Black squirrels take over the radio

Kenny Peris

WKSR student radio has gotten a major facelift over the past year.

The station, now known as Black Squirrel Radio, will try to appeal to a more diverse audience than the average hall resident, according to Black Squirrel Radio adviser, Marianne Warzinski.

WKSR started Web streaming about a year and a half ago and found out that another radio station in Tennessee had the same call sign, Warzinski said. WKSR’s staff suggested a name change before it poses a problem.

“No one made us change,” Warzinski said. “We need to have our own identity.”

Eleven students on staff have been bouncing around names and logos since last fall, Warzinski said. They even incorporated group presentations from a few programming classes.

“A lot of people got us confused with WKSU (National Public Radio station) on campus,” General Manager Tyler Hollinger said. “We went with a name we could keep to make us more individual.”

Warzinski’s hope is that the new change will attract a larger audience on campus. She said the target audience is all students on campus, but students who live in the residence halls have the easiest access.

Black Squirrel Radio is only on campus cable, channels two and four. By web streaming and the option of AIM requesting, more people might be attracted to listening, Warzinski said. The addition of Pod Casting is another feature she hopes will attract attention.

“You’ll be able to download audio files from the Web site onto an iPod,” Warzinski said.

Meg Brutoczky, senior broadcast journalism major, has already shown a new interest in the station.

“Instead of being strictly on campus, they made an attempt to reach people outside Kent State’s campus,” Brutoczky said.

Brutoczky said she would start listening if they started to play a more diverse selection of music.

Warzinski said that was another change the station will strive to make.

“We would like to get some local artists on the show to play and do interviews,” Warzinski said. “It’s what college radio is all about.”

Warzinski said another change that Black Squirrel Radio made is moving auditions for the fall semester to May. She said having auditions at the beginning of the semester kept the station from being off the air until weeks into the semester.

Sports coverage is another feature she’d like to expand, Warzinski said. Black Squirrel Radio covered the broomball playoffs last year and it will cover it again this year. She hopes that it would help the station span out to other sports, including baseball.

“If we could cover broomball effectively, and have some people interested in doing play by plays to get experience, we could build from there,” she said.

As for fundraising, Warzinski said a lot will come from Black Squirrel Fest, where the station sold bowls and clocks molded from old vinyl records. The mobile DJ service has also pulled in funds allowing the station to purchase lights for the events.

Warzinski said that this would be more of a new start, than a new station. More information can be found at

Contact student media reporter Kenny Peris at [email protected].