have voted twice, a poll was developed on OrgSync which allowed one vote per account,” said Greene.
According to its website, “OrgSyncis a Campus Engagement Network that connects students to organizations, programs and departments on campus in a private online community.”
The results for the paper ballot were as follows: 71 for Today’s Current Hits, 39 for Country, 19 for Other and 19 for Classic Rock.
The results for the OrgSync poll were as follows: 40 for Today’s Current Hits, 20 for Classic Rock, 15 for Country, 11 for Rap, 11 for R&B and 14 for Alternative Rock.
Currently, the Power 90.5 is a classic rock station. Classic Rock did not win either poll, tying with Other for last place in the paper ballot poll and coming in second by a considerable margin to Today’s Current Hits in the OrgSync poll.
“Both polls indicated that it would be beneficial for the WWCU FM 90.5 radio station to begin searching for a new genre in order to increase student listenership,” said Greene.
Today’s Current Hits, winner by a considerable margin in both polls, essentially draws its songs from the Top 40, which are the most popular songs currently in the U.S.
“The benefit to Top 40 is that it appeals to 18-24-year-olds and is constantly updated with new music, unlike Classic Rock which is confined to a specific decade and will not change,” commented Greene.
Greene, an SGA senator, said he will prepare a resolution stating that the SGA is in favor of Today’s Current Hits as the official genre for WWCU FM 90.5.
If Greene’s colleagues in the SGA Senate pass this resolution with a majority vote, then the SGA passes this resolution on to the SGA President to be signed. If signed, the resolution goes to upper administration.
“We will work closely with administrative departments such as Student Affairs to determine the best way to work out a solution to get Today’s Current Hits on the air,” concluded Greene.
If Greene’s resolution passes, “Cullowhee’s Rock Station” may be in for some changes. For now, the rock lives on.