WKSU holds its first ever election night watch party

A crowd watches the election results come in during the first ever WKSU election night watch party. The event was created as a way to get the community involved with broadcasting and politics. ​

Brooke Forrest

On-campus NPR radio station WKSU held its first ever election night watch party Tuesday. WKSU described the non-partisan event as a “Democracy Celebration,” created as an effort to engage the neighboring communities with the current election and with WKSU.

WKSU general manager Wendy Turner said she created the event to allow the public to see the behind the scenes of broadcasting, especially during an election.

“We wanted to open up the studio doors and let the public in,” Turner said. “It’s really an experiment to see if there is a hunger in the community to gather for things like this.”

The radio station was filled with over 70 attendees of all ages, taking part in the various activities, including presidential trivia, political coloring pages and various live election discussions, all while several televisions broadcasted the election results.

WKSU also broadcasted the results of the 2016 election live with on-air host Jeff St. Clair, as well as with reporters in the field. Attendees were not only able to watch the broadcasting live, but the station also offered tours.

“It’s just a great way for people to get together and celebrate democracy in the political system in this country,” said Ann VerWiebe, WKSU marketing and public relations communications specialist.

Kelley Plishka of Munroe Falls came to the event because she wanted to watch with a group.

“The nervous energy that I have is matched in the people I’m talking to,” Plishka said. “It’s just better to be with other people, it’s better than being at home on your couch.”

Many people at the event chose to attend because of the group setting and took part in various political discussions, while watching the results come in.

Amber Huston, Kent State geology grad appointee, attended the event with friends and said she was interested in seeing the results with other people who were interested in the election.

“The event is really nice, the election I’m not so sure,” Huston said.

Huston was a Bernie Sanders supporter during the primaries but supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the presidential race. Huston said she believed Clinton would win but changed her mind after the recent email scandal.

Plishka, who is also a supporter of Clinton, said she believed she was going to win.

Though the event was bipartisan, many attendees expressed hope for their particular candidate to win, as well as pleasure for the election to be over.

“I’m excited to be here and see the results, but I’ll be happy for it to be over, for sure,” Huston said.

As the results started to come in, the room grew more serious. Plishka said that she believed this election was very divisive and challenging but said she was hopeful.

“I think that most people have goodness in their hearts and that we can go on from this, no matter the result,” Plishka said.

Brooke Forrest is the student politics reporter. Contact her at [email protected]